Father George William Rutler Homilies
2020-09-20 - 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2020-09-20 - 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 20, 2020

20 September 2020

The Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 20:1-16A + Homily

19 Minutes 49 Seconds

Link to the Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/092020.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin of Sunday 20 September 2020:

. In our days of widespread inarticulateness, the word “awesome” is so overused that it loses its power. It is rooted in the Old English “egefull,” which means causing profound reverence. So, to call a good dinner or a new dress “awesome” is overkill. Only in the nineteenth century did its equivalent, “awful,” come to mean something bad. It is said that when Queen Anne first saw the completed St. Paul’s Cathedral and told Sir Christopher Wren that it was awful, the architect was moved by the compliment.

   After the patriarch Jacob saw in a dream that ladder reaching to heaven, he cried out, “How awful is this place!” and he called it Bethel, the House of God. He had seen angels ascending and descending on the ladder. It is fitting that the magnificent crucifix suspended from the ceiling in our church should hang over our altar, for in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the angels and saints unite heaven and earth in worship, and Christ makes the Cross a ladder of heavenly access. By it he is able to descend to the altar, True Body and Blood, without diminishing his eternal glory. “No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man” (John 3:13).

   Having celebrated the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross this past week, the Church remembers that, as Cardinal Gibbons wrote, the veneration of the Cross “is referred to Him who died upon it.” In 787, the Second Council of Nicaea distinguished veneration of the Cross from the worship (“latria”) that belongs to the Divine nature alone. The Cross, as Saint Bonaventure hymned, is the Medicine of the World (“Crux est mundi medicina”) because of the healing power of the crucified Good Physician.

   At a prize fight, when one of the boxers made the sign of the Cross upon entering the ring, a man seated next to me asked sardonically if that meant he was going to win. As a Doctor of Sacred Theology, I felt qualified to reply that it depended on how good a boxer he was. But the awful Crucifix does have power when human intellect and will are consecrated to the Crucified.

   Around 325, Saint Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine (and, before her successful marriage, what we might call a “barista”) and Bishop Macarius, found what they believed to be the True Cross buried under the rubble of a Temple of Venus that had been built by the emperor Hadrian as a profanation of the Holy City. A generation later, Saint Cyril, second successor to Macarius, wrote: “Let us not be ashamed of the Cross of Christ. … Make this sign as you eat and drink, when you sit down, when you go to bed, when you get up again, while you are talking, while you are walking: in brief, at your every undertaking.”

2020-09-13 - 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2020-09-13 - 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 13, 2020

13 September 2020

The Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 18:21-35 + Homily

16 Minutes 32 Seconds

Link to the Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/091320.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin of Sunday 13 September 2020:

  In our city accustomed to protest demonstrations of all sorts, a recent one was particularly dismaying and even frightening. The anarchistic chants were bad enough, but the frightfulness was in the glazed eyes of the expressionless marchers, like the “pod people” in the 1956 cult film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” Carrying signs supplied for them, they chanted refrains called out by a leader as they moved through one of our pricier neighborhoods. As a boy, the black-and-white film was scary, though in later years it was amusing to watch again, but now it has taken on an unsettling reality in the living color of live people. 

   Mind control is a signature of corrupt politics, and George Orwell said that “Political language . . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” It is easy to appropriate the brains of people who are disturbed or idealistic or both. In the eighteenth century, the physicist and satirist George Lichtenberg volunteered that “The most dangerous untruths are truths moderately distorted.” That is the essential psychology of heresies in religion, and it is also true of platforms in politics. 

   In any election season, when information is twisted by “disinformation,” one can learn with profit the experience of the Church as she has confronted distorters of the Gospel. A vital instance is the way Saint Paul detected the errors among the first Greek Christians on the island of Crete. Being a man of erudition, which his true humility allowed him to remark without affectation, Paul quotes a minor poet of about 600 BC, Epimenides: “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”

   Epimenides is the same sage that Paul cites when he speaks to the philosophers of the Areopagus in Athens. The verse sent to Titus is paraphrased by the Apostle in Acts 17, when he speaks of the One “in whom we live and move and have our being.” A discovery of the full text of Epimenides’s poem “Cretica” in the early 1900’s by the formidable English scholar J. Rendel Harris, makes clear that the lying was a specific lie—namely about a tomb built in contradiction to the supposed immortality of Zeus. This resolves what has been called the “Epimenides Paradox:” If Epimenides said that all Cretans are liars, how can we trust Epimenides who was himself a Cretan? But in fact, the deceitfulness of the Cretans was only about trying to entomb immortality.

   Saint Paul invoked the gift of “diakrisis,” which is the discernment of truth from falsehood (1 Corinthians 12:10). Never, and especially not in times of political propaganda, should lies intimidate, so long as one has that discerning gift to know the difference between what comes from Christ, the Head of the Church (Colossians 1:18), and the talking heads on television.

2020-09-06 - 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

2020-09-06 - 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 6, 2020

6 September 2020

The Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 18:15-20 + Homily

16 Minutes 07 Seconds

Link to the Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/090620.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin of Sunday 6 September 2020:

  The Prince of Lies cannot lie in the presence of Christ: “I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” (Luke 4:34). And Christ who is the Truth knows him, too: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18).
 
   Satan does not want anyone to know him, and yet in the present discontent that afflicts our culture, many anarchists and Marxists invoke him. The desecration of churches and statues of saints is spreading. Twice recently, our own church has been defaced with Satanic symbols: not just the customary obscenities, but invocations of the Prince of Lies. 

   The mystics have known two characteristics of Satan. A Desert Father around 300 A.D., Abba Apollo, had a vision of him: “The devil has no knees. He cannot kneel; he cannot adore; he cannot pray; he can only look down his nose in contempt. Being unwilling to bend the knee at the name of Jesus is the essence of evil.” (cf. Isaiah 45:23, Romans 14:11) The other malignant quality of the Liar, as revealed to Saint Martin of Tours, is that he can look as attractive as Christ, but he has no wounds. Instead of taking our suffering upon himself, the Anti-Christ inflicts suffering. That is his infernal nourishment and macabre ecstasy. 

   Playing the Devil’s game is dangerous. He has concealed weapons, and the chief of them is deceit. At one recent political convention, a Religious sister from a dying community, in secular dress, prayed not to the Lord, but to “O Divine Spirit” in a way that would have been unobjectionable to a Hindu or an Aztec. With concomitant vagueness, she said that an opinion on the killing of unborn life was above her “pay grade.” At the convention that followed, another Religious in full habit, who is a surgeon and former Army colonel, Sister Deirdre Byrne, made clear that naming the lies of Satan was not above her pay grade as she held her “weapon of choice: the rosary.” 

   The rosary is the most effective private prayer in defying the Liar. The greatest public prayer is the Holy Eucharist. Four years ago in France, two Islamic terrorists sliced the throat of 85-year-old Father Jacques Hamel at the Altar of Sacrifice. His last words were: “Va-t’en, Satan!” (Be gone, Satan!) Christ had said the same in the wilderness and on the way to his crucifixion (Mark 8:33; Matthew 16:23). 

   Unlike some Catholics, who shy away from mentioning the name of Christ at public gatherings lest they give offense, the evangelist Franklin Graham prayed “In the mighty name of your son, my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Christ himself warned: “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26). 

2020-08-30 - 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

2020-08-30 - 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 30, 2020

30 August 2020

The Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 16:21-27 + Homily

16 Minutes 51 Seconds

Link to the Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/083020.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin of Sunday 30 August 2020:

  It is our custom not to have the "From the Pastor" column during the weeks of August. The parish website is still available with general news and information. It is a pleasure to have a community of friends beyond the regular number of our own parishioners. We are grateful for the support of all, especially during these months of “lockdown,” and the resulting financial challenges. In addition to individual gifts, the parish website explains how contributions can be made electronically, providing convenient records for donors. 

  Until the Pastor's Column resumes in September, books by Father Rutler to benefit the parish are available in our church and through the publishers Ignatius Press and Sophia Institute as well as Amazon. In celebration of the August 4 Feast of Saint John Vianney, patron saint of parish priests, subscribers may want to read his biography by Father Rutler, The Curé d'Ars Today, published by Ignatius Press.

 

2020-08-23 - 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

2020-08-23 - 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 23, 2020

23 August 2020

The Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 16:13-20 + Homily

18 Minutes 50 Seconds

Link to the Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/082320.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin of Sunday 23 August 2020:

  It is our custom not to have the "From the Pastor" column during the weeks of August. The parish website is still available with general news and information. It is a pleasure to have a community of friends beyond the regular number of our own parishioners. We are grateful for the support of all, especially during these months of “lockdown,” and the resulting financial challenges. In addition to individual gifts, the parish website explains how contributions can be made electronically, providing convenient records for donors. 

  Until the Pastor's Column resumes in September, books by Father Rutler to benefit the parish are available in our church and through the publishers Ignatius Press and Sophia Institute as well as Amazon. In celebration of the August 4 Feast of Saint John Vianney, patron saint of parish priests, subscribers may want to read his biography by Father Rutler, The Curé d'Ars Today, published by Ignatius Press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2020-08-16 - 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2020-08-16 - 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 16, 2020

16 August 2020

The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 15:21-28 + Homily

19 Minutes 39 Seconds

Link to the Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/081620.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin of Sunday 16 August 2020:

  It is our custom not to have the "From the Pastor" column during the weeks of August. The parish website is still available with general news and information. It is a pleasure to have a community of friends beyond the regular number of our own parishioners. We are grateful for the support of all, especially during these months of “lockdown,” and the resulting financial challenges. In addition to individual gifts, the parish website explains how contributions can be made electronically, providing convenient records for donors. 

  Until the Pastor's Column resumes in September, books by Father Rutler to benefit the parish are available in our church and through the publishers Ignatius Press and Sophia Institute as well as Amazon. In celebration of the August 4 Feast of Saint John Vianney, patron saint of parish priests, subscribers may want to read his biography by Father Rutler, The Curé d'Ars Today, published by Ignatius Press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2020-08-09 - 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2020-08-09 - 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 9, 2020

9 August 2020

The Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 14:22-33 + Homily

19 Minutes 09 Seconds

Link to the Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/080920.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin of Sunday 9 August 2020:

  It is our custom not to have the "From the Pastor" column during the weeks of August. The parish website is still available with general news and information. It is a pleasure to have a community of friends beyond the regular number of our own parishioners. We are grateful for the support of all, especially during these months of “lockdown,” and the resulting financial challenges. In addition to individual gifts, the parish website explains how contributions can be made electronically, providing convenient records for donors. 

  Until the Pastor's Column resumes in September, books by Father Rutler to benefit the parish are available in our church and through the publishers Ignatius Press and Sophia Institute as well as Amazon. In celebration of the August 4 Feast of Saint John Vianney, patron saint of parish priests, subscribers may want to read his biography by Father Rutler, The Curé d'Ars Today, published by Ignatius Press.

 

2020-08-02 - 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2020-08-02 - 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 2, 2020

2 August 2020

The Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Matthew 14:13-21 + Homily

 

19 Minutes 02 Seconds

 

Link to the Readings:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/080220.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

 

From the parish bulletin of Sunday 2 August 2020:

  It is our custom not to have the "From the Pastor" column during the weeks of August. The parish website is still available with general news and information. It is a pleasure to have a community of friends beyond the regular number of our own parishioners. We are grateful for the support of all, especially during these months of “lockdown,” and the resulting financial challenges. In addition to individual gifts, the parish website explains how contributions can be made electronically, providing convenient records for donors. 

  Until the Pastor's Column resumes in September, books by Father Rutler to benefit the parish are available in our church and through the publishers Ignatius Press and Sophia Institute as well as Amazon. In celebration of the August 4 Feast of Saint John Vianney, patron saint of parish priests, subscribers may want to read his biography by Father Rutler, The Curé d'Ars Today, published by Ignatius Press.

 

 

2020-07-26 - 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2020-07-26 - 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 26, 2020

26 July 2020

The Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

Matthew 13:44-52 + Homily

 

16 Minutes 35 Seconds

 

Link to the Readings:

 

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/072620.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

 

From the parish bulletin of Sunday 26 July 2020:

 

   As a psychosis, “self-mutilation syndrome” is rooted in self-loathing and obsessive-compulsive behavior. Whole cultures can be afflicted with a similar compulsion to injure themselves.

Nowadays it is called a “cancel culture.” To topple statues and burn churches is a metaphor for self-loathing rather than reason. 

   In their modern aesthetic recklessness, nations begin to disdain what Matthew Arnold called “the best which has been thought and said.” Even people who do not read much still can see much, and they can see that destruction of great buildings is the grammar of self-mutilation. There was a sigh of relief when the French government announced that the cathedral of Paris would be restored exactly as it had been. But you need only look at some recent architectural horrors, like the Centre Pompidou, to appreciate that the preservation of Notre Dame was a close call. Consider the 1925 Plan Voisin of Le Corbusier for replacing central Paris with buildings that looked like refrigerators, to see the fabric of a society without a soul. 

   The burning of the cathedral of Nantes was reported with practically no mention of the winter of 1793-1794, when over 14,000 Catholic counterrevolutionaries were slaughtered in that region. Jean-Baptiste Carrier, the sadistic officer of the Revolution, mocked his own name by drowning more than four thousand priests, nuns, mothers and infants in boats designed for what he called “Revolutionary Baptisms.” At the same time, another Jean-Baptiste, Gobel, was made Archbishop of Paris in place of Antoine de Juigné, provided he “take the knee” to the Revolution. All atheistic revolutionaries kill their fomenters: Just as the architect of the Terror, Robespierre, was guillotined by his Terror, so were Carrier and Gobel. In a kind of cultural doppelganger today, writers for our most “liberal” periodicals are being fired for not being pure enough for the anarchists who have made their moral impurity into a religion. 

   Since the late 1960s, disciples of Le Corbusier among the liturgical “wreckovaters” denuded churches as arrogantly as the cults of theanthropy in the French Revolution. Convents subscribing to ephemeral “renewal” have now become nursing homes for women who once thought that labyrinths could be stairways to Heaven. 

   We are now in a spiritual combat as monumental as World II. In 1944, when the Nazis demanded that the Americans surrender during the Battle of the Bulge, Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe replied, “Nuts!” The vernacularism was unfamiliar to the Germans, and so another message was sent: "Du kannst zum Teufel gehen."—You can go to the Devil. 

   No victory is secured by kneeling to the Enemy. Those who do, will be the next in line for the guillotine. The Holy Church has the best translation for “Nuts” when proclaimed in defiance of the Anti-Christ: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty…” 

 

 

2020-07-19 - 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2020-07-19 - 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 19, 2020

19 July 2020

The Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 13:24-43 + Homily

 19 Minutes 59  Seconds

Link to the Readings:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/071920.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin of Sunday 19 July 2020:

  It may not be long before “Ladies and Gentlemen” ceases to start a speech, as the result of blurring the distinction between man and gentleman, and woman and lady. We may not hear at banquets, “Gentlemen, charge your glasses,” or understand the Victorian-era ballad: “My mother was a lady like yours, you will allow.” 

   Putting aside the grotesquerie of gender confusion, this is simply the consequence of losing the brilliant sense of chivalry, courtesy, and honor. Men and women are biological facts; gentlemen and ladies are crafted by long exposure to natural virtue. In times past this was foolishly ascribed to social privilege. In 1381 the slogan of the Peasants’ Revolt was: “When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?” Sherlock Holmes detected that Baron Gruner was an imposter because in respectable society “you remove the band from a cigar before lighting it.” This distorted understanding of courtliness occasionally led to a reaction replacing “Ladies and Gentlemen” with the generic “Comrades,” which may be revived as a protocol by the likes of Antifa and the mayor of New York City. 

   Chivalry, courtesy and honor are as accessible as virtue itself, and are apart from wealth, social status, race and nationality. Their absence can degrade popes and paupers alike if they insult, humiliate and bully others. Charles II was a gentleman, not because he was a king but because he “put those around him at ease.” As wit is in the arsenal of the courtly man, Charles quipped that Presbyterianism was no religion for a gentleman and Anglicanism was no religion for a Christian. He became a Catholic on his deathbed, apologizing to his courtiers for taking so long to die. For Saint John Henry Newman, it is “almost a definition of a gentleman to say that he is one who never inflicts pain.” With intuitive elegance, a gentleman “makes light of favours while he does them, and seems to be receiving when he is conferring.” 

   I recently came across some accounts in Catholic journals that had lost the meaning of “gentleman” in describing what Sherlock Holmes would have called a “bounder.” One mentioned a “gentleman” intent on killing, and described a “gentleman” on a New York City sidewalk poking an elderly woman in the head. Last week, when a church in Florida was set afire, with worshipers barely escaping, the Diocese of Orlando offered piteous prayers for “the gentleman who caused this damage.” Thugs and arsonists are not gentlemen. 

   We can say without irreverence that the Divine Saviour is the Perfect Gentleman. He inflicted no pain, although he stimulated pain in the consciences of the guilty, and by a singular redeeming act, he took the pain of the whole world on himself. In this he also exemplified that other quality of Newman’s gentleman, by being “merciful to the absurd.”

 

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