Father George William Rutler Homilies
2019-07-28 - 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2019-07-28 - 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 28, 2019

28 July 2019

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 11:1-13 + Homily

17 Minutes 5 Seconds

Link to the Readings:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/072819.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin:

  Toddlers try to get their way by throwing tantrums, but they are not the only ones. In “An Open Letter on Translating,” an heresiarch in 1530 justified altering the Letter of Saint James: “Dr. Martin Luther will have it so . . . Sic volo, sic jubeo.” (I want it; I command.)

   This solipsism was updated in a 1966 book turned into a 1972 film about a twenty-year-old named Roy who demonstrated his desire to be his sister Wendy by dressing in her clothes. The title was: “I Want What I Want.”

   What one wants may not be obtainable. For the adult still psychologically in diapers, the only recourse is to become flushed and scream at anyone who sticks to reality. That was the response of some when the Holy See’s Congregation for Catholic Education published on June 10 a document that said the denial of the natural duality of the sexes creates the idea of the human person as an abstraction “who chooses for himself what his nature is to be.” This is what Pope Francis, who has stressed the need to be charitable to people misled by such mental disorders, in 2016 called a “utopia of the neutral.” A utopia is nowhere. In the same year, the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly explained, “The claim that it is possible to change one’s sex, or that sexual identity is fluid, contradicts scientific evidence, reason, the nature of the human person, and key tenets of the Catholic faith.” It is Gnostic dualism. 

   The term “gender” has commonly come to classify sex. So now we have an innovative vocabulary: transgendered, gender dysphoric, non-binary, and so forth. But neologisms fly in the face of the conclusion of Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the Johns Hopkins Hospital psychiatrist, that “gender reassignment” is “biologically impossible.” In 1975 the American Psychological Association, acting politically with no justifying science, declared that certain aberrancies are not pathological. Start with a lie and you can logically conclude with a lie. The APA’s “Non-Monogamy Task Force” now has endorsed polygamy and promiscuity, called “relationship anarchy.” Only about 6/10 of one percent of humans consider themselves “transgendered,” although about 3% of malleable adolescents now identify as such, as the result of pedagogical propaganda. This is a sophisticated form of child abuse. Among all those who have had “reassignment surgery,” the suicide rate is twenty times higher than average.

   Schoolchildren once knew the rhyme about the grand old Duke of York’s ten thousand men: “He marched them up to the top of the hill, /And he marched them down again. / When they were up, they were up, /And when they were down, they were down, /And when they were only halfway up, /They were neither up nor down.” That is not how armies should work, and that is not how male and female created in God’s image can ever work.

2019-07-21 - 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2019-07-21 - 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 21, 2019

21 July 2019

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 10:38-42 + Brief Remarks

6 Minutes 40 Seconds

Link to the Readings

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/072119.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin:

  If there is no objective truth, there are no heresies. For the lazy thinker, the mellow refrain suffices: “It’s all good.” The etymology of “heresy” is complicated, but it has come to mean a wrong choice. Yet, if the mere act of choosing justifies itself (as when people declare themselves “Pro-Choice”), then no choice is wrong. But we live in a real world, and so everything cannot be right. Thus, we have a new religion called political correctness, and anyone who is politically incorrect is accused of being “phobic” one way or another. Suddenly what claims to be liberal is decidedly illiberal, and what is called “free speech” is anything but free. 

   This confusion is rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding of creation itself. The world follows an order; otherwise all would be chaos. As God has revealed himself as its Creator, there are truths about the world that cannot be denied without illogical anarchy. Every heresy is an exaggeration of a truth. For instance, Arianism teaches the humanity of Christ to the neglect of his divinity, and Apollinarianism does the opposite. The long list of heresies with complicated names illustrates how many deep thinkers made mistakes by relying only on their own limited powers of deduction. The two most destructive heresies were Gnosticism and Calvinism, which totally misunderstood creation and the human condition. Thus, we have the romantic fantasizing of Teilhard de Chardin and the sociopathic astringency of John Calvin. 

   In the first chapter of his letter to the Colossians, Saint Paul sets the orthodox template by raising his glorious theology to an effervescent canticle praising the mystery of Christ “who is the image of the unseen God and the first born of all creation.” This hymnody animates the Office of Vespers in the weeks of each month: “. . . for in him were created all things in heaven and on earth . . .”

   By natural intelligence, we would know God as the Designer of the universal order (Romans 1:19-20), but only by God’s revelation can we know the existence of Christ transcending time and space. By Christ’s enfleshment and the shedding of his blood on the Cross, as Saint John Paul II said, quoting Colossians, “the face of the Father, Creator of the universe becomes accessible in Christ, author of created reality: ‘all things were created through him . . . in him all things hold together.'” So Christ cannot be understood as just another wise man in the mold of Confucius or Solomon. As Saint Cyril of Alexandria proclaimed: “We do not say that a simple man, full of honors, I know not how, by his union with Him was sacrificed for us, but it is the very Lord of glory who was crucified.” 

   Without recrimination or censoriousness, but just looking around at the disastrous state of contemporary culture, logic can conclude that, if all things hold together in Christ, without Christ all things fall apart.

2019-07-14 - 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2019-07-14 - 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 14, 2019

14 July 2019

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 10:25-37 + Homily

19 Minutes 30 Seconds

Link to the Readings:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/071419.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin:

   Centenarians are not as rare as they used to be, and one can profit from their memories. In California I spoke with a woman who had traveled there from Missouri in a covered wagon. I visited another woman in a retirement home who was among the first to hear her English professor at Wellesley College, Katharine Lee Bates, read a poem she had written on her vacation in Colorado: “America the Beautiful.” 

   While the adage obtains, that those who do not know their history are condemned to repeat it, there also is evidence that those who do not know their history can be fooled. “Bastille Day” is the celebration of a myth. Propagandists, and later romanticizers like Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens, made the storming of the prison the first thrust of liberators. The Bastille was far from a fetid torture chamber, and its inmates numbered only seven on July 14, 1789. The Marquis de Sade had been transferred to a lunatic asylum ten days earlier, but while in the Bastille, his rooms were elegantly furnished. The other inmates, including four forgers and two more mental patients, one of whom had a personal chef, were reluctant to be set free. Yet the myth perdures, and the key to the Bastille now hangs in Mount Vernon, the proud gift of the Marquis de Lafayette.

   It takes a skilled propagandist to airbrush the Reign of Terror, but it has been done many times, not least of all by our own Thomas Jefferson. When the Cathedral of Notre Dame burned this year, there was much misinformation about its history. In the Revolution it was ransacked, most of its treasures looted, 28 statues of the Kings of Judah decapitated, the whole building desecrated as a Temple of Reason with a woman of ill repute dancing as a goddess on its high altar, and images of saints replaced by busts of such luminaries as Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin. Part of the lead roof was melted to make bullets, and only a gothic revival movement, animated by Victor Hugo’s story of Quasimodo, prevented the ravaged shrine from being totally demolished. It was astonishing, then, to read an essay by the estimable  philosopher, Sir Roger Scruton, at the time of the recent fire in which he said of the revolutionaries: “Nobody at the time could bring himself to lay desecrating hands on the cathedral, apart from a few ruffians who beheaded a saint or two, thinking them to be kings.” As Horace said, even Homer nods; but such insouciance about such a clash of cultures, especially among those who are considered spokesmen for classical verities, is worse than nodding and is more like a coma.

   The Gospel is Good News and not Fake News, because it is real and not malleable putty in the hands of theorists. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have touched, concerning the word of life. . .” (1 John 1:1).

2019-07-07 - 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2019-07-07 - 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 7, 2019

7 July 2019

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 10:1-12, 17-20 + Homily

16 Minutes 14 Seconds

Link to the Readings:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/070719.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin:

  There is dark humor in counting the number of “motivational speakers” who flood public television stations, and go as quickly as they come, just like the profitable “self-help” books of the type that counsel: “God wants you to be happy.” In some churches, there is a tendency to replicate this kind of “snowflake” Gospel that shortchanges people out of the truth.

   Our opioid generation, whether drugged chemically or culturally, has had more suicides than in any decade since the Second World War. It does not understand Socrates’ statement: “An unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates was not “self-motivated” but was moved by the one True God for whom he searched as best he could long before Pentecost. Unlike modern motivational speakers who retire to Malibu or Hawaii to count their royalties, Socrates drank hemlock as a primitive, albeit heroic, sacrifice for objective truth. 

   There are those who would reduce Christ to a glorified motivational speaker. Thomas Jefferson edited the New Testament so that the Resurrection and Pentecost were irrelevant, making the Sermon on the Mount the pinnacle of Christ’s teaching. But this reduced the Messiah to an aphorist. Even had that been the case, there were others more verbose than any “Sage of Galilee.”

   In the eighteenth century, the 4th Earl of Chesterfield wrote his son four hundred letters on how to live as a gentleman, oblivious to the fact that the youth had been born out of wedlock to a housemaid left to live in penury. A wiser author of epigrams was the last of the “Five Good Emperors,” Marcus Aurelius, who was a Stoic in the second century—and if you have to be a pagan, Stoicism is as good a way as any, if not as much fun as Epicureanism. 

   Both of those men warned against procrastination. Lord Chesterfield coined the phrase: “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” This was wisdom, albeit snobbish, and not unlike Benjamin Franklin’s homely advice on how to make a man “healthy, wealthy and wise.” Marcus Aurelius was almost prophetic, and remarkably so since he left words he did not expect to be recorded but which ring true to Christ, when he wrote: “Think of your many years of procrastination; how the gods have repeatedly granted you further periods of grace, of which you have taken no advantage.”

   The Gospel is not a compendium of maxims, nor is Christ an amiable motivational speaker expecting to retire in Galilee and count his royalties. When he tells the scribe to follow immediately and not bury his father, and forbids another would-be follower to tarry to say farewell to his family, he is speaking of procrastination that defers the primacy of God to tomorrow. But Christ can only be a soul’s Saviour if he saves today: “Today if you should hear his voice, harden not your hearts . . .” (Hebrews 3:15).