Father George William Rutler Homilies
2020-06-28 - 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2020-06-28 - 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 28, 2020

28 June 2020

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 10:37-42 + Homily

15 Minutes 59 Seconds

Link to the Readings:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/062820.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin of Sunday 28 June 2020:

  As the local churches gradually open again, one is reminded of the persistence of Benjamin Stoddert Ewell, president of the College of William and Mary, ringing the school bell during seven years of closure after the Civil War. It is yet to be seen how many return to our churches after the quarantine, but the churches will be strengthened by the perdurance of the truly faithful, and I have been edified by their patience.

   Nor have I been scandalized by those who call worship of God non-essential. No surprise here. I write this on the feast of Saint John Fisher and Saint Thomas More, the only bishop and the one high-level magistrate who placed Christ before the Crown. “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help” (Psalm 146:3).

   Perhaps not by coincidence have social riots accompanied the health crisis. The anarchists, whose numbers include ignorant pawns, are the latest effervescence of the ancient Gnostic heresy which in modern times has assumed the fatal dialectic of Marxism.

   The supine “virtue signaling” of failed leaders bending their knees to barbarians makes them poster children for what Lenin called his “useful idiots.” Civilization stands on the precipice of what already seemed chaotic as William Butler Yeats perceived over one hundred years ago. “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; / Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, / The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere / The ceremony of innocence is drowned; / The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.”

   Demagogues who lack all conviction ignored one of the most important civil acts of recent times: our President’s “Executive Order on Advancing International Religious Freedom.” On June 2 he dared to proclaim that “Religious freedom, America’s first freedom, is a moral and national security imperative.” The First Amendment is not “non-essential” because, among other instances, thousands of Christians have been slaughtered in Nigeria, in attacks ignored by Westerners who claim to be champions of black lives, and in China churches are being destroyed by a government with which ecclesiastical bureaucrats have tried naively to cut deals.

   In the present cultural war, parishes are on the front line. We have our obligations to the needs of the larger church, but we exercise the “principle of subsidiarity” by assuring our people that any donations specified for the support of our local church will be honored as such. After months of closure, our parish, perhaps like most, is in financial peril. But the greater peril is surrender to vandals who would smash the very fundaments of our civilization. If “the centre cannot hold,” such is only the case with the material order. Christ is the true and unfailing nucleus of all life: “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).

2020-06-21 - The Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

2020-06-21 - The Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 21, 2020

21 June 2020

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

NOTE that public Masses in Manhattan will resume on Monday, 22 June 2020. There are various health precautions. For details, please see the homepage of the parish website: https://www.stmichaelnyc.org.

Next Sunday, 28 June 2020, St Michael’s parish will resume its regular Mass Schedule: 10:00, 11:15 (Spanish), and 12:15.

Since no public Masses were permitted today due to the Covid19 / Coronavirus Emergency the homily attached hereto was the homily given on 25 June 2017, the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, using the same Readings as for today, 21 June 2020.

Matthew 10:26-33 + Homily

13 Minutes 33 Seconds

Link to the Readings:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/062120.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin of Sunday 21 June 2020:

  After the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem in 70 AD, the Jews relied on literacy to preserve their culture, with the Mishna as the written record of what until then had been an oral tradition of rabbinic commentaries. While functional illiteracy seems to have been common, our Lord asked his listeners at least four times: “Have you not read . . . ?” (Matthew 12:3, 12:5, 19:4 and Mark 12:26). On the very day of the Resurrection, he explained the prophetic writings to the two men on the Emmaus road, just as Philip later would baptize the obviously well lettered official of the Ethiopian royal household.

   Romans often had Greek slaves as teachers, because they were better educated than themselves. King Malcolm of Scotland did not bother to learn how to read, but was charmed by the way his wife, Saint Margaret, could read to him, and the subjects she chose gave her much influence. 

   The first part of the Eucharistic Liturgy is the “synagogue part” because it teaches from the Sacred Books. “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures . . .” (1 Corinthians 15:3). Since the transmission of knowledge and its ancillary wisdom is fragile and dependent upon faithful stewards, civilizations require civilized people.

   Many were surprised in 1953 when President Eisenhower warned in a commencement speech at Dartmouth, without notes or teleprompter: “Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you are going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book, as long as any document does not offend our own ideas of decency. That should be the only censorship.” Having considerable experience of war, he had seen the consequences of thought control.

   Back in 1821 Heinrich Heine wrote: “Where they burn books, they will, in the end, burn people too.” The destruction of the libraries of Alexandria by Muslims in 640 and Cluny by Huguenots in 1562 had irreparable consequences. This also applies to the mutilation of art in all its forms. This is not a question of taste or optional aesthetic judgment. It is simply the fact that to rewrite history is eventually to resent history altogether, to live in the present without past or future.

   The cruelest illiteracy consists in a pantomime education that commands what to think rather than how to think, and that erases from a culture any memory of its tested and vindicated truths. In George Orwell’s “1984” dystopia: “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

2020-06-14 - Corpus Christi

2020-06-14 - Corpus Christi

June 14, 2020

14 June 2020

The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

NOTE: Due to the Covid19 / Coronavirus Emergency the Archdiocese of New York has cancelled all public Masses for an indefinite period. The homily attached hereto was given on 18 June 2017, Corpus Christi, using the same Readings as for today, 14 June 2020.

Note also that 18 June 2017 was Father’s Day in the United States. In 2020, Father’s Day in the United States is next Sunday 21 June 2020.

John 6:51-58 + Homily

14 Minutes 28 Seconds

Link to the Readings:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/061420.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin of Sunday 14 June 2020:

  Robert Gould Shaw was born into an abolitionist Unitarian family in Boston in 1837. When he was ten, they settled on Staten Island. An uncle who became a Catholic priest paid for his tuition at what is now the Fordham Preparatory School. As a somewhat distracted student, he never completed his studies (who does?) but he was tutored in Italy and Germany and studied at Harvard. During the Civil War he was eventually promoted to Colonel and, following the Emancipation Proclamation, he led New England’s first all-black military unit, the 54th Regiment.  Shaw insisted on equal pay and opposed any form of discrimination. Two of his soldiers were sons of Frederick Douglas.

   In 1863, storming Fort Wagner in South Carolina, Colonel Shaw led his regiment, which suffered heavy losses while he died from several wounds defending the nation and racial justice. Saint-Gaudens sculpted a bronze relief of Shaw and his troops, which was dedicated across from the Massachusetts State House 123 years ago on May 31. Just weeks ago, three million dollars were designated to restore it, but ironically on May 31, a mob claiming to be defenders of human dignity, defaced with obscenities this tribute to valiant African-Americans.

   Rioters also gathered in our nation’s capital in Logan Circle, by another irony named for a Civil War general, John A. Logan, who said: “Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of a free and undivided republic.” But many in our latest generation have not merely forgotten that cost, they were never taught it in the first place.

   The valor of the 54th Regiment was depicted in the 1989 film “Glory.” Yet recent mobs have behaved more like the brawlers in old Western movies, for whom one man attacking another becomes a cue for everyone to rise and wreck the whole saloon. Riots broke out in other cities and spread abroad. Perceived manipulation of the ignorant by sinister plotters whose Orwellian strategy is to call their fascism anti-fascist, is no excuse for their obliviousness to the consequences of moral confusion.

   In 452, Pope Leo the Great saved Rome from Attila the Hun and, in a double whammy three years later, he confronted Genseric the Vandal. He faced both with the serenity of virtue and the bravery of charity, bending his knee before neither because he knelt only to God. 

   Pope Leo preached: “Christian, remember your dignity, and now that you share in God’s own nature, do not return by sin to your former base condition. Bear in mind who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Do not forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of God’s kingdom.”

 

2020-06-07 - Trinity Sunday

2020-06-07 - Trinity Sunday

June 7, 2020

7 June 2020

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

NOTE: Due to the Covid19 / Coronavirus Emergency the Archdiocese of New York has cancelled all public Masses for an indefinite period. The homily attached hereto was given on 11 June 2017, Trinity Sunday, using the same Readings as for today, 7 June 2020.

John 3:16-18 + Homily

16 Minutes 21 Seconds

Link to the Readings:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/060720.cfm

(New American Bible, Revised Edition)

From the parish bulletin of Sunday 7 June 2020:

  Celebration of the Most Holy Trinity follows Pentecost, because it is through the Holy Spirit that the sublime truth of God as Three in One expands the limits of human intelligence. The perfect harmony of the Triune God is like music whose sound frequency cannot be registered by unaided hearing, but it reverberates in the systematic order of nature, evident in those things we take for granted: health, happiness, and peace.

   The peace that Christ proposes is not a human fabrication (John 14:27). But as the Creator has entrusted the care of His creation to humans as His most complex creatures, we are responsible for promoting what Saint Augustine called the tranquillitas ordinis—the tranquility of order.

   When the human mind works in harmony with the indications of the Holy Trinity, great things can be accomplished. For example, last week two astronauts on the SpaceX craft perfectly docked in outer space. In a devilish irony, this was accompanied by simultaneous rioting in our streets, nihilistic in its destructiveness. As many of the bomb throwers and arsonists were middle-class suburbanites turned terrorists, this was a commentary on the collapse of family life and the abandonment of classical education. And the desecration of our cathedral was the screech of young people who, for various reasons and from various sources, had come to think that the Divine Word of Life is an incomprehensible whimper.

   The contrast between astronauts and anarchists is a model of the blessings and dangers of free will. “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” (Galatians 5:17). This boils down to the choice between Christ and chaos, challenging the human mind to be rational or irrational. The human will is not bound to some arbitrary fate, but as John Milton put it: “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”

   It has been said one way or another that the gates of Hell are locked on the inside. By choosing misrule, distorted reason prefers Hell to Heaven. The gates of Heaven are opened by choosing the tranquility of divine logic. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).

   The destiny of souls depends on what people do with the “if” of their moral freedom. Thus, Rudyard Kipling wrote: “If you can keep your head when all about you / Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, . . .”