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Father George William Rutler Homilies

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The homilies of Fr. George William Rutler, pastor of the Church of St. Michael the Archangel in New York City.
Updated: 53 min 49 sec ago

2018-11-11 - Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

11/11/2018 - 2:17pm

11 November 2018

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 12:38-44 + Homily

17 Minutes 7 Seconds

Link to the Readings - USA Version

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/111118.cfm

(from the parish bulletin)

   Pier 54 on the Hudson River is a short walk from our church. On display are pictures of the Titanic and the Lusitania, which is not encouraging for public relations. The Titanic was supposed to berth there, but instead the Carpathia arrived with surviving passengers. Seven years before, my grandmother had sailed on the Carpathia.     The sinking of the Lusitania by a German U-boat brought the United States into the Great War. Film footage shows passengers arriving at Pier 54 to embark on May 1, 1915. Of the 1,962 passengers and crew on the Lusitania’s manifest, 1,198 died. Toscanini had planned to be on board, but took an earlier ship after bad reviews of his performance of Carmen. Jerome Kern missed the ship when his alarm clock failed—otherwise, we’d not have “Ol’ Man River” and “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” The dancer Isadora Duncan cancelled her ticket to save money, and the actress Ellen Terry backed off because of war jitters.     One casualty of the Lusitania sinking was Father Basil Maturin, Catholic chaplain at Oxford University, returning from a lecture tour. He spurned a lifeboat and gave away his life jacket. That was reminiscent of Monsignor John Chadwick, later pastor of the Church of Saint Agnes here in Manhattan, who barely survived the sinking of the Maine which incited the Spanish-American War. The monsignor was hailed as a hero by the sailors he saved.    If his chauffeur had not taken a wrong turn on the streets of Sarajevo in 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand might not have been assassinated, and the domino effect of national alliances would have not brought on the collapse of empires. At the Somme, more than one million troops were killed or wounded, and the war’s total casualties were 37.5 million dead or wounded. One year after the war, there was only one man between the ages of 18 and 30 for every 15 women. Each town and school in Britain has memorials to those lost. Both of my own grandmother’s brothers were killed in Ypres, and that was considered the norm. The United States lost 116,000 men with over 200,000 wounded. Europe has never really recovered. Military strategists were not prepared for modernized combat, and it has been said that the armies were lions led by donkeys. In a macabre way, the chief winners of that cultural suicide were Lenin and Hitler.    Today is the one-hundredth anniversary of the Armistice signaled by a bugle at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year. The poet Siegfried Sassoon, decorated for bravery, was latterly put in a psychiatric ward for begging an end to the killing. He became a Catholic and is buried near the grave of Monsignor Ronald Knox whom he admired. In tribute to one of his fallen comrades, he wrote:

I know that he is lost among the stars, And may return no more but in their light.

 

2018-11-04 - Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

11/04/2018 - 2:39pm

4 November 2018

Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 12:28B-34 + Homily

17 Minutes 35 Seconds

Link to the Readings (USA Version):

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/110418.cfm

(from the parish bulletin)

   Nostalgia is a selective editing of the past. For instance, there are those who wish we had today some of the architects of thirteenth-century cathedrals, but who avoid mentioning thirteenth-century dentists. In recent times, the general conceit has been the opposite of nostalgia. The philosopher Owen Barfield spoke of "chronological snobbery," defined as the belief that "intellectually, humanity languished for countless generations in the most childish errors on all sorts of crucial subjects, until it was redeemed by some scientific dictum of the last century."       That snobbery had its heyday in the past generation, which defined itself as mankind finally “come of age.” Were that true, we should now be in the stage of incipient senility. Catholics are suffering from that period’s destructive arrogance. Just look at the circular churches and ugly music that replaced venerable shrines and chants. Characteristic of that polyester period was the underestimation of evil, which Pope Benedict XVI noticed even in some assertions of the Second Vatican Council. Without explanation, the Prayer to Saint Michael was dropped from the liturgical books in 1964. But “Satan and all the evil spirits” have not politely gone away.

   That prayer was promulgated by Pope Leo XIII in 1884. Accounts variously claim that he was inspired by a vision of horrors to come in the twentieth century. Its use remained a private option after recitation of the prayer was dropped from the end of Mass, but in 1994 Pope Saint John Paul II, from his experience of travails in his native Poland, was not inclined to underestimate the power of the wickedness and snares of the devil: “I invite everyone not to forget it, but to recite it to obtain help in the battle against the forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world.”

   Far from having “come of age,” chronological snobs have learned the hard way that theirs has been a prolonged adolescence. In our present cultural chaos, faced with moral decadence all around, the pope and bishops have asked that the Prayer to Saint Michael be restored at the conclusion of each Mass. In our parish we have not had to reinstate it because we never ceased to offer that prayer after Mass, sometimes to the consternation of a few who thought it retrograde. When the Barque of Peter is tossed by storms, it is time to bring the life jackets out of the storage where some liturgists hid them.

   Our church is providentially dedicated to Saint Michael, and a month ago the Catholic News Service published a photograph of our own statue of him, based on the famous painting by Guido Reni. Generations ago, the people of “Hell’s Kitchen” knew that Michael and his sword would be a better defense in battle than liturgical dancers and the balloons of chronological snobs. They also knew, as Baudelaire said, that “The devil’s greatest trick is to persuade us that he does not exist.”

 

2018-10-28 - Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

10/28/2018 - 1:35pm

28 October 2018

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 10:46-52 + Homily

13 Minutes 59 Seconds

Link to Readings - USA version

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102818.cfm

(from the parish bulletin)

  Some classical composers whose melodramatic quirks would have made life with them difficult, such as Beethoven, Wagner, Berlioz and Satie, have their opposites in such genial geniuses as Hayden, Mozart and, I would argue, Edward Elgar.  

   Elgar was among the more modern, and had a gift for friendship. The “Enigma Variations” are musical sketches of friends who enjoyed his company. The ninth Variation is called “Nimrod” in honor of Augustus Jaeger, whose name is German for hunter. In the Old Testament, Noah’s great-grandson Nimrod was the “great hunter.” Hearing him playing notes distractedly on the piano one day, Elgar’s wife Alice said, “That’s a pretty tune, Eddie – keep it.” That is how we got that surpassing orchestral work whose solemnity has made it a staple of memorial ceremonies, played in Whitehall at the Cenotaph each year on Remembrance Day. A choral setting for it applies to its meter the text of the Requiem Mass:

Lux aeterna luceat eis,

Domine, cum sanctis tuis in aeternum,

quia pius es.Requiem aeternamdona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua leceat eis.

May light eternal shine upon them,

O Lord, with Thy saints forever,for Thou art Kind.Eternal restgive to them, O Lord,and let perpetual light shine upon them.

   Elgar was a Catholic whose wife converted before they married in London’s Brompton Oratory, causing her to be ostracized by her family. In 1900, less than two years after the “Enigma Variations,” Elgar set to music Cardinal Newman’s long poem, The Dream of Gerontius. In 1907, the Viennese violinist Fritz Kreisler commissioned Elgar to write a concerto that he premiered in 1910. After a chance encounter with Kreisler in New York in 1947, then-Monsignor Fulton Sheen, who at the time was a professor at the Catholic University of America, received the violinist and his wife into the Catholic Church and later preached at Kreisler’s Requiem. In another Catholic connection, Elgar set his first “Pomp and Circumstance March”—“Coronation Ode,” composed for King Edward VII and familiar at graduations—to words of Arthur C. Benson, brother of the convert preacher and writer, Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson.

   The Protestant dean of Gloucester Cathedral banned performance of “The Dream of Gerontius” because it is about Purgatory. But the doctrines of Particular Judgment, Purgatory and the Intercession of the Saints, are blessings of God’s grace, and in these wistful autumnal days when All Saints and All Souls set the theme, that melody of “Nimrod” and the lines of Gerontius give a confused world a dose of reality that is a sturdy relief from the depressing attempts of a secular culture to “celebrate life” artificially at funerals, when in fact it harbors a pagan fear of death. But as Newman wrote and Elgar played:

Now that the hour is come, my fear is fled;

And at this balance of my destiny,

Now close upon me, I can forward look

With a serenest joy.

2018-10-21 - Twenty -Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

10/21/2018 - 1:45pm

21 October 2018

Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 10:35-45 + Homily

20 Minutes 37 Seconds

Link to the Readings

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102118.cfm

(from the parish bulletin)

   There are those who would not let facts get in the way of theory, and such was the English philosopher Herbert Spencer who promoted the “survival of the fittest.” This “Social Darwinism” theorized that the weak and poor would gradually die out to make way for an inevitable social progress. He was idolized by Andrew Carnegie, even though that richest man in the world was generous in philanthropies that Spencer disdained. Carnegie prevailed upon his mentor to visit Pittsburgh, whose Bessemer mills were supposed to be a model of social progress. Spencer confessed: “Six months’ residence here would justify suicide.”

   Spencer’s theory that people are shaped by culture rather than shaping it, opposed the “great man” theory of the historian Thomas Carlyle, for whom culture is shaped by individuals of “Godly inspiration and personality.” But Carlyle did acknowledge the influence of cultural conditions and, moreover, warned that personal influence could be benign or evil.

   The greatest figures in history have been the saints, for their spiritual influence is more long-lasting than even their political impact. Consider two saints that the Church celebrates this week.

   Saint John of Capistrano was a skilled lawyer and diplomat in the fifteenth century. As governor of Perugia in Italy, his reforms were so radical that he was arrested by some who needed reformation. The imprisonment afforded him time to reflect on what really changes society, and he became a Franciscan. He did not relinquish his powerful mind and energy when he relinquished glamor, and he became a polyglot missionary throughout more than a dozen countries in Europe. His crowds were so huge that he had to preach outdoors, and he could be heard by 125,000 without a microphone. In 1456, at the age of 70, he joined the Hungarian general Hunyadi in lifting the siege of Budapest, riding on horseback into overwhelming numbers of Ottoman Turks, and saving western civilization.

   Another saint we celebrate this week is Pope John Paul II. On his return to Poland as Vicar of Christ, the nervous hands of the Communist leader Wojciech Jaruzelski shook, and soon afterward the Marxist empire collapsed. As Karol Wojtyla, his Polish culture shaped him, with its legacy of heroism and suffering, and he in turned shaped much of our present world.

   If our secular schools and media are bewildered by the influence of saints, and do not mention them, it is because any recognition of their existence must acknowledge the existence of God who made them heroically virtuous beyond the abilities of the naturally great. Saint John Paul II wrote in the encyclical Centesimus Annus:

   “For an adequate formation of a culture, the involvement of the whole man is required, whereby he exercises his creativity, intelligence, and knowledge of the world and of people. Furthermore, he displays his capacity for self-control, personal sacrifice, solidarity and readiness to promote the common good.”

 

2018-10-18 - Feast of St. Luke

10/21/2018 - 1:29pm

18 October 2018

Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist

Luke 10:1-9 + Homily

15 Minutes 50 Seconds

Link to the Readings

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/101818.cfm

 

 

 

2018-10-14 - Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

10/14/2018 - 2:30pm

14 October 2018

Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 10:17-30 + Homily

16 Minutes 57 Seconds

Link to Readings:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/101418.cfm

(from the parish bulletin)

   Last Sunday was the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto, a conflict that saved civilization on the seventh of October, 1571. The day after that anniversary marked the celebration of the life of Christopher Columbus, an observance that has become muted by polemicists who do not understand the significance of events. Were it not for the courage of the 41-year-old Columbus braving the uncharted ocean to the west to avoid the Mediterranean blockade by Islamic jihadists in 1492, and the valor of the 24-year-old Don Juan of Austria, who commanded the Holy League fleet in the Straits of Corinth in 1571, we would not exist today in what we still call a civilized form of nature.    Columbus invoked the Blessed Virgin’s protection each day, ringing the Angelus bell. On his arrival in the West Indies, a grateful local populace thanked him for saving them from marauding Carib cannibals. The Franciscans who accompanied him proclaimed the Gospel, putting a stop to the Aztec sacrifices of about fifty thousand human victims annually. The spread of the Gospel was so rapid that Don Juan’s flagship in 1571 carried an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that had been touched to the original miraculous image imprinted on Saint Juan Diego’s tilma exactly forty years earlier.    Columbus could not have made it to the New World without the astrolabe, whose design had been perfected four centuries before by a young Benedictine monk, Blessed Hermann of Reichenau. Blessed Hermann had been so crippled by congenital deformities, that many barbaric modern doctors acting on the results of amniocentesis would have aborted him. Countless are the discoveries that could have been made by recent generations of those whose right to life was erased by an autonomous decree of our Supreme Court.    The Holy See has convened a Synod on Youth, with laudatory intent to form the next generation of Catholics. But its draft syllabus has been supine, expressing a desire to “accompany” and “learn” from youth rather than instruct them. The sailors with Columbus and Don Juan would have laughed at that. It is not the job of the Church to “accompany” the young in their ways of naiveté, but to commission youthful vigor to spread the joy of the Gospel.     Pope Saint Gregory did not pander to young people by flattering them: “Your prophets saw false and foolish visions and did not point out your wickedness, that you might repent of your sins. The name of prophet is sometimes given in the sacred writings to teachers who both declare the present to be fleeting and reveal what is to come. The word of God accuses them of seeing false visions because they are afraid to reproach men for their faults and they consequently lull the evildoer with an empty promise of safety. Because they fear reproach, they keep silent and fail to point out the sinner’s wrongdoing.”

2018-10-07 - Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

10/07/2018 - 1:28pm

7 October 2018

Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 10:2-16 + Homily

18 Minutes 40 Seconds

Link to the Readings

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/100718.cfm

(from the parish bulletin)

   The opening line of a children’s poem by Mary Howitt in 1828 is a caution for growing up in a duplicitous world: “‘Will you walk into my parlour?’ said the Spider to the Fly.” Christians must be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16) because we are sent as sheep into a world of wolves. So there we have a whole menagerie of metaphors, all making the same point about naiveté. 

   The best diplomacy secures amity, but at its worst it lets loose ministers who are innocent as serpents and wise as doves. Charles de Gaulle, who was not subtle, said, “Diplomats are useful only in fair weather. As soon as it rains, they drown in every drop.” Without succumbing to cynicism, it is possible to see a mixture of calculation and callowness in the provisional agreement between the Holy See and Communist China, recognizing the primacy of the Pope, but at the price of an unclear arrangement giving the government a role in the appointment of bishops. 

   Ever since Constantine, and certainly since Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne in 800, ecclesiastical and civil threads have been intertwined. The mediaeval Investiture Controversies were background for the sixteenth-century appointment privileges granted to the French crown and the Concordat between Pius VII with Napoleon. In the year that Mary Howitt wrote about the Spider, nearly five of every six bishops in Europe were appointed by the heads of state. Right into modern times, Spain and Portugal invoked the PatronatoReal and the Padroado, but these involved governments that were at least nominally Catholic. The 1933 Reichskonkordat with the Nazi government was not the proudest achievement of the Church. The Vatican’s accommodationist “Ostpolitik” in the 1960s, made Cardinal Mindszenty a living martyr.  The Second Vatican Council sought, largely successfully, to reserve the appointment of bishops to the Sovereign Pontiff (Christus Dominus, n. 20).

   It was my privilege to know Cardinal Ignatius Kung Pin-Mei of Shanghai, who endured thirty years in prison, and Archbishop Dominic Tang Yee-Ming of Canton who was imprisoned for twenty-two years, seven of them in solitary confinement. The eighty-seven-year-old Cardinal Archbishop of Hong Kong, Joseph Zen, sees a betrayal of those who have suffered so much for Christ. Time will tell if the present diplomacy is wise. An architect of this agreement, Cardinal Parolin, said: “The Church in China does not want to replace the state, but wants to make a positive and serene contribution for the good of all.” His words are drowned out by the sound of bulldozers knocking down churches while countless Christians languish in “re-education camps.”

   A fourteenth-century maxim warned: “He who sups with the devil should have a long spoon.” For spoon we might now say chopsticks. When it comes to cutting deals with governments, it is sobering to recall that of the Twelve Apostles only one was a diplomat, and he hanged himself.

2018-09-30 - Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels

09/30/2018 - 1:44pm

30 September 2018

Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels

Patronal Feast of the Parish

(transferred from 29 September 2018)

John 1:47-51+ Homily

16 Minutes 32 Seconds

Link to the Readings:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/092918.cfm

(from the parish bulletin)

   Abraham Lincoln won the election of 1860 with only 39.8 percent of the popular vote and was so loathed that he had to take a night train secretly into Washington for his inauguration. The Salem Advocate in his own state of Illinois editorialized: “…he is no more capable of becoming a statesman, nay, even a moderate one, than the braying ass can become a noble lion. People now marvel how it came to pass that Mr. Lincoln should have been selected as the representative man of any party. His weak, wishy-washy, namby-pamby efforts, imbecile in matter, disgusting in manner, have made us the laughing stock of the whole world.” Two years later, the author Richard Henry Dana reported: "As to the politics of Washington, the most striking thing is the absence of personal loyalty to the President. It does not exist. He has no admirers, no enthusiastic supporters, none to bet on his head.”

   Against the rising tide of hate, Lincoln maintained his balance with quiet humor. And humor as the perception of imbalance is a strong defense against irrational people whose defining characteristic is a humorless lack of proportion. There is much hatred in our culture today, which has abandoned self-deprecation and has replaced humor with caustic vulgarity. It is not melodramatic to say that when people abandon Christ, they embrace the Anti-Christ who laughs not with us, but at us.

   The viciousness of current politics, perhaps even worse than Lincoln knew in his time, is a dance of despair that logically results from rejecting the logic of Christ who is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” When people lose hope in eternal verities, they resort to slander instead of discourse, desperately shouting mockeries from Senate balconies and university platforms. The enemy becomes not the unjust, but the just: “The godless say to themselves: ‘Let us lie in wait for the virtuous man, since he annoys us and opposed our way of life…’” (Wisdom 2:12).

   As human nature does not change, it is not surprising that Saint James accurately took the moral temperature of our generation back in his own: “Where do these wars and battles between yourselves first start? Isn’t it precisely in the desires fighting inside your own selves? You want something, and you haven’t got it; so you are prepared to kill. You have an ambition that you cannot satisfy; so you fight to get your way by force” (James 4:1-2).

   When people shout in hate and demonize their opponents, it is because hateful demons are at work. Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost realized that he could not match God’s creation of beautiful man and woman in his image, so he must deface that image by the seductive charm of evil in disguise: “So farewell hope, and with hope, farewell fear, / Farewell remorse! All good to me is lost; / Evil, be thou my good.”

 

2018-09-23 - Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

09/23/2018 - 1:49pm

23 September 2018

Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 9:30-37 + Homily

15 Minutes 56 Seconds

Link to the Readings:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/092318.cfm

(From the parish bulletin)

   The selection of Saint Michael as our parish’s patron in 1857 certainly was inspired. Who could be a better champion in “Hell’s Kitchen” than that heavenly soldier wielding the sword, as the great statue in our church shows him? As angels are pure spirit and sublime intelligence, it is tempting for mortals of flesh and limited intelligence to pretend that they are fictions, but many times in meeting strangers we may “entertain angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2).

   Michael, whose name means “no one is like God,” leads a combat that is even more violent for being spiritual and not merely political. Spiritual combat is virulent now, when virtually every social institution is confused and angry, and harshly so in the Church, which is more than a human invention and is in fact the “Body of Christ”—that is, his living presence on earth. Our Lord predicted “… that the Son of Man was destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes” (Mark 8:31).

   In 1776 Thomas Paine wrote contemptuously of “the summer soldier and sunshine patriot” who flees when the going gets rough. Such are those who claim to have been baptized as Soldiers of Christ but who flee from spiritual combat when they are scandalized by news of sin. There is a parallel here with what a recent book, The Coddling of the American Mind, describes as a young generation living in a cultural bubble protected from psychological discomfort. They are so cushioned from the hard facts of life that they flee into “safe spaces” when traumatized by reality.

   Saint Augustine said, “In addition to the fact that I am a Christian and must give God an account of my life, I as a leader must give him an account of my stewardship as well.” Church leaders who have been chortling glad-handers cannot give a good account because they have been summer solders and sunshine patriots. When the clouds gather, and battle lines are drawn, they are unable to confront what Belloc called Satan’s “comic inversion of our old certitudes.”

   It has actually been suggested that Satan is exposing the sins of men in order to discourage the faithful. But the Prince of Lies exposes nothing. He has long been the cover-up artist. The Holy Spirit does the revealing: “For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad” (Luke 8:17). 

   “Saint Michael the Archangel, protect me against the ruses and temptations of Satan. I consecrate to you all the faculties of my soul, my soul itself and all its potentials. Guard well the weaknesses of my poor nature, that the many battles that I may undergo will become as many victories and the eternal glory of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”

2018-09-20 - St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon

09/23/2018 - 1:41pm

20 September 2018

Memorial of Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gon, Priest, and Paul Chong Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs

Luke 9:23-26 + Homily

20 Minutes 10 Seconds

2018-09-16 - Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

09/16/2018 - 1:47pm

16 September 2018

Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 8:27-36 + Homily

16 Minutes 17 Seconds

Today's Readings:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/091618.cfm

(from the parish bulletin)

On the ninth of October in 1845, Blessed John Henry Newman was received into the Catholic Church by the Passionist priest Blessed Dominica Barberi. On the 150th Anniversary of that meeting of saints, to the very hour, I had the privilege of offering Mass in the little room where it took place.       Newman’s decision was hard, as he had devoted his life to many souls whom he would have to leave. On September 25, 1843, he preached his sermon of farewell—“The Parting of Friends"—in the church he had built. This means that next week will be its 175th anniversary. His sermon ended with lines that belong to literature as well as to piety:   And, O my brethren, O kind and affectionate hearts, O loving friends, should you know any one whose lot it has been, by writing or by word of mouth, in some degree to help you thus to act; if he has ever told you what you knew about yourselves, or what you did not know; has read to you your wants or feelings, and comforted you by the very reading; has made you feel that there was a higher life than this daily one, and a brighter world than that you see; or encouraged you, or sobered you, or opened a way to the inquiring, or soothed the perplexed; if what he has said or done has ever made you take interest in him and feel well inclined towards him; remember such a one in time to come, though you hear him not, and pray for him, that in all things he may know God's will, and at all times he may be ready to fulfil it.        Some years before, Newman had traveled to Italy where he entered unfamiliar churches: “I neither understood nor tried to understand the Mass service—and I did not know, or did not observe, the tabernacle Lamp—but now after tasting of the awful delight of worshipping God in His Temple, how unspeakably cold is the idea of a Temple without that Divine Presence! One is tempted to say what is the meaning, what is the use of it?”    Newman would later realize the effect of the Blessed Sacrament reserved for adoration, and what he said could describe our situation on 34th Street: “It is really most wonderful to see this Divine Presence looking out almost into the open streets from the various Churches . . . I never knew what worship was, as an objective fact, till I entered the Catholic Church.”    Ours is a restless city, and no more serene these days is this earthly part of the Holy Catholic Church. Visitors stop by hourly to look at our building, and whether known or not, the axle on which our world turns, often shakily, is that Presence with the candle burning by it.

 

2018-09-09 - Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

09/09/2018 - 3:04pm

9 September 2018

Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 7:31-37 + Homily

17 Minutes 21 Seconds

(from the parish bulletin)

   A rare gift is to be the pastor of a parish, and one  of its greatest benefactions is a fatherly part in the lives of so many people.  One thinks of the film “Good bye Mr. Chips” when the venerable schoolmaster sees in his memory’s eye all the lads he had taught over generations.  That is why at each Mass there is a timeless family reunion, when all the departed of the parish are invoked at the altar.  I do not envy prelates and other officials who, albeit obedient to their vocation, have not had long experience as a pastor. 

   This struck me recently when I received a newly published four volume set of a collection of my pastoral letters going back many years, and elegantly bound in leather: “A Year with Father Rutler.”  Perhaps the bindings are superior to the content.  This was not my initiative, and  I had  little to with it.  Much of what is worthy in the pages is the work of the editor, Duncan Maxwell Anderson.  His family is a model of the blessings of a pastor, for I received Duncan into the Church, married him to his super wife, baptized all four daughter and son who serves often here as an altar boy, married the oldest daughter and recently baptized her first baby. So the generations move on, and these end of summer days I think lines from the “September Song” which was first performed on Broadway in 1938 with music by Kurt Weill:  "For it's a long, long time,/From May to December,/And the winds grow cold,/When they reach September,"   Even surpassing the beautiful wistful music are those lyrics by Maxwell Anderson, the distinguished playwright, novelist, and songwriter.  Our good parishioner  Duncan is named for his grandfather who wrote those words.

   Moving from May into September, it may be said without understatement that this has not been an uneventful summer.   What we may make of events in the Church as they unfold remains to be seen, but for the faithful, the consideration of corruption and dishonesty in its many forms, can only move one to thankfulness that the Lord who cleansed the Temple of thieves is now at work exposing and wiping away what has sullied the holiness of the Church for which our Lord died to give us.  Like resetting a broken limb, the process is not gentle but the result will be of inestimable good.  As no on is born without an assignment vouchsafed to God alone, it is a special honor to be chosen by our Creator to live in days of salvation history which by their critical nature require that those alive now be nothing less than what Saint Paul described: “… servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Here, furthermore, it is sought in stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:1-2).

2018-09-02 - Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

09/02/2018 - 1:58pm

2 September 2018

Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 + Homily

17 Minutes 57 Seconds

(from the parish bulletin)

As is our custom, the Pastor's Column does not appear in the weeks of August, and will be resumed after Labor Day. Fr. Rutler wishes to thank you for all your interest and support.

For summer reading,  Father Rutler's latest book, "Calm in Chaos," is now available through the publisher, Ignatius Press, and can also be ordered on Amazon

2018-08-26 - Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

08/26/2018 - 2:46pm

26 August 2018

Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 6:60-69 + Homily

19 Minutes 35 Seconds

(from the parish bulletin)

As is our custom, the Pastor's Column does not appear in the weeks of August, and will be resumed after Labor Day. Fr. Rutler wishes to thank you for all your interest and support.

For summer reading,  Father Rutler's latest book, "Calm in Chaos," is now available through the publisher, Ignatius Press, and can also be ordered on Amazon

2018-08-23 - St. Rose of Lima

08/25/2018 - 9:32am

23 August 2018

St. Rose of Lima

Matthew 13:44-46 + Homily

19 Minutes 29 Seconds

 

2018-08-19 - Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

08/19/2018 - 1:44pm

19 August 2018

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 6:51-58 + Homily

15 Minutes 44 Seconds

(from the parish bulletin)

As is our custom, the Pastor's Column does not appear in the weeks of August, and will be resumed after Labor Day. Fr. Rutler wishes to thank you for all your interest and support.

For summer reading,  Father Rutler's latest book, "Calm in Chaos," is now available through the publisher, Ignatius Press, and can also be ordered on Amazon

 

2018-08-12 - Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

08/12/2018 - 1:23pm

12 August 2018

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 6:41-51 + Homily

18 Minutes 48 Seconds

(from the parish bulletin)

As is our custom, the Pastor's Column does not appear in the weeks of August, and will be resumed after Labor Day. Fr. Rutler wishes to thank you for all your interest and support.

For summer reading,  Father Rutler's latest book, "Calm in Chaos," is now available through the publisher, Ignatius Press, and can also be ordered on Amazon

2018-08-05 - Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

08/05/2018 - 1:22pm

5 August 2018

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 6:24-35 + Homily

19 Minutes 42 Seconds

(from the parish bulletin)

As is our custom, the Pastor's Column does not appear in the weeks of August, and will be resumed after Labor Day. Fr. Rutler wishes to thank you for all your interest and support. For summer reading,  Father Rutler's latest book, "Calm in Chaos," is now available through the publisher, Ignatius Press, and can also be ordered on Amazon

 

2018-07-29 - Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

07/29/2018 - 1:40pm

29 July 2018

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 6:1-15 + Homily

17 Minutes 1 Second

(from the parish bulletin)

  While our weekly parish bulletin continues through the season, it is our custom to suspend my weekly column through the month of August until Labor Day. I do not take a vacation (for reasons I explained half a dozen years ago in an essay called “Vacation Trials and Tribulations,” available on the Crisis Magazine website.)    Summer is supposed to be a time of repose, and that has bid me reflect on how our Lord himself “rested” on the Sabbath. That image intensifies the fact, corroborated in the totally separate sphere of physics, that he brought all things into existence from a “void,” the word for which we draw from Greek as “chaos.” God is not a God of chaos but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). The saints, in the most tumultuous times, have an inner serenity reflecting this.    Our nation now boasts unprecedented material prosperity and thankworthy low unemployment, but these benefits can only be enjoyed if man’s true joy is found in God. Despite the many favorable indexes of our current material order, there seem to be unprecedented explosions of chaotic hatred and bitterness in daily discourse. These are polemical evidences of separation from the consolations of holiness. Atheists are the bitterest of people, and those who cloak their distance from God under the euphemisms of secular progress become most violent when the philosophical bubble in which they have been comfortable, is punctured by reality.    Because the human life is meant for happiness, people will strive for peace of soul, unless they decide to make a bargain with Satan: “Evil, be thou my good.” For instance, the chaos unleashed by atheistic Communism in Russia was truly diabolic, and not merely a malfunction of socio-economic policy. It is recorded that Stalin, one of the world’s worst mass murders, died with a frightening look in his eyes, as he pointed an evil finger at those around his deathbed. And yet, his cooperator in evil, Georgy Malenkov, who succeeded him as Premier of the Soviet Union, escaped purges and died in 1988, a convert in the calm embrace of Russian Orthodoxy, singing in a choir at the Divine Liturgy.    Stalin’s daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva, understandably perplexed throughout life, became a Roman Catholic in 1982 on the Feast of Saint Lucy the Martyr, and after years in exile as a daily communicant, she died in Wisconsin in 2011. This is the peace “not as the world gives” (John 14:27), but as only Christ can convey it, and every Christian is commissioned by baptism to show it to others.    I suppose this is prelude to mentioning that Ignatius Press has just published a collection of my essays entitled “Calm in Chaos.” I cannot claim that they will calm unsettled minds, perhaps the opposite, but they might offer some repose in these warm weeks, occasioning thanks that our God is not a God of chaos.

2018-07-25 - Feast of St. James

07/29/2018 - 1:29pm

25 July 2018

Feast of St. James

Matthew 20:20-28 + Homily

21 Minutes 30 Seconds