As Christ enters the city


Today Jesus enters Manhattan as once He entered Jerusalem.

This Lent has seen in play the adage – almost a law – that the amount of time required to complete a task is equal to the amount of time available. Last year, Easter was almost as early as it can ever be, and all was accomplished on time; this year Easter is almost as late as it can ever be, and there still is a bit of a rush to get ready. But every year the Lord is in charge, while He entrusts His creation to human creatures as His cooperators in making the world anew. By the Incarnation, Christ, who is the "Word made Flesh," led mankind, as true man, to divine glory, as true God. "God did not appoint angels to be rulers of the world to come, and that world is what we are talking about. . . . As it was His purpose to bring a great many of His sons into glory, it was appropriate that God, for whom everything exists and through whom everything exists, should make perfect, through suffering, the leader who would take them to their salvation" (Hebrews 2:5, 10).

When the Saviour announced that He would go to Jerusalem to "awaken" His friend Lazarus, Thomas volunteered himself and his fellow apostles to accompany Jesus on what they thought was a suicide mission: "Let us also go, that we may die with Him" (John 11:16). When Jesus came to the outskirts of Bethany, He was met by St. Martha, who on an earlier occasion had kept to herself in the kitchen: "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died" (John 11:21). In each instance is seen the transforming power of Christ's love, a potency over human hearts that would come into full play in the Passion.

Today Jesus enters Manhattan as once He entered Jerusalem, and the characters in the city are the same, for cities may change but human nature does not. Whether He enters by the Royal Gates or the Brooklyn Bridge, the avenues have their cheering crowds, sullen bystanders, cynics, traitors and worshipers. The mass media may try to make sense of it, or ignore it, but the procession goes on, with its innocent children, anxious apostles and curious onlookers: "If these were silent, the very stones would cry out" (Luke 19:40). There, too, with an air of condescension and irritation are the governors and judges and savants who resent this intrusion into their establishment. As Christ enters the city, He judges every personality, and this He does simply by a glance of His eye and the look on His face: His merciful presence is more wonderfully salvific and frightfully damning than any word.

Rise up, Lord, let men not be complacent:

let the nations come before you to be judged.

Put fear into them, Lord:

let them know that they are only men. (Psalm 9:19-20)




Father George William Rutler. "As Christ enters the city." From the Pastor (April 17, 2011).

Reprinted with permission of Father George W. Rutler.


Father Rutler received priestly ordination in 1981. Born in 1945 and reared in the Episcopal tradition, Father Rutler was an Episcopal priest for nine years. He was received into the Catholic Church in 1979 and was sent to the North American College in Rome for seminary studies. Father Rutler graduated from Dartmouth, where he was a Rufus Choate Scholar, and took advanced degrees at the Johns Hopkins University and the General Theological Seminary. He holds several degrees from the Gregorian and Angelicum Universities in Rome, including the Pontifical Doctorate in Sacred Theology, and studied at the Institut Catholique in Paris. In England, in 1988, the University of Oxford awarded him the degree Master of Studies. From 1987 to 1989 he was regular preacher to the students, faculty, and townspeople of Oxford. Cardinal Egan appointed him Pastor of the Church of Our Saviour, effective September 17, 2001.

Since 1988 his weekly television program has been broadcast worldwide on EWTN. Father Rutler has published 17 books, including: Cloud of Witnesses - Dead People I Knew When They Were Alive, Coincidentally: Unserious Reflections on Trivial Connections, A Crisis of Saints: Essays on People and Principles, Brightest and Best, Saint John Vianney: The Cure D'Ars Today, Crisis in Culture, and Adam Danced: The Cross and the Seven Deadly Sins.

Copyright © 2011 Father George W. Rutler

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