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Hints of Heaven

Popular priest and author explores the parables of Christ

Parables are condensed stories used to instruct and illustrate universal truths. The timeless ones take complex, abstract arguments and express their essence through concrete, simple narratives. They place their listeners and readers beside main characters to confront dilemmas that demand decisions. Suggesting how we should behave, they challenge us to consider our decision-making process, from its origins to its consequences.

Jesus was an expert in the use of parables, and a new book shows how that teaching method can enrich our lives today. In Hints of Heaven, Father George Rutler highlights all 24 parables of Christ found in Scripture. In chapters that average about six pages each, he shows them as anything but simple stories; they are rich with realities and practical advice, worth more than a message of mere moralism. As Father Rutler reveals with the nimble analysis and dry wit that many have come to appreciate in his other books and EWTN programs, the parables give readers glimpses of the splendor of heaven as they also guide us through the mysteries and trials of our age.

Pastor of the Church of St. Michael parish in New York City, Father Rutler recently answered some questions from associate editor Jason Godin about his latest book.

Fathers for Good: What makes parables endure as such effective tools for teaching religious truths?

Father George Rutler: The parables endure for the all-important fact that they come from the lips of the Son of God, who knows what heaven is like and in each of the parables outlines ways for us to live the heavenly life. Given their source and their content, there are no stories ever written that are remotely like them. They are eternal because their author is eternal.

FFG: Which parable strikes you as the one that today’s families seeking to live their baptismal vows need to hear most?

Father Rutler: For husbands and wives and families, a prime parable would be the the Wedding Feast Given for the King’s Son (cf. Matthew 22:1-14). It united the marriage sacrament with the relationship between the Church as bride and Christ as bridegroom.

FFG: What parable do you think would prove most fruitful for men to reflect upon as they seek to serve their families as better husbands and fathers?

Father Rutler: For fathers, one applicable parable is the Ten Talents (cf. Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-27). Each father is different and has different gifts to bring to the family, but all fathers are accountable to the Lord, who is the Creator, for how they use their respective talents as procreators.

Visit Sophia Institute Press to find out more about Hints of Heaven. You may also wish to view “The Parables of Christ,” a new EWTN series with Father Rutler reflecting on the parables found in the book.