Live His Way of Life

09-19-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

We often talk about "success" in our country. If you listen to some talking heads on the continuous news channels, it appears that success is usually tied up with wealth and money. In fact, on these programs only the rich are quoted or cited most often. This week's scriptures, in particular the Gospel are about what Jesus believed "success" to be.

Our first reading, which is from the Book of Wisdom, focuses our minds on the idea of the trials that "just one" must endure. The people in this story deeply resent this person who dares point out their mistakes. They ask out loud if the "just one" could stand for God and against threats of condemnation and death. Many people through the centuries have interpreted this passage as a prediction of the Passion of Our Lord, which Jesus himself tells us about in the Gospel of today. This is the second time that Jesus has predicted His Passion.

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Care For Our Brothers and Sisters

09-12-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

This weekend at our Masses, the theme of each of the three readings is all about good discipleship. Our first reading, a passage from the Prophet Isaiah addresses the theme of the "Suffering Servant". We know to interpret the servant as Israel because the pain caused in the servant is a direct result of his faith. He is insulted because of his faith but note that he never wavers or steps back. His life was just because he set his face against these bad people with a face "like flint."

In our second reading the writer James continues the theme of discipleship. He writes that it is not enough to state our beliefs and faith, we must do more. Good intentions and talking are never enough. If people find their neighbors hungry and without enough clothing, it is not enough to wish them well, but we need to act on our wishes for them. Saint James always wants us to pray, but sometimes he knows that prayers alone are not enough. We must act on our own prayers or else God's work will not be done.

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By our Baptism Call

09-05-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

In this week's Old Testament passage, the prophet Isaiah announces that the present mood of melancholy in Israel will turn to its opposite. He uses images to make this absolutely clear for the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the one who cannot move will win foot races, the one who is without words will be full of words—songs even. The very land itself will come alive: sands will be watered, deserts will flower. This is quite the prophetic statement by Isaiah.

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Sacred Heart of Christ

08-29-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Medieval legends inform us that most knights died from defending truth, beauty and freedom, but historians of later centuries inform us that the knights actually died from the result of their armor. The constricting metal "clothing" caused them to succumb to excessive heat exhaustion and dehydration; they usually died from a heart attack. Are you aware that the rules and customs of life which are supposed to support a good life often times can cause the death of one's heart. This is an issue which Jesus spoke and taught about, the death of life caused by rules that do not give life, but cause death.

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To Whom Shall We Go

08-22-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Whenever we enter a room through a doorway, we go through a place that it is called a "threshold". We cross this threshold when we have entered a new space and have left behind the room and space which we had been in. Many times, we stop at the threshold of a room to see what is before us, to remember what we left behind or to think about if we should even enter the new space. Thresholds hold great meaning, although often times we do not realize it. Thresholds are quite symbolic.

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Mary Magnifies the Greatest of Our God

08-15-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

The Feast of Mary's Assumption into heaven is a feast that celebrates the triumph of Mary into heaven first and then also includes "all who hear the word of God and keep it." Slowly, ever so slowly, the honor paid to Mary by Christians grew through time. In early church documents we learn of Mary's "dormition" meaning the falling asleep or death. In fact, it was the Orthodox Church, the Church of the East, which first celebrated as a formal feast Mary's Dormition, or what we have come in the Church of the West to call 'the Assumption of Mary into heaven." No matter its history or whatever word(s) you use to describe this reality, this feast of Mary is precious and is cherished in our Latin Rite Roman Catholic Tradition.

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Taste and See

08-08-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Today most of us are very conscious to "eat healthy" and not to indulge frequently in food that is not nutritious for us. Many people now shop only for organic certified foods. Some folks have now switched to an entirely plant-based diet. Overall we are blessed in this country with the privilege of having such a great variety of fresh and healthy foodstuffs. There are some among us, even in the Town of Franklin, who do struggle to obtain food. For them, food is a scarcity which both through your generosity, our Saint Vincent de Paul Society and the Franklin Food Pantry help them. Many of us also have memories of being young and having our parents say to us "Taste and see if you like it or just have a little". We often hear how important it is to taste food. This week's readings are about the spiritual food which is good for us.

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Give You Eternal Life

08-01-2021Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

This weekend, we discover in our first reading that life was not easy for the Israelites as they left Egypt to go to the Promised Land. God had rescued them from the swords and whips of the Egyptians and now they had very tough going in the desert. They had adopted a typical human behavior of complaining unceasingly. When they quite bitterly and angrily complained of being hungry to God, he sent them manna, but they resisted that food. They continued to complain. It took Moses to point out to them that the manna was the answer to their prayers to God. They missed the obvious.

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