Heart Wisdom

07-26-2020Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian

Back in “the olden days” when I was young, we did not have to know what our vocation and profession would be. We were encouraged, instead, to pursue knowledge and education so that we would become whole and good people who understood the meaning and purpose of life. Our work, whatever it would be, would come along as time shed light on our steps. If we asked the larger questions of our life and tried to pursue the meaning of our existence as given by God, we would be where we were supposed to be. Helicopter or drone parents were not necessary for us; instead, parents who led lives that were examples of being a Catholic and an adult were the only requirements. I suspect if we were given the one question that Solomon had in our first reading of “what did he want,” I suspect we would have asked for the same gift, that of wisdom.

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Patience

07-19-2020Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian

In our first reading this weekend we learn that God is truly supreme in all ways. This passage from the Book of Wisdom tells us that God is all-knowing, just, and powerful. Indeed we may not realize it, but even our hearts, thoughts, and actions are clear to God, in fact even before we know them. In contrast to his awesome and incomprehensible power, we learn that God is patient. The words of Wisdom illustrate for us how God tempers justice with mercy and also how God’s actions teach us to be patient, fair, and hopeful.

We find in our second reading that Saint Paul encouraged the Romans to have patience in dealing with the trials of this life. The “worrying” is not worth the effort when we think about the glory God has in store for us. Paul tells us that we are saved in the hope of what is unseen and also that we need to be patient to receive God’s promise of heaven. Bear in mind that even when we lack patience, the Spirit helps us and gives us the heart to hope, wait, and pray.

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Tend the Word of God with Care

07-10-2020Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian Manning

Our first reading from the Book of Isaiah is a very beautiful reading as our summer now unfolds and all the wonderful plants and flowers around us grow in the sun-light and are watered by the occasional rain that falls. Our first reading tells us that it is God who makes the rain to fall on the earth so all things may grow. The symbolism is that God “waters” us with his sacred love and thus we grow in living a life of meaning and purpose. Ultimately there is a harvest time when all plants mature. The fruit of all this growing is that there is a spark of the divine in each one of us and it is clearly God’s everlasting love.

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Love One Another

07-05-2020Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

This weekend includes our civic holiday July 4th, which is a celebration of our Independence Day. Although the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor came much later, this magnificent statue has inscribed on it these words “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free … Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me …” We must wonder: Did these words find inspiration in the Gospel of this weekend? It appears that this quote echoes the words of Jesus. The similar words welcome the humble.

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Welcome Christ in Others

06-28-2020Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian

Way back “in the olden days” when I was young and in elementary school, we always went from the city to my grandmother’s cottage in sunny seaside Scituate for a good part of the summer. Our first cousins and also my brothers and sisters in various configurations of age groups would be there for most of the summer. All the time we were there, lots of relatives and friends would also come to visit for the day and sometimes for the weekends. Even though at times it was very crowded and quite noisy, it was never too crowded or too noisy because loved ones were all there.

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Fear No One

06-21-2020Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

In our first reading, we learn that the prophet Jeremiah was not easily intimidated. We also learn that his prophetic vocation was as difficult to accept as it was unambiguous in meaning: A quote found early in the first chapter describes it quite accurately: “To root up and to tear down, to destroy and to demolish, to build and to plant”. Jeremiah was a prophet to the Jewish people just before the Great Babylonian Exile. This prophet loudly told them that its apostasy and infi-delity would bring it all the way down, as indeed it did. His dire and forbidding warnings, though they came to be true, were no way to win acceptance and affirmation by everyone, from the highest and grand level of the king to the lowest and poorest citizen of Judah.

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Living Bread

06-14-2020Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Most of us are fascinated by the beauty of the classic Latin hymn “Panis Angelicus”. Although there are many Latin hymns in our tradition, only a few are really “great”. This hymn “the Bread of Angels” is certainly one. Folks of all ages are drawn to it because of its interior melodic beauty. What is most interesting is that this “bread of angels” is really the holy bread for humans. It is Jesus who gives us his Body under the appearance of bread, not the angels.

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A Community of Love

06-05-2020Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian

It has often been said that no one can know someone else 100% and that there is always a little mystery in every person, no matter. This usually makes for a more interesting relationship and life. When we realize that we always have more to discover in ourselves or other people, it makes sense that there is always more mystery to be discovered in God. Certainly, the sacred mystery of the Holy Trinity, which is one God in three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, always has some more to be discovered and understood. The depth and beauty of our God is a reality that is an unfolding mystery, which we will never cease contemplating and celebrating.

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Courage, Kindness, Understanding

05-29-2020Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, a very important Feast Day in our Church Faith and Tradition. The gospel account of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles is a great symbol of how the Holy Spirit will open wide the horizons of our minds and hearts. The power of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is unequaled in power in everyone's life.

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A Daily Life of Service and Sacrifice

05-22-2020Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

We need to remember that when we read from the Gospel of John, such as this weekend, we are reading a scripture passage which is written after a long time of reflection and living experience. John wrote his Gospel sometime between 90 A.D. and 100 A.D. In art John is symbolized as an eagle, mainly because he soars so high in his thoughts, expressions, and meaning. His Gospel begins with the eloquent words: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God …". We recognize that these starting words of John actually match up in theme and expression to the very first words of the Bible in the Book of Genesis. We discover in John that this special "Word" who was in the beginning with God, now begins his journey home to God. The journey of Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem is the journey of the Word made flesh returning home by his Death and Resurrection.

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Kindness, Patience, and Goodness

05-15-2020Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

The Gospel writer John in today's selected passage tells us that Jesus promises the Spirit. This promise is made during the very long talk that John has Jesus give at the Last Supper. The believers of then would have realized that John had assembled a whole series of quotes of Jesus and had made them prominent by placing them all together at the Last Supper. By John doing this, he is telling us to pay strict and close attention to all these words and quotes. He realizes that the various meanings of these words take power after the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. Indeed, John is the only Gospel writer who tells us the very important teachings and sayings which Jesus gave at the Last Supper. We know that the Apostles had heard these words, but that they needed a great deal of time to ponder and come to understand them. Do not forget that John says at the end of his Gospel that he has only written down so much of what Jesus said as there would not be enough books available for him to write into record all that Jesus said.

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Jesus, Our Foundation

05-15-2020Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

When I drive down Union Street to where it meets King Street, when I am stopped at the lights, I can see a big construction site just beyond the lights. In a sense I look forward to checking up on it each time I come to the lights. I get to see the progress of it all. I note how it has taken many steps and many different construction trades to build it. Of course, it starts with the General Contractor who has to put it all together. He/They are the ones who have to get the site surveyed correctly, the hole dug for the foundation, and then the forms built and poured for it all. Framers, insulators, plumbers, electricians, insulators, and all sorts of tradespeople and craftspeople have to work on this project. Lots and lots of building supplies are needed. Whether it is a big building or a house, each requires a lot of tradespeople and craftspeople and also supplies and materials. Are you aware that today's readings actually show us a similar construction plan for the church?

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The Good Shepherd

05-01-2020Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

During these weeks that all of us are trying to cooperate as closely as possible with the Directives of “stay at home” and “social distancing”, our daily life can get a little too close and people can get a little too sensitive. Usually behavior that can be let go can sometimes, can become a major irritant. The friction of being together so much and not having our regular life can cause all sorts of problems. We can forget about the larger common good and go back to the regular narcissistic orientated culture that we had lived in and functioned in each day “What is best for me is really best for everyone.”

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