Sermon on the Mount

01-29-2023Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

This weekend we hear the most famous “sermon” of Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount. This is often quoted as the most inspirational talk that Jesus gave. The Gospel writer Matthew in a sense uses this talk as the first sermon which Jesus offered. In his Gospel Matthew uses an image of Jesus as the Great Moses and thus he has Jesus give a great talk on a mountainside. Moses delivered the Ten Commandments from a mountainside and in Matthew, Jesus delivers His Beatitudes from a mountainside. The following four weeks of readings from the Gospel of Matthew are actually a continuation of the Great Sermon on the Mount. These coming four weeks are in a various sense an explanation of the Great Sermon. Sometimes a speech which is eloquent and brief needs to be explained by many other small speeches.


Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

01-22-2023Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners,
I have made great improvement in recovery. I decided that it was better to offer you a Reflection from a few years past because I am not yet functioning at full capacity. Recovery takes time.

Thanks and God bless, Father Brian.

Pastoral Reflections:

We launch out this Sunday on our Church’s yearlong proclamation and reflection upon on the Gospel according to Matthew is proclaimed to us each Sunday for the thirty-three Sundays in Ordinary Time. This Gospel directly links Jesus to the Old Testament. The narrative of the nativity of Jesus always adds frequently the refrain: “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet …” (Matthew 1:22). Thus in today’s Gospel reading, Matthew tells us that Jesus carries out his mission to fulfill an Old Testament prophecy.


Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

01-15-2023Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners,
Some of us practice medicine without a license or any formal medical education. I am an excellent diagnostician for others, but very poor one for myself. Some of you may be aware that I had a health emergency at the past Sunday’s NOON Mass. I had a near fainting spell. I was taken to the hospital where I was diagnosed with COVID. I thought I was recovering from the Flu. So my apologies to the people who were alarmed, my gratitude to those who expressed concern and said a little pray for me. I am now recovering, but will allow a doctor to diagnose me from now on.
God bless. Fr. Brian

PS: Below is a Reflection from a few years ago on the Baptism of the Lord Sunday.


Feast of the Epiphany

01-08-2023Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Although the story of the Three Kings on this Feast of the Epiphany is that they presented gifts to Jesus, in a special sense the story is really about starting with the Three Kings and then all of us are also receiving a gift this feast day: the appearance of the Infant Jesus among us throughout the world. Recall that Jesus had appeared to a few shepherds in Bethlehem, symbolically the Chosen people and He now appears to the Three Kings, consequently symbolically He appears to all of us throughout all time. There is also a subtle and second lesson for us in the story of the Magi, the Three Kings that we must go after and seek this New-Born King Jesus in our lives.


New Year's Day

01-01-2023Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Since I was a young boy January 1st has had in our Church Tradition many and various Feast Names and Titles, however it appears that the only one which has stayed consistent though time is the secular one: New Year’s Day. I recall when January 1st was the Feast Holy Name of Jesus, the Feast of the Circumcision or the Feast of Mary, Mother of God. Pope Paul suggested that the proper Mass to celebrate on this day was the Mass for Peace. All in all it has been considered a Day of Obligation for Catholics despite the various names. I would suspect that sometime we are in search of a title or name for an event and the obvious is just too obvious for us. Why would we make something clear when it can be obscured? I would suggest that it is a wonderful and great truth to gather on the first day of the new calendar year and ask for God’s protection and grace for our loved ones and ourselves. Expressing dependence and connection with our God on the first day of a new year is a wonderful step in our journey of life. It may help to give focus and definition to our coming year that we invoked God’s blessing for us as we stepped into our new year.


Merry Christmas

12-25-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

To you and all those you hold close in your heart, I wish a Blessed and Merry Christmas and a wonderful and peaceful New Year! - Father Brian

When it is sunny, crisp and clear in New England on Christmas morning, when you leave church which is decorated in rich and green colors with the Manger as a focal point, do you feel like all the ends of the earth had seen the glory of the only Son, coming from the Father, filled with enduring love.  


Advent is over soon, just one week to go to December 25th and Christmas

12-18-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Wow! Advent is over soon, just one week to go to December 25th and Christmas. Our “waiting and watchfulness” will soon end. Perhaps before the final run up to Christmas occurs, we can find a little quiet time, perhaps in our car as we are driving, to think about Christmas and Jesus.


“Gaudete Sunday” which means “Rejoice Sunday” because the wait for Christmas is Almost Over

12-11-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Most people look forward to Christmas, however often there are many different reasons and people do not always share the same motivation or desires. Christmas for most young children is a wondrous and exciting time, high school age and college age young people may look forward to its long school break, families may look forward to the special time that is spent with each other. Lots of reasons; some overlap, some do not. We are now at the Third Sunday of Advent and Christmas and its actual Season is getting closer and closer. Because it is so near, some folks are joyful. By custom, the Catholic Church calls the Third Sunday in Advent “Gaudete Sunday” which means “Rejoice Sunday” because the wait for Christmas is almost over.


2nd Sunday of Advent

12-04-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Are you aware that the future is rooted in the present moment and time? This means what we do now influences and shapes the future. We cannot really tell the future or “predict it”, but we can think rationally and logically about our present actions and how they influence the future. As people of faith, we know that our lives are in the hands of God and also we know that we do not control our lives. To some extent the future is now. Our present acts and attitudes create our future.


We Need to be Mindful of Right Now

11-27-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Did you ever realize how much of our time is spent thinking about what is next or where we will be shortly, such as if you are driving to work you think about what is going on at the office, or when you are at work you think about the drive home. Although we are where we are, we do spend a lot of time thinking about where we will be. We often do not live in the present, but live more in the future. Today is the First Sunday in Advent. Are you thinking about Christmas, or are you thinking that this is the First Sunday of Advent and that now we light one candle in the Advent Wreathe because this is the beginning and the first step to Christmas? Are we willing this Sunday to be a light, yes a single light that breaks up the darkness of life for others and helps light the way to the celebration of the Salvation of our world, the Nativity of Jesus Christ in four weeks?


How and in what ways do we recognize the power of Jesus in our lives.

11-20-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Often times in today’s culture we talk about power: “What is power?”, “Who has power?”, “How is power used?”, “How to accept power or defend against power?”. We know that some power in life comes from physical force, like the power of a physically intimidating person or a hurricane. The brunt of this type of power is to be feared and avoided at all cost. We know that some power derives from inner strength. This power is positive and tends to draw people together. Jesus had this type of positive power. His words and actions were full of positive authority which the world needed.


We must quietly and patiently lean on Him and He will provide

11-13-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

It is often better or easier to simply go along with the flow in life, in fact, often times, many things simply do not matter in the long run. We often take stands or push back over ultimately inconsequential things that in a few days or weeks we will not even remember. However, sometimes we need to stand and act on our values. This weekend’s scripture is a reflection on how Jesus thinks about his disciples and how they will go on--on their own, but in his presence.


This belief is comforting and gives us all hope for ourselves and our loved ones.

11-06-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

I suspect there are more images in our minds and in art of what heaven is than there are people on earth. When we think about heaven most of us project our desires of emotional well-being, beauty or human comfort or perhaps whatever we feel we need that is missing in our lives. Starving people or people who live on the level of bare subsistence, often envisioned heaven as a giant feast with an excess of wonderful food. For those who have felt they are alone and endure the pains of loneliness, they often envision heaven as a great multitude of people altogether as close companions. Some call heaven a “Garden of Paradise”; I suspect most of these folks probably had endured emotionally painful lives, experienced excess drought or lived in a desert like area. There are so many images of heaven, even some which stand in contrast to each other. There are many images of heaven, but the one reality which people who believe in heaven have is that it actually exists beyond the grave, after the death of a person.


10-23-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

For over three weeks the major theme of our Sunday scripture readings has been “faith”. The readings look at faith from various points of view and lenses. These readings allow us to reflect upon faith and its meaning for us in our lives.


We Must, by Our Thanksgiving, Reveal the Goodness of our God

10-16-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

We have made it almost all the way through to “the end” of the COVID Pandemic; it now seems to be taking a quieter course as it continues to infect people with its variants. The vaccines and boosters seem to have lessened the terrible effects of the virus and now people can recover at home and not in the hospital on ventilators. However, we still try to avoid people who are coughing or sneezing. We also tend to keep more distance around ourselves. Many people, still stop to think if they wish to be in a large crowd with strangers. Some folks who have been faithful and good Catholics are still not “back in church” because of the confined spaces issue. I understand their decision and respect it. I know some folks who will not be using public transport, especially airplanes or trains.