Forgive

09-13-2020Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian

Our first reading this weekend is a fitting foundation for the Gospel of this Sunday. This passage from the Book of Sirach is a strong platform on which an understanding of our Gospel selection can be built. Sirach was a sacred book that was composed roughly 200 years before the time of Jesus. It was the son of Sirach who wrote this book in an attempt to help the Jews of then live in peace and harmony in the world of their day. He had much to tell them. He told them to let go of anger, as many of them held on tightly to this negative emotion. To them, anger seemed valuable, even when it was not. More importantly, he tells them our sins will be forgiven if we forgive others and, as importantly, we must show mercy in order to receive it.

In our Gospel passage, the Lord Jesus shows this great wisdom of Sirach when his follower Peter asks how often we need to forgive someone who has hurt us. In the story told by Jesus, we learn the king forgave the enormous debt of his servant, but the servant demanded payment and punishment when a fellow slave could not pay what he owed. Clearly we are to be like the king.

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Start of Religious Education

09-11-2020Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary’s,

We all stepped along this week to the post Labor Day start-up of our lives. In New England life now takes on a rhythm and vibrancy which was missing in the summer. Education restarts, although this year in a radically different way; sports restart, again in a radically different way; special enrichment programs for our youth start again, some this year in a radically different way and Religious Education starts again in a radically different way.

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Humility, understanding, and compassion

09-06-2020Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian

Nostalgia exists for everyone shortly after we start to create and reflect upon our memories. We all remember “the good old days” when we were young(er) and things were different. We remember them as better or as worse than they were. Memory is an emotional intellectual activity when we think about our past. Memorizing the time's table or historical information or data” is different. All generations and cohorts of ages of people think about their past with the same sense of subjective nostalgia. This nostalgic memory influences how and what we think in the presence of ourselves and what we think of others.

The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel and the Gospel writer Matthew tell us that we are obligated to speak up when we see something or someone doing or going wrong. Ezekiel is quite bold and tells that if we fail to correct the person, that person’s fate is considerably our fault. I would say that is a rather great responsibility for most of us. I suspect this is an exaggeration because we cannot control someone else’s free will decision. As we know, many people will never listen and to try to speak to them does far more harm than good. Matthew says the same thing. We are to go directly to the person if something is not right. And he says if that does not work, there is still more to be done according to Matthew’s passage.

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Labor Day

09-04-2020Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

Labor Day has arrived. The summer has run its course and now we step forward to begin a new Fall Season which has all sorts of challenging and demands for us. I wish to share with you one memory of Labor which I had in my childhood. On September 5, 1954, I won First Place in the footrace for 5-year-olds in the Sand Hills Scituate MA Annual Labor Day Festivities. (sort of the seaside Olympics!) The One Dollar prize is framed along with the sketch of a little dog and is with me to this day. My memory of the “Great Race” is that my father told me when the whistle blows, I was to start running straight and keep running until you are told to stop. I ran my little legs along the route and was shocked to find out that I actually won. I must say that I have not won any races since then, but it does not matter.

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