How Do We "Love One Another?"

10-29-2017Pastoral ReflectionsFather Brian Manning

At Christmas time our parish participates in "the Giving Tree" which is a beautiful and wonderful way to remember others in need. What makes this such a wonderful charitable activity for all of us is the reality that no matter your financial means, you can choose an ornament that allows you to help. Sometimes in life we only see others who are better off than ourselves and judge that they should be the people to help. Our "Giving Tree" allows all of us to recognize that God has gifted each one of us and that we need to respond in charity to helping someone else. In recognizing that we all are called to help others, we can recognize that others feel pain and empathize with them despite our circumstances. Being empathetic allows us to understand about people who feel alienated or sorrowful or just "not like us."


God's Greatness

10-22-2017Pastoral ReflectionsFather Brian Manning

Life is not always so clear that I always know what to say. Sometimes trying to figure out how to answer someone is quite frustrating. Sometimes when I am walking along, a person "ambushes" me with a question. My immediate response in my head is to say "I do not answer questions when I am standing. I can only answer when I am sitting down." I want to say this because I know the situation requires a correct response and I need some time to get it out of my brain to my mouth. Sad to say most of the time, I come up with the correct and sensitively spoken answer later that day or the next. I later reflect and say "I should have said this, or that." Have you noticed in the Gospels how Jesus is quite quick on his feet and able to answer right away? Even those people who were trying to manipulate and trick Jesus, Jesus answered with the correct response. He did not give snide or demeaning answers. He answered them, treating them with dignity and respect.


Our Invitation to the Banquet

10-15-2017Pastoral ReflectionsFather Brian Manning

In our schools across the country, the classrooms tend to have over 20 or 25 students, often as many as 35. As a result of these larger census issues, parents are unable to invite an entire classroom to their child's birthday party. Some decisions and choices have to be made by the parents. Some of the youngsters will receive invitations while others will not. Most parents prudently caution their children not to discuss the plans at school or around those not invited in order to avoid hurt feelings. Word gets out anyway. What do the uninvited do? Sometimes they sulk, sabotage, cry, or complain. Once in a while they get creative and all the uninvited head to one of their backyards and have a great time of it themselves. Even when we're feeling left out, God always invites us. There's always a "backyard" to go to with God.


The Grapes of Our Vines

10-08-2017Pastoral ReflectionsFather Brian Manning

In our first reading, we learn that the prophet Isaiah has composed a song about his good friend, the vineyard keeper. We are not told this right away in the passage, but we learn the vineyard keeper is actually God. The thoughtful and hardworking keeper first decided on which land to plant, then the land was cleared of stones. After doing all this, he planted the vines and constructed a special vat and watchtower. As farming plans can go, the crop had every chance to become perfect, but it didn't. Surprisingly wild grapes grew instead, and the keeper became irritated and quite upset. His only recourse was to let the vineyard go and become whatever it would. Certainly there is a lot of symbolism in this story for God and our lives.


Free Will

10-01-2017Pastoral ReflectionsFather Brian Manning

Many of us live or work with people who seem to live in the past. Whenever they are with you, they seem to be frozen in time. They are waiting for some past time that was "bigger, brighter or shinier" than the present. They often fail to recognize that this nostalgic past that they wait again for was not perfect, that in fact it had its flaws, mistakes and wrongdoings in it. Indeed living in the past even spiritually is dangerous to one's health of mind, body and soul. All the readings today encourage us to change from the harmful ways of the past and live in good emotional and spiritual health during the present.


God's Generosity

09-24-2017Pastoral ReflectionsFather Brian Manning

Often the complaint of younger people is "it is not fair." Pre-teen through early twenty year olds are in process of figuring out about life and one of their great values is fairness, at least fairness in other's actions, at least as they understand it.

This weekend's scripture readings address this great value of fairness as the readings from the Old Testament and from Paul focus on a merciful and just God - a God who is near, who is loving, who pardons. The people of the great prophet Isaiah had lost their faith and hope in God. They were in exile far away in Babylon and did not live the way God wanted them to. Sadly, we know that their ways were not God's ways, and their thoughts were not the thoughts of God. God did not abandon these desolate and broken people, or even punish them, instead God called them to return to Him.


Seventy-Seven Times

09-17-2017Pastoral ReflectionsFather Brian Manning

Our first reading this weekend comes from the Old Testament section called the "Wisdom Literature." This section of the sacred scripture attempts to deal with the questions of life: our meaning, our existence, our purpose and our destiny. Many of the sacred books of this section reflect upon stories or culture or other literature and attempt to give at least some of the questions and answers of life. Oftentimes the questions are limited and thus the answers are ever more limited. No one really knows all the questions of life, who to ask them, what order to answer them in and really what to say or do in response. True human wisdom is very limited and, in fact, very modest in scope. Always be cautious and beware of people who have answers to everything in proper order and completeness. This person is really a "classic fool," someone who does not know they do not know.


Correction in a Loving Way

09-10-2017Pastoral ReflectionsFather Brian Manning

Growing up in Roslindale quite a while ago, our section was a rather tight neighborhood. Behind all of our homes was a large set of woods, at least large for a city, where the kids all played. We were actually well supervised because each mother at home kept an ear open and an eye on us so that we did not get into trouble. Every adult who spoke to us was equal to one of our own parents speaking to us. The times have changed, some for the better and some not so. Sadly, oftentimes when an adult should speak up, they do not because our culture has changed so much. Thus it must be a bit disconcerting to hear in the readings this weekend that we all have an obligation to speak up, from neighborhood children to the larger world and its issues and problems. Of course this does not mean just yelling out "our opinions that we have a right to." It is much more substantial. We are called to speak in a caring and constructive way about the wrongs and offenses that we see.


Take up your cross

09-03-2017Pastoral ReflectionsFather Brian Manning

We learn in our first reading from the prophet Jeremiah that he was more than a little annoyed and aggravated with God. Jeremiah absolutely did not want to be, and despised being, the messenger of God. He was persecuted and tortured by others because of this holy role and task. Jeremiah, however, preferred torture to disobeying God. You will notice in the reading from Saint Paul that he also continued the same plea of Jeremiah in his letter to the Romans. The Romans, too, also had values of a worldly and temporal nature. They were "this world" driven as were the people in the time of Jeremiah. Paul desperately encouraged the Romans to change their values - to make them more congruent with the directions of God. Our letter writer asked the people to live in a way contrary to what the world and society dictated - to be hospitable to strangers, to associate with the lowly, to feed their hungry enemies. Quite different from what was then the social values and customs.


Who do you say that I am?

08-27-2017Pastoral ReflectionsFather Brian Manning

Our readings from the Old Testament and our Gospel this weekend both focus on the role of the one who holds the keys, or more so today the one who knows the passwords. We learn in our first scripture reading that Shebna, the holder of the palace keys at the capital, is in deep trouble because Isaiah delivers the bad news that Shebna is not a trustworthy. Isaiah tells him clearly that he will be thrust down and a new keeper will replace him. What caused Shebna's downfall was that he went along with the king's decision to form military alliances with other nations. This was expressly counter to the will of the Lord, for the joining of nations meant many bad things. It meant ultimately the dilution of the religion of Israel, the introduction of other gods and most importantly the betrayal of the covenant established on Mount Sinai and renewed with David. Thus the symbols of the office - the robe, sash, and key - would be placed on another's shoulders according to Isaiah. Bear in mind that the key of the House of David recalls the Davidic covenant, which would last forever.


God is about openness and welcome.

08-20-2017Pastoral ReflectionsFather Brian Manning

This weekend's scriptural passages makes it very clear to us that we all are "strangers" who are indebted for our "chosen-ness" to God's openness and all-inclusive love Indeed God calls all of us and we are exclusive to Him. By our every being, we are not exclusive and better than other people

The reading from Isaiah reminds us about "insiders" and "outsiders." It reminds us that sal­vation is not based on membership in a chosen club or people, but instead depends on a person's attitude of faith. Anyone and everyone who embraces the faith of Israel will receive the salvation God has promised. God does not exclude. God is all about openness and welcome. God's house is indeed called "a house of prayer for all peoples."


The Transfiguration of the Lord

08-06-2017Pastoral ReflectionsFather Brian Manning

From literature, from the theatre, from the cinema or from our own personal experience, we know that some experience can happen that will be a major or a transforming influence, This "happening" could have just recently or years ago, but its power and meaning are still strongly in our memories and in our lives. The great event is long over, but its influence and power remains until today and will be with us in our future. Today's Gospel story about the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor is certainly one of these experiences that will remain active in the memories and lives of the apostles. As they live life and dream about the future and remember the past, the insights and understandings that they will have and gain will sustain them throughout the many days of their lives.


Our Greatest Treasure

07-30-2017Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning
Our Parish's Legion of Mary just gave me a copy of their report to the Central Administration (Norwood Curia) of their activities of the last six months. Their work is very quiet and not easily seen, but it is great in its effect. Did you know that in the last six months the members made 243 home visits to homebound people. They faithfully conduct Rosary Prayer Services at Forge Hill Complex, the Estate and Franklin Health Care Center? They help with the monthly transition of the Parish's Vocation Cross. They also provide the Rosaries that are available at the door of the Church for one and all. They also assist at the special Mass each month at the Franklin Health Care Center. There are many other moments and hours given in faithful service and prayer to the vulnerable and needy in our Parish. They, in addition, provided a beautiful luncheon and Healing Mass of Anointing at Central Park Terrace last April. We thank God for the blessings of these faithful people. They meet in each Monday in the Olive Branch Room on the Church's lower level to pray and get organized. If you are interested in joining them, please call the Rectory 508 528 0020 and we will give them a message to call and connect with you. Or come on by at mid-day.READ MORE

Kindness, mercy and acceptance are the way of God

07-23-2017Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

When we hear or read this section from the Book of Wisdom, it is very obvious to anyone that God's supremacy is clear. Simply put, God is all-knowing, just, and powerful. As a result of this omniscient God, all of our hearts, thoughts, and actions are clear to God before we even know them. Note that even with incomprehensible power, God is patient. The words of Wisdom show us how God tempers justice with mercy and how God's actions teach us to be patient, fair, and hopeful. This passage of the Book of Wisdom offers some great wisdom to all of us.