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.