Love One Another

09-27-2020Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian

There is an important message for all of us that applies to our entire life in this weekend’s scripture. We are being advised to not live in the past with any of its negative ways, but to live in the present in a changed and healthy way. Clinging to the past with any of its wrongs or flaws limits us and ultimately can destroy our very being. The courage or valor to change what was wrong to what is right is essential to living a healthy and faithful Christian life. Our scripture this weekend encourages us to change and grow as we need to in life.

The prophet Ezekiel who spoke the message of God during the Babylonian Exile clearly informed the Jewish people that they were responsible for their own actions. He blatantly told them they had failed to accept these responsibilities and always tried to blame their separation from God on other people, namely on their ancestors. They always had excuses for their behavior and never failed to blame their problems on the sinfulness of the many generations before them. Ezekiel boldly challenged them to live in the present time of their lives and take responsibility for their own actions now and also to do what they knew was right regardless of past events.

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Live-streamed Masses

09-25-2020Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary’s,

Our Parish is moving along with the flow of life. I notice each week a few more folks are coming to weekend Masses. Please remember we are here ready to welcome you whenever you return. What is wonderful news is almost 1000 people (or technically views) saw our three Confirmations on Live Stream or on our You-tube channel. (“St. Mary Franklin Live Stream” is its name) Usually over 120 people (views) watch our Saturday 4 PM Mass. We will be adding this weekend the 10:30 AM Sunday Mass so that you may see it in “real time” on our Live-stream.

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Generous and Forgiving

09-20-2020Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian

There are many themes in this weekend’s scripture and one of them is that life does not work out equally for everyone. Life is not distributed to everyone in equal parts at the same time. We are all proud believers in egalitarianism for one and all, yet we know that in many ways life rolls ours differently for each person. There is in life some randomness if badness that is not the result of malfeasance or sin takes place. And more importantly, there is some randomness of goodness in our lives that we cannot justify or explain. It is very difficult in life to sort through the many complaints people have. We are biased by our personal histories and so is the complainer. We tend to remember our negatives and nurse them along in our lives and often miss seeing or valuing the many good things that we have. We often carry resentments and grudges quite tightly to our hearts and very rarely carry gratitude and appreciation in the same way. The larger theme of this weekend is how we see life.

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Weather Changes

09-18-2020Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary’s,

Pride prevented me from turning on the heat this morning when I saw that the indoor temperature had dropped to below 60 iu the Rectory. These few mornings of coolness can make us think that there is no more summer weather to arrive. This is, however, New England and some heat will surely return. Hopefully the heating season starts closer to early November. One of the Almanacs that people read says we will have a snowy winter, another says the opposite. None of us “control the weather” although we must pay attention and respond to the Climate Change crisis throughout the world.

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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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