Life Centered on God

07-31-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Our first reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes from the most frequently referred to book in the earliest of Christian times. The title tells us so, as it means “out of/ from the church” meaning the book most often read and referred to in the earliest of Christian gatherings. They used it so frequently because they wanted to understand life and faith in their daily lives. The book itself was composed in times when Israel was prosperous and the cultural leaders and elites thought they had the power to unlock and explain the mysteries of God. This occurred roughly during the fourth and third centuries before Christ. The thinkers and leaders of then believed that God was definable and also understandable. We know centuries later that God is really beyond total human understanding. This also means God is beyond our control and God’s actions are beyond our prediction.


Walk With and Talk With Our God

07-24-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Do you remember the story about Abraham in last week’s Old Testament reading, when he observed all the rules of formal hospitality for his three mysterious guests? This week’s story about a visitor has a much more causal social approach to it. God comes down from heaven and goes for a causal stroll with Abraham. It appears God personally feels a need to check up on what is happening in Sodom and Gomorrah. Notice in this story that Abraham is not even slightly fazed that God would walk with him on a road. It is interesting that Abraham does not feel overwhelmed, intimidated, or bullied by God as this man drives a very hard bargain with God to spare the two cities if at least ten just people are found living in the cities.


To Pray and to Work

07-17-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Clearly there is a lot of rushing about and frantic activity in today’s linked Mass readings, the Old Testament and the Gospel. Abram (Abraham) appears to be frantic in his dashing about. When he spies the three distant figures, he comes out of his tent right away. It does not take long before he is gushing at the three men and offering them his most generous hospitality. As a host he wants his new guests to stay for quite a while. He also gives orders to Sarai (Sarah) about the baking of bread and in addition he then orders his servants to get busy for the guests. Notice how it is that it is that Abram waits personally on these three. The three guests ask about Sarai, and there is one who seems to be able to sense on a higher level more than the others. He knows Sarai wishes for a child and he then promises her a child before the year has come to an end.


A Chance of Fate for Our Roles to Change

07-10-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

We often “take for granted” whoever or whatever is around us. We tend to think that whatever some-one else has, be it a person or a thing or many things, we think whatever they have always is far better. We often yearn for what we cannot have or cannot reach for in our own lives. What is very distant or impossible to reach is quite exotic and desirable, and whatever or whoever is in our lives is to be pre-sumed upon or just is not noteworthy. This perspective greatly affects our lives and we do not usually recognize that this is a problem for us.


Love and Do What You Will

07-03-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

For the most part, taking shortcuts to achieve a goal is counterproductive because it usually means completely redoing something later to make it what it is supposed to be. The minimal or poor effort usually produces very poor or inadequate results, as the saying goes: “if it is worth doing, it is worth doing well.” This maxim also applies to living our Catholic Way of Faith and Life.