Welcome Christ in Others

06-28-2020Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian

Way back “in the olden days” when I was young and in elementary school, we always went from the city to my grandmother’s cottage in sunny seaside Scituate for a good part of the summer. Our first cousins and also my brothers and sisters in various configurations of age groups would be there for most of the summer. All the time we were there, lots of relatives and friends would also come to visit for the day and sometimes for the weekends. Even though at times it was very crowded and quite noisy, it was never too crowded or too noisy because loved ones were all there.


Fear No One

06-21-2020Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

In our first reading, we learn that the prophet Jeremiah was not easily intimidated. We also learn that his prophetic vocation was as difficult to accept as it was unambiguous in meaning: A quote found early in the first chapter describes it quite accurately: “To root up and to tear down, to destroy and to demolish, to build and to plant”. Jeremiah was a prophet to the Jewish people just before the Great Babylonian Exile. This prophet loudly told them that its apostasy and infi-delity would bring it all the way down, as indeed it did. His dire and forbidding warnings, though they came to be true, were no way to win acceptance and affirmation by everyone, from the highest and grand level of the king to the lowest and poorest citizen of Judah.


Living Bread

06-14-2020Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Most of us are fascinated by the beauty of the classic Latin hymn “Panis Angelicus”. Although there are many Latin hymns in our tradition, only a few are really “great”. This hymn “the Bread of Angels” is certainly one. Folks of all ages are drawn to it because of its interior melodic beauty. What is most interesting is that this “bread of angels” is really the holy bread for humans. It is Jesus who gives us his Body under the appearance of bread, not the angels.


A Community of Love

06-05-2020Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian

It has often been said that no one can know someone else 100% and that there is always a little mystery in every person, no matter. This usually makes for a more interesting relationship and life. When we realize that we always have more to discover in ourselves or other people, it makes sense that there is always more mystery to be discovered in God. Certainly, the sacred mystery of the Holy Trinity, which is one God in three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, always has some more to be discovered and understood. The depth and beauty of our God is a reality that is an unfolding mystery, which we will never cease contemplating and celebrating.


Courage, Kindness, Understanding

05-29-2020Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, a very important Feast Day in our Church Faith and Tradition. The gospel account of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles is a great symbol of how the Holy Spirit will open wide the horizons of our minds and hearts. The power of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is unequaled in power in everyone's life.


A Daily Life of Service and Sacrifice

05-22-2020Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

We need to remember that when we read from the Gospel of John, such as this weekend, we are reading a scripture passage which is written after a long time of reflection and living experience. John wrote his Gospel sometime between 90 A.D. and 100 A.D. In art John is symbolized as an eagle, mainly because he soars so high in his thoughts, expressions, and meaning. His Gospel begins with the eloquent words: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God …". We recognize that these starting words of John actually match up in theme and expression to the very first words of the Bible in the Book of Genesis. We discover in John that this special "Word" who was in the beginning with God, now begins his journey home to God. The journey of Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem is the journey of the Word made flesh returning home by his Death and Resurrection.


Kindness, Patience, and Goodness

05-15-2020Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

The Gospel writer John in today's selected passage tells us that Jesus promises the Spirit. This promise is made during the very long talk that John has Jesus give at the Last Supper. The believers of then would have realized that John had assembled a whole series of quotes of Jesus and had made them prominent by placing them all together at the Last Supper. By John doing this, he is telling us to pay strict and close attention to all these words and quotes. He realizes that the various meanings of these words take power after the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. Indeed, John is the only Gospel writer who tells us the very important teachings and sayings which Jesus gave at the Last Supper. We know that the Apostles had heard these words, but that they needed a great deal of time to ponder and come to understand them. Do not forget that John says at the end of his Gospel that he has only written down so much of what Jesus said as there would not be enough books available for him to write into record all that Jesus said.


Jesus, Our Foundation

05-15-2020Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

When I drive down Union Street to where it meets King Street, when I am stopped at the lights, I can see a big construction site just beyond the lights. In a sense I look forward to checking up on it each time I come to the lights. I get to see the progress of it all. I note how it has taken many steps and many different construction trades to build it. Of course, it starts with the General Contractor who has to put it all together. He/They are the ones who have to get the site surveyed correctly, the hole dug for the foundation, and then the forms built and poured for it all. Framers, insulators, plumbers, electricians, insulators, and all sorts of tradespeople and craftspeople have to work on this project. Lots and lots of building supplies are needed. Whether it is a big building or a house, each requires a lot of tradespeople and craftspeople and also supplies and materials. Are you aware that today's readings actually show us a similar construction plan for the church?


The Good Shepherd

05-01-2020Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

During these weeks that all of us are trying to cooperate as closely as possible with the Directives of “stay at home” and “social distancing”, our daily life can get a little too close and people can get a little too sensitive. Usually behavior that can be let go can sometimes, can become a major irritant. The friction of being together so much and not having our regular life can cause all sorts of problems. We can forget about the larger common good and go back to the regular narcissistic orientated culture that we had lived in and functioned in each day “What is best for me is really best for everyone.”


A New Vision

04-24-2020Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

The last two months have certainly altered our perceptions and understandings about our daily world and life. It appears that whatever people were seeking and whatever things people thought were foundational or essential to life have certainly changed or been shifted. The closedown of our daily life as we know it and the imposing of "social distancing" have caused many people to ponder in positive and also negative ways the meaning of their lives, what their past has been, and also what their future may be like. These past months have allowed and sometimes forced people to ask about "who and what really matters in life." Before all this, many people had been traveling along just presuming everything which we have was good and everything we desired was even better.


The Power of the Risen Lord in Us

04-17-2020Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

It is certainly very strange to be writing about the Sunday after Easter when in a certain sense there has been no Easter Celebration here at Saint Mary's. The intense days of Holy Week from Palm Sunday through the Easter Vigil and on to Easter Sunday have not taken place as they usually do. Gathering in front of the flat screen to unite ourselves in prayer with either Cardinal Seán at our Cathedral in Boston or with Pope Francis in Saint Peter's Square in Rome may help our inner being and spiritual self, but it simply does not take the place of physically coming to our holy ground and lifting up our hearts and souls to our God who has loved us.


Walk by Faith

04-12-2020Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Who could have imagined in their wildest dreams — even writers of high tech futuristic space alien dramas could not have foreseen — that we would not be gathering in our holy sanctuary at Saint Mary's Franklin to proclaim and sing Alleluia! on this Easter Sunday 2020. Or that the most beautiful service of Holy Thursday when we remember the Institution of our most precious and sacred gift of the Holy Eucharist would come and go this year only by watching it on TV. I have always treasured the Stations of the Cross of Good Friday. To me, they speak much more than the Evening Service. I feel the loss of this beautiful devotional celebration this year very deeply. For those who attend the elaborate ritual of the Easter Vigil which is celebrated with Fire, Water and Word, it must still the heart to miss those deeply spiritual ceremonies in our church.


We Will Come Through This

04-05-2020Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Certainly this year Palm Sunday 2020, which is the portal to all of Holy Week and the Great Easter Celebration, has taken on a strange way. We are not able to gather in our holy church and hear the proclamation of Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. We are not able to listen with our hearts to the stirring words of the Passion and Death of Jesus as proclaimed at the time of the Gospel Passion Narrative. At best we can listen with devotion and participate with our hearts as the Great Services of Holy Week take place on the Catholic Channel. This year we join with millions of others throughout the world in a very different way. We shall be using TV as the substitute for our local parish church. Passion Sunday introduces us to the Great Week—Holy Week. Nonetheless, we are followers of Jesus Christ and his Way and this coming week we will with fidelity and devotion remember the great story of the reality of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Media, even the advanced media of today, is not a substitute for physical presence and contact. We know that, as much as we Skype or Facetime our family and friends, we still yearn to see them face to face and to hug them closely.