We All Need to Be Prophets

09-30-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

When we think about it a bit, we come to realize that the great Liberator Moses was a surprising leader in many, many ways. Unlike most senior leadership people, this great man did not desire the role in the first place and he did not get to pick his assistant. God selected Aaron for him. It appears that Moses was humble enough to accept help from any source or person. Moses also had the additional help and gift from God of the seventy elders, for example, who received the gift of God’s spirit, which made it possible for them to prophesy.


What Jesus Proclaims as Success

09-23-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

We all know the saying “Success is often in the eye of the beholder.” The Gospel this weekend speaks to what Jesus proclaims as success. Keep this in mind as you reflect on the scriptures.

Our first reading, from the Book of Wisdom, speaks about the trials the “just one” must endure. In the story the plotters resent the person who dares point out their mistakes. They clearly ponder if the just one would stand for God and against threats of condemnation and death. We consider this to be a prediction of the Passion, which Jesus himself announces in today’s Gospel reading. We note that this is Jesus’ second prediction of his passion in the Gospel of Mark.


What is Good Discipleship in Jesus?

09-12-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

The overarching theme of the readings this weekend is “what is good discipleship in Jesus.” The Suffering Servant is the image which launches our scriptural readings. This servant is a symbol for Israel. The servant’s faith never wavered despite the blows, insults and sufferings that were imposed. The servant knew that his faith had to do with the future. His faith had a most noble and just purpose, and life and energy were not to be wasted.


See Anew and Be Renewed

09-09-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

In speaking, the prophet Isaiah uses contrasts. The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the one who cannot move will win foot races, the one who is without words will be full of words - songs even. The very land itself will come alive: sands will be watered, deserts will flower. Our Gospel passage matches this. For through Jesus, God’s power reverses the condition of the man (symbol for anyone) who cannot hear and therefore cannot speak.


Honest Expressions of Respect and Love

09-02-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

We know from studying epidemiology that more knights in shining metal armor died because of the very dangerous armor itself than from combat injury. The shining armor was so constricting, so suffocating, and so cumbersome that the knight would be overcome by heat exhaustion and drop dead of a heart attack. We can forget that at times the usually good rules and customs of a people can become a deadly suit of armor. They can cause the death of a person’s heart. And Jesus knew this.


A Clear Decision to Serve the Lord

08-26-2018Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

In our first reading from the Old Testament, Joshua has made a choice, a clear decision, to serve the Lord and now invites the people to do the same. They also affirm their fidelity. This stopping at Shechem marks a definitive end to the desert journey and start of a very new beginning. They now cross and enter into the Promised Land with a new life before them. The second reading addresses a life immediately after it has begun. The marital imagery helps us to understand that life is lived in loving relationships.


Saint Rocco Festival and Feast

08-19-2018Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

This past weekend brought to conclusion the “in the field” Feast of Saint Rocco. On this Fortieth Anniversary of the Feast we are making a transition to a different way of celebrating in faith the Feast of Saint Rocco. As the original founders have told me many times “we started this as a faith and parish event, not as a money maker.” We are going to continue this beautiful heritage of faith and community each August in the coming years with a special Mass of Healing through the Intercession of Saint Rocco for all those who seeks his assistance in seeking healing and hope with a special Luncheon for those guests who are usually sick, ill, homebound or physically limited, much like “the Mass in the field” on the Saturday of Rocco weekend.


Do We Know How Great This “Bread of Life” is?

08-12-2018Pastoral Reflections

Saint Rocco: This morning at 10:30am we welcome Fr. Frank Campo, formerly a Parochial Vicar here at Saint Mary’s as the main celebrant of our Closing Mass of the Saint Rocco Festival. Almost ten years ago, Fr. Frank obtained for our Parish a relic of Saint Rocco. Every year since he gave this holy gift to our Parish, we have used this relic at the special Mass of Anointing and Healing “in the field” and at the Closing Prayer Ceremony at the outdoor statue of Saint Rocco.


The Bread of Life

08-05-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

From our first reading, we learn that things were not going that well for the Israelites in the desert after God had set them free from Egypt. Following their pattern, when things got bad, they complained to God. He heard them and sent them foodstuffs, quail, and manna from heaven. They, however, were not satisfied and questioned God. Moses, smartly pointed out to them that the manna was the answer to their prayers.


Taste and See

07-29-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

Summer time is here with its wonderful sunlight and warmth. This season allows all of us to use our decks and patios and also cook all sorts of food out on the grill. The gas grills of today have sure made life easier for outdoor cooking. I can remember when I was quite young my father’s many attempts to light the bag of charcoal. It usually meant finally putting too much starter fluid on the briquettes and then standing back from the giant whoosh of fire and heat. Then we had to patiently wait for the coals to all get red and a little grey and hot for cooking.


A New Covenant is Forged and Sealed

07-22-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

World and International leaders are all in the news at the moment. It appears that this is the season of the year for “summits” and “conferences” and “meetings.” The heat and sun of the summer lends itself to all these leaders and the hundreds in their entourages to go flying about meeting in beautiful and exotic places. When all this is said and done, we want to know that our leaders have represented us and our values well and will come home to inspire us with new knowledge and decisions. We expect our leaders to inspire us by their actions and words not only when they are at a distance in foreign lands, but also up close and personal when they are here among us. We believe our leaders’ actions and words are very powerful. What they say and do really matters in our lives and leads us to a better way of life.


Updates Continue

07-15-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

I hope that this page is the last for a while of full-length updates. I miss writing my more pastorally reflective page on the scripture of the weekend. I thought it was necessary to use this page to make sure everyone has the opportunity to know what is going on from my point of view. In another week or two, I will write some more on updates and parish matters. Enjoy this week because the weather is supposed to be wonderful.


The Mega Church Project

07-08-2018Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Those who have been able to attend church these past two weekends have been able to observe that the great construction project has begun. On the lower level, the asbestos tile has been legally and properly removed and disposed of in a landfill. This area includes the big hall and also the Olive Branch Room, along with various closets. The air quality has been tested and has been certified safe. Soon this same process will take place in the upstairs church, probably the second or third week in July. This is a very carefully performed process of abatement and all the laws and requirements are strictly observed by the Abatement Contractors.


Living Our Lives with Dignity, Grace and Integrity

07-01-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

Are you aware that the Book of Wisdom in the Old Testament was actually written a few years before the birth of Jesus Christ? The words of this book are to help us live our lives with dignity, grace and integrity. Our first reading today from this Book is a reflection on the life and death of the soul. Our particular passage does not include the section that talks about the pure materialist who eats, drinks and makes merry and claims that this is all there is. The Book of Wisdom’s author says this is all wrong, our author writes that we are imperishable. There is no second death, no death of the human spirit made in God’s image.

Today’s Gospel is about two miracles, one story inside the other’s story. This is about the official and his sick daughter, but also about a brave woman in need. She reaches out simply to touch the garment of Jesus as Our Lord walks along with the official to see his daughter. She is, in fact, cured. Then this brave act of the woman comes to light. Even though the people were flocking around Jesus, the woman is discovered. She humbly confesses her faith in Jesus’ ability to cure her, and he declares loudly that her faith has cured her. He then tells her to go on her way forever freed from the source of illness and sin.