We Need to be Mindful of Right Now

11-27-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Did you ever realize how much of our time is spent thinking about what is next or where we will be shortly, such as if you are driving to work you think about what is going on at the office, or when you are at work you think about the drive home. Although we are where we are, we do spend a lot of time thinking about where we will be. We often do not live in the present, but live more in the future. Today is the First Sunday in Advent. Are you thinking about Christmas, or are you thinking that this is the First Sunday of Advent and that now we light one candle in the Advent Wreathe because this is the beginning and the first step to Christmas? Are we willing this Sunday to be a light, yes a single light that breaks up the darkness of life for others and helps light the way to the celebration of the Salvation of our world, the Nativity of Jesus Christ in four weeks?


How and in what ways do we recognize the power of Jesus in our lives.

11-20-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Often times in today’s culture we talk about power: “What is power?”, “Who has power?”, “How is power used?”, “How to accept power or defend against power?”. We know that some power in life comes from physical force, like the power of a physically intimidating person or a hurricane. The brunt of this type of power is to be feared and avoided at all cost. We know that some power derives from inner strength. This power is positive and tends to draw people together. Jesus had this type of positive power. His words and actions were full of positive authority which the world needed.


We must quietly and patiently lean on Him and He will provide

11-13-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

It is often better or easier to simply go along with the flow in life, in fact, often times, many things simply do not matter in the long run. We often take stands or push back over ultimately inconsequential things that in a few days or weeks we will not even remember. However, sometimes we need to stand and act on our values. This weekend’s scripture is a reflection on how Jesus thinks about his disciples and how they will go on--on their own, but in his presence.


This belief is comforting and gives us all hope for ourselves and our loved ones.

11-06-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

I suspect there are more images in our minds and in art of what heaven is than there are people on earth. When we think about heaven most of us project our desires of emotional well-being, beauty or human comfort or perhaps whatever we feel we need that is missing in our lives. Starving people or people who live on the level of bare subsistence, often envisioned heaven as a giant feast with an excess of wonderful food. For those who have felt they are alone and endure the pains of loneliness, they often envision heaven as a great multitude of people altogether as close companions. Some call heaven a “Garden of Paradise”; I suspect most of these folks probably had endured emotionally painful lives, experienced excess drought or lived in a desert like area. There are so many images of heaven, even some which stand in contrast to each other. There are many images of heaven, but the one reality which people who believe in heaven have is that it actually exists beyond the grave, after the death of a person.


10-23-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

For over three weeks the major theme of our Sunday scripture readings has been “faith”. The readings look at faith from various points of view and lenses. These readings allow us to reflect upon faith and its meaning for us in our lives.


We Must, by Our Thanksgiving, Reveal the Goodness of our God

10-16-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

We have made it almost all the way through to “the end” of the COVID Pandemic; it now seems to be taking a quieter course as it continues to infect people with its variants. The vaccines and boosters seem to have lessened the terrible effects of the virus and now people can recover at home and not in the hospital on ventilators. However, we still try to avoid people who are coughing or sneezing. We also tend to keep more distance around ourselves. Many people, still stop to think if they wish to be in a large crowd with strangers. Some folks who have been faithful and good Catholics are still not “back in church” because of the confined spaces issue. I understand their decision and respect it. I know some folks who will not be using public transport, especially airplanes or trains.


All of Us Must learn to Forgive

09-11-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

The major theme of the mass readings this weekend is God’s forgiveness. Upon reflection, we may realize that God’s forgiveness is part of the core of our faith. The gracious acts of forgiveness by God truly empower us to go on in our daily lives. We realize that there is no completely logical or scientific explanation of why our God forgives us. Forgiveness by God gives us back our future and puts us back on the right road to living life


What it Takes to be a Follower of Jesus

09-04-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

The larger message of this weekend’s readings is that we probably need to look at life differently than we do and that we should change or adjust our point of view. For what we see has to do with where we stand in the sense of what we can see. Too close, we see too little, and too far, we miss the details; we need to change our mental point of view as according to this weekend’s scripture. In many ways, we only see things from our own point of view. We are being invited this weekend to look at things from God’s point of view, or at least to incorporate part of this view into our own.


We must freely accept his offer of salvation

08-21-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

In the olden days, way back before handheld calculators were common (!), school al­ways began the Wednesday after Labor Day, no matter how early or late this holiday was. As time has moved on, school often starts before Labor Day. Colleges and Universi­ties often start at the start of the third week of August. Lower education often begins the last week of August. It does not really matter when education formally begins, we all know as we creep along in August and as the evening sun has less time that our school year and Autumn way of life will soon be beginning. There is however a theme for this weekend that supersedes this time of change and new beginnings for education. We learn in the passages this weekend that we can always learn how to be better followers of Jesus Christ. We need to continually listen to His Word in sacred scripture, reflect upon it, and put it into practice in our daily life.


We must be fully committed to Jesus on our journey

08-14-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Sometimes we think the heroic figures of the Old Testament had easy lives. We imagine that the prophets were always honored and listened to no matter what. We tend to believe that they were most welcomed by the people to pronounce a message on behalf of God, even a negative message. Jeremiah was a prophet that the people listened to quite closely, but the people did not like what he had to say to them. He spoke to them when Jerusalem was under attack for a long period of time. He told them not to hold out; in fact, it was futile to hold out. He went further and said that God was handing them over to the Babylonians. The people of Jerusalem did not accept what Jeremiah said because he told them that God, their special god, was handing them over to the Babylonians. He informed them that no matter what they or their soldiers did, the Babylonians who were waiting outside the city would get them in the end. Adding that God was doing the handing over was a new and difficult message for the people to hear.


Our Faith is to Take Action

08-07-2022Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

The principal purpose of the Book of Wisdom is to collect and maintain much of the long memory of Israel. The reading this weekend is about the first Passover. This reading requires our imagination to be engaged. In our mind we are to see and hear people who are not yet free and who are sitting in darkness and the shadow of death. These enslaved people discovered hope and courage in their memory of the promise of God to their ancestors. These suffering people hoped and believed, but they did not presume to dream that God’s promise would finally be realized in them. In the end, they did pass over from no life to life as God’s own.