Whole Again

03-31-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

Are you aware that our faith tradition, the Judeo-Christian tradition, is historically based in many, but not all ways. When we think about it, the written words of the bible help trace and express the development of our relationship and experience with God. This particular way makes us distinct from a singularly nature-based religious tradition. This weekend our scripture very much deals with the issue of nature and the arrival of Spring at the vernal equinox. The scripture is addressing the newness of life which occurs around this time. On this day of true balance, daylight and darkness are equal, and each day thereafter, the daylight is greater than the darkness. This is Spring for us and this is the time for nature to recreate the dormant world. For many of us this is also a time for the re-creation of our human spirit. Lent is now half way through and we can sense that we are becoming part of a new creation as our Spring starts to suggest.


Reach out with Mercy

03-24-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

Our Church theological view is that as Christians we are a people who survive on the mercy of God, not solely on our own merit. In this papacy Pope Francis proclaims mercy in its various modes as our motto and also to be lived in our daily lives. Mercy must be the singular hall-mark of all who follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. For Christians, mercy must become our point of view in looking at our world. This certainly does not mean looking at the world and offering shallow sympathy. Instead, it means looking at our world and embracing it, living in it with its struggles and sufferings, and showing compassionate kindness to one and all.


Experience Transformation

03-17-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

The pre-story of this Old Testament reading is that Abram is greatly despairing because he and Sara are unable to have children. God now answers him, inviting Abram outside to view the beauty of the night sky. There, bathed in the starlight, God speaks and offers an unbelievable covenant to Abram. This is a strong and dramatic contrast to the usual covenant. The covenants of that time required the weak to be obligated to the powerful; in this special covenant, the great and all-powerful God is willingly obligated to the very powerless Abram. Note how God also makes it crystal clear that Abram does not have to do anything to earn God’s generosity. Indeed the only true requirements that Abram has to have are faith and trust that God will act on his behalf. Notice the balance: God promises, Abram trusts—thus the covenant is fulfilled.


A Gift from God

03-10-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

The Season of Lent has begun with this Sunday and the readings address the major topic of the need for faith in our lives. The theme is in many ways trust in God as a strength, for we can rely on Him. Indeed, the message is simple and clear, but hard and difficult to live: trust in our God and do your best and all will work out accordingly.

Our Old Testament reading drives home the constant mantra of the Israelites that their God would never forget or abandon them no matter what they have done or failed to do. He will also rescue them when they call upon him for help. These lines of scripture today are critical to the Jewish faith and also are included in the Passover Haggadah.


Kindness and Mercy

02-24-2019Pastoral Reflections

Day Light: The hours of daylight are growing each day and life seems to get a little bit easier though everyone’s obligations and burdens still stay the same. Soon it will be Ash Wednesday and the Season of Lent which will prepare us for the graced Celebrations of Holy Week that end with the lighting of the Easter Fire. How time moves ever so quickly. Hopefully, the next six weeks of winter will be as mild as the last six weeks. Construction is proceeding accordingly on the new addition. The elevator which came in many boxes (!) is now being assembled. This takes about three weeks, and then we will await the inspection and certification for us. The end is in sight, you just need very good eyes to see it!


A Legacy of Goodness

02-17-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

When we listen to debates about welfare or are asked to contribute to the cause of the poor, we often hear, “Just how much do the poor need?” as if their need were an undeserving bottomless well. Seldom do we hear, “How much do the rich need?” We seem to be more accepting that their needs are always right and should be endless and also met. We are reminded of the saying, “You can never be too rich or too thin.” To which Jesus might have replied, “Oh, really?”


Life and Mission

02-10-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

Our language—in particular certain words—contains contradictory meanings. Context helps us to understand what the word really means. “Terrific” comes from the word that means “terror”, but terrific does not mean that at all. It means exciting, wonderful, that which draws us all in, but still leaves us nervous or wary of some unknown. We often describe an experience as terrific. We are drawn all the way in, but there is still that edge of fear. This weekend’s scripture has to do with transcendence, which is “terrific” in the dual meaning of drawing us in and also making us nervous and afraid.


Reflect God's Love

02-03-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

I often think, and occasionally say, that “the obvious is not that obvious.” Indeed the obvious is so easy to miss seeing. We can miss what is exactly right in front us. Sometimes it is because we are not seeing what we expect and other times because we expect to see what is in front of us someplace else! We often do not believe what is in front of us is real. Today with all the changes in digitization and ultra HD monitors, etc., it is very hard sometimes to perceive what is actually real in front of us. Also, sometimes it would be easy, but we do not put the effort in to think. In today’s Gospel, we should not at all be shocked or surprised by the failure of the people in Jesus’ hometown. After all, he was so very obvious and right in front ofthem. They, unfortunately, only saw Jesus as a neighbor and not as the bearer of salvation. The question does arise of who do we see really Jesus to be.


To Be a Follower of Jesus

01-27-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

From our Bible History classes in Religious Education (CCD or Catholic School), we may remember that Nehemiah and Ezra were the two major rebuilders of the Israelite people after the Babylonian exile. Nehemiah was then governor, the political leader. Ezra, a priest and descendent of Aaron, was the agent responsible for the restoration of the people’s religious life. We learn in our first reading this weekend that Ezra has gathered the nation to hear the holy Law and to renew the Sinai covenant.


The Christian Art of Deep Compassion

01-20-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

Have you noticed that ever so slightly there is more daylight now? Yes, we are at the worst of winter temperatures for the next three weeks, but we are in a better pattern of increasing daylight. As we are all aware, Christmas occurs in the darkest days of winter. Its calendar origin is in its placement at the end of the three-day feast of the old Roman Feast of Lights. As Christ is often referred to as “the light that came into the world”, this celebrationof Christ, the Light in the midst of darkness is most poignant and powerful.


Live in the Light of Christ

01-13-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

We begin this Sunday with the return to the ordinary schedule of Sundays with this Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Note that the beginning of the public ministry and life of Jesus occurred with his baptism in the River Jordan and that is why we begin our ordinary Sunday time of the church year with this feast. In fact, in the three synoptic (eyewitness point of view) Gospels, namely Matthew, Mark, and Luke, this scene of the Baptism of the Lord is the first common story for all that launches the Ministry and Mission of Jesus in direct and clear ways. Ironically, as baptism signaled the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and life of faith, it also signals the beginning of ours as well.


Open Our Doors in Welcome

01-06-2019Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

I noticed in the news that books are a major source of gifts for Christmas. Many, many of those gifted books are biographies or auto-biographies. There is a fascination for us about the lives of others, how they lived, what they felt or thought, and ultimately knowing the secrets of their lives. Sometimes we even compare our story to theirs. Our journey may be quieter or less grand, but still we know that the human pathways of living are somewhat similar. Epiphany is an important story for us to hear of a road taken by astrologers, passing strangers who venture forth because of their hopes and dreams. In many ways this story is also ours.


Capital Campaign Update Jan 2, 2019

01-02-2019Capital Campaign