The Blessing of a Family

12-30-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

This week our scripture passage for the Gospel comes from the special section of Luke’s Gospel called the “infancy narrative” section. This entire part is the first two chapters of Luke. All of these stories that are related by Luke are specially prepared ones. We may think that they are “historical,” but upon reflection, we realize that they are telling in symbolic form some important truths. Luke is not just telling fabulous and heart-warming tales for the sake of telling tales, rather he is actually engaged in a very profound theological reflection on the nature and person of Jesus Christ.

When we stand back at a distance and listen to all of the stories and then ultimately all of Luke’s Gospel, we then realize that these beginning stories are really setting the framework for the great story of Jesus Christ in the Mission of Salvation for all of us. These stories help to nuance the great story of the public ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. These stories begin our engagement and involvement with the inspiring story of Jesus Christ


God's Best Wish for Us

12-23-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

This year Christmas jumps out at us all of sudden. This very weekend is the Fourth Weekend (Sunday) of Advent and then “there you have it!” Christmas Eveis the next day. We are almost caught unaware that the day has arrived. The message of our Sunday readings does not have time to dwell in our hearts this week and take effect. Sunday’s Mass is a just a breath and then we start Christmas.


Tend to What Is at Hand

12-16-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

For many centuries we have called the Third Sunday in Advent “Gaudete (“rejoice”) Sunday.” We change the color of our vestments at Mass from the somber Advent purple to a deep and vibrant rose. Note that this week’s Advent wreath candle is also rose or pink. Our readings for this Sunday reflect this bright color in purpose and meaning. In fact, the whole speed and rhythm of Advent picks up today. As Christmas gets closer and closer, the more restrained mood of Advent’s early days is abandoned. The famous “O Antiphons” are sung and proclaimed beginning this week. You can feel Christmas in the air. We can feel or intuit that something very big is about to happen. And this weekend the liturgy is urging us to employ this sense to recognize that Emmanuel, God-with-us, really is with us now.


What Really Matters

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

The darkness of winter light and the bitter cold of this season are growing more and more each day. In many ways, our life gets harder this season. Also sometimes life gets a little weary for one and all so that the readings at Mass this weekend are most welcome. They announce ‘good news.’ They will lighten the burden and keep us going forward.


The Messiah is Already Among Us

12-02-2018Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian F. Manning

Wow! Dear God! Is it really the First Sunday in Advent? Is Christmas really that close? Why is life running along so quickly? We start a new “Church Year,” with a civil year to start shortly. Last weekend we ended our Church year with a big noise about Christ the King and this week we begin our year with a quiet reflective tone. Our scripture readings for this initial Sunday of Advent remind us that we are people who hear the melody of the future.