Fr. Brian Manning

03-17-2023Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian Manning

Saint Patrick’s Day – Friday, March 17th: Cardinal Sean has granted a Dispensation from the Lenten Fast and Abstinence on Fridays because of this feast being the Patronal Feast of the Archdiocese.

This weekend in our first scripture reading we read of the story of the journey of Samuel to Bethlehem to the house and family of Jesse. It is in this city that God informs Samuel that he should anoint the future king of Israel. Samuel met all the older sons of Jesse and concluded that they could each be sufficient to the role, but surprisingly none of them were the choice of God. God reminded Samuel that He as God, sees differently, namely that He can see into people’s hearts. Finally in the story the youngest son is summoned for Samuel, and this youngest son named David is the choice of God.

Both first reading and also the Gospel of today are about seeing. The man born blind called for the attention of Jesus. The blind man then followed the complicated directions of Jesus so he could be able to see again. As a result the blind man returned being able to see. Sadly the now sighted man had no insight into what had happened. He simply knew he could not see and now he could. He was then taken to the Pharisees for their approval, but they started to cross examine him intensely. They were more concerned about how this had happened, than they were that the man had regained his sight in violation of a Sabbath law. By the end of the Pharisees’ questioning, the manwas all alone, even his parents had deserted him out of fear. In the end he was thrown out of the temple which is symbolic that he was exiled from the common life and now was to be shunned. All this had happened because he had regained his sight on the Sabbath. Jesus had seen him all this and had asked him what did he really want. The man now had not only sight, but also faith as he says to Jesus “I so believe, Lord.”

The readings are clearly about sight and insight. Often we do not have insight becausewe simple do not really see. And because we do not really see, we do not understand and cannot have insight. This Lent we are asked to see, to look closely at our life and see what is there and what needs to be there. If we look honestly and openly, then we will see and gain the insights we need to have a better life which is based on faith in the Lord Jesus. 

Update on 201 Main Street: The letter I wrote last week which I published in Weekly Bulletin, the Weekly Constant Contact to Parishioners and the Parish’s Facebook Page, announced that I am planning to retire in early June 2023, three months from now. At this point in time some due diligence, mostly behind the scenes, is taking place for 201 Main Street so that I am going allow all the known due diligence to finish, but suspend going forward with the Project. This will allow the new Pastor to act upon this Project when he has established himself here. The Historic Commission’s decision to put a one year delay on demolition of “the barn’ will not be problematic. This will possibly allow someone to come forward with a practical solution for the barn. It will all fit within the newer time frame.

Thank you to the many who sent an email or a Facebook comment which expressed appreciation for the many years I have served at Saint Mary Parish.