From the Tee Box

A Blog by Father Trey Nelson

REMEMBER WHO AND WHAT YOU CARRY

From the mid 1970’s through the early eighties a group of 5 priests known as the St. Louis Jesuits recorded several songs that are still very popular in our church today.  One of them, entitled, “Earthen Vessels,” comes to mind for me in light of the first reading from today’s Mass.  Here are Paul’s first words: “Brothers and sisters, we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. (2 Cor. 4:7) We sang several St. Louis Jesuits songs at the chapel on the campus of the University of St. Thomas in Houston, where I attended college.  The words, especially of this song, always evoke a lot of emotion in me.  This morning early, when I poured that first cup of coffee and sat with today’s scriptures, the words struck me in a new way. I read them, and, almost immediately, I thought, “sometimes, I think, we forget what we carry.”  We carry something sacred within us, made sacred by “the who” that we carry.  It is, as Paul reminds us, Christ himself.  In my mind, it is when we forget this, about ourselves and others, that things tend to come undone. 

To be sure, we do at times encounter differences and difficulties between one another, but each person is a vessel of the sacred.  This may be hard to see sometimes, but it’s true.  Can I believe this about myself and about others?  We seem to “get it” fairly easily at the beginning and end of life. When you hold a baby, you can’t help but think, “Wow!  That’s God!”  At the other end of the spectrum, when we are faced with saying goodbye to someone as they slip from us, we are reminded that the body is just a shell, “a tent,” as Saint Paul says elsewhere. Not an easy experience to go through, but a belief that ultimately gives us hope.  How do I do in-between, though? That’s the real question.  Remembering “who and what” we carry, remembering that we are fragile, imperfect, earthen vessels made holy by He whom we carry is what gives us our dignity.  It can motivate us to a deeper holiness, good health, and a deeper charity toward our neighbor.

 

CANCELLATION OF MASSES FOR THIS WEEKEND/JULY 13-14

St. Jude Parish is monitoring the development of tropical storm Barry. Currently, there are no changes to our regular Sunday Mass schedule.

 

However, CONFESSIONS AND MASS ON SATURDAY JULY 13 HAVE CANCELLED. A  DECISION REGARDING SUNDAY MASSES WILL BE MADE SATURDAY DURING THE DAY AND POSTED TO OUR PARISH WEBSITE, FACEBOOK PAGE, ON POSTERS IN THE FRONT WINDOWS OF CHURCH, AND ON OUR OUTGOING PARISH VOICEMAIL.   

Should conditions deteriorate to the point you do not feel safe venturing out to St. Jude or another nearby church, remain in the safety of your home. THE FAITHFUL ARE DISPENSED FROM YOUR SUNDAY OBLIGATION TO ATTEND MASS.

 

 

Prayers for all in the path of the storm.

 

PRAYER AND WORKS MUST BE CONNECTED

Every now and then a song pops into your head and stays there for a while.  This past Saturday during our Vigil Mass we sang a song with a simple refrain, “God is love, and all who dwell in love dwell in God.” Those words have been in my head ever since.  Then early this morning, while preparing for Mass and spending some time in prayer, I found that the words of this song and today’s Gospel passage compliment each other.  The passage for today’s Mass is Mark 9:14-29.  It’s the story of Jesus driving a mute spirit out of a young man, only after the disciples had been unable to do so.  There has been some speculation or questioning as to whether the young man may have been afflicted with epilepsy or something similar.  There is also some question regarding the apostles: had they grown a little over confident in their ministry?  Forgotten that it must be Christ who works through them?  Had they, while doing their ministry, put their prayer time on the back burner?  We can focus on the details of the story if we want to, but I suggest that the very last words of the passage, those spoken by Jesus to the apostles, are where we might need to focus.  The closing dialogue goes like this: “When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private, ‘Why could we not drive the spirit out?’ He said to them, ‘This kind can only come out through prayer.’”  The message here, although perhaps hidden at first reading, is simple: prayer and works must be connected.  All of the work that we do must be directed by the wisdom that we gain in prayer.  Whether it’s the work of our job and all of the tasks that might be on our list for the day, or the most important work of all; namely, relationships.  Each day and each encounter with another person need to begin with the question, “what is God asking of me in this moment?”  This is especially true in our relationships with each other.  How do I react to other people, especially in difficult moments?  Do I easily “go off on” them, or do I take the time to take a deep breath and allow God and the fruits of the Spirit to guide me?  This, I think, is why the words of Saturday’s song from Mass have been on my mind.  To “dwell in love and to dwell in God” requires that we dwell in prayer on a regular basis.  All of us, in one way or another, are affected by busyness.  It can partially or completely sever our bond with Christ in prayer.  We hear a lot of talk about being people of peace in a world and a time when there seems to be so much division.  Well, it begins with us, in us.  For peace and wisdom to dwell in us, we must first take time to dwell in God in prayer.  Truly, prayer and works must be connected.