Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Mass Schedule: Dec 23 - 4:00pm Mass, Dec 24 - 8:00am and 9:45am Mass (NO 11:30am Mass), Christmas Vigil Mass times, Dec 24 - 4:00pm and 6:30pm, Christmas Day Mass times, Dec 25 - 8:00am and 9:45am (NO 11:30am Mass)

From the Tee Box

A Blog by Father Trey Nelson
Monthly Archives: December 2017

"MY YOKE IS LIGHT..."

Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent

Borrowing from the image in today’s Gospel, “…my yoke is easy and my burden light,” (Mt. 11:30), I am reminded of a particular reality; namely, that we bind ourselves to many things every day. We have routines. We have habits, some of which are good, some bad. Some very bad and unhealthy. The good routines help us to stay centered. Father Mike Collins, for example, was a man of regiment. He stuck to his routine, and I believe that was one of the things that helped him to be so effective in his ministry. For many of us, it might be things like coffee, prayer, exercise, and so on. As far as the not so good habits go, we bind ourselves to these things for a variety of reasons. Loneliness. Anger. Depression. Maybe even jealousy or a lack of healthy intimacy in our lives. If we look within the words of Jesus today, the invitation is to “yoke ourselves” to him daily. His promise is that this binding will not be a burden. It will, in fact, be for us just the opposite. It will give us what I like to call clarity of mind and heart, a better sense of direction, and, most of all, a deeper feeling of peace on a day to day basis.

A few months ago, my Mom was having a particularly challenging week. By the time I had arrived for my day off, she had already worked her way through it to a sense of acceptance and a happier state of mind. She told me how she did it. She said, “…so I just decided to sit down with God, and me and God had a little talk. I said, ‘Holy Spirit, you’re gonna need to get me through this…’ and, sure enough, He did…” Thanks, Mom.

For Christ to be “born again” into our hearts and lives throughout the year, we must be willing to honestly examine how we are living, specifically, what we are “yoking ourselves” to and to be willing to let go of whatever it is that weighs us down. As we prepare for Jesus to come into our lives at Christmas through fellowship, worship, and celebration, what might need to “go out of” our lives, so that we can bind ourselves more closely to Him?

FOR REFLECTION: To what am I binding myself every day? And, better yet, why?

"GOD IS EVER FAITHFUL..."

Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent: The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

I attended college at the University of Saint Thomas in Houston, all the while living at Saint Mary’s Seminary. At that time, Saint Mary’s was an institute of discernment and formation for men at both the collegiate and graduate school level. This was my first time to ever live away from home. My 4 years there were some of the best in my life. I have nothing but fond memories. One of those memories is of our annual celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. My time in Texas was my first exposure to the Hispanic culture. This included religious ritual, music, and, of course, food! All of these came together in an exciting way every year on December 12, the feast day itself. We celebrated a special Mass, followed by a festive meal. What I remember the most, however, is the image of luminaries all over the seminary property. As the sun would set and evening came upon us, it was truly a beautiful sight.

I have personally always found this day to be one of the most inspiring celebrations of Mary. It, along with the unique and beautiful character of the Hispanic Catholic culture, help me to truly appreciate Mary’s role as intercessor. I read in a reflection earlier this morning that, during one of her interactions with Blessed Juan Diego, Mary said, “…am I not here, I who am your mother?” Mary was and is the bearer of God’s message. It is a message of fidelity to us and constant protection, the reminder that God is ever with us.

FOR REFLECTION: Who are the people who bring light and hope to my life?

"GET UP AND WALK AGAIN..."

Monday of the Second Week of Advent

I read somewhere recently that the reason Jesus ministered to the paralytic’s spiritual needs before performing the physical miracle was to remind all those present that they too were in need of healing. He did eventually heal him physically, saying, “…get up, pick up your mat, and walk…” but not without first forgiving him of his sins.

All of us would probably openly acknowledge that we need forgiveness. We would probably have no difficulty saying this. Will we go the next step, however? Will we do what needs to be done to seek healing of the unresolved sin in in our life? This season, while not as “penitential” as Lent, does invite us to seek to be born anew. Without being too hard on ourselves, without being scrupulous about it, we are urged to do whatever needs to be done in order to experience forgiveness. Perhaps we are in need of the sacrament of reconciliation. Or maybe we need to forgive or ask forgiveness of another person. Whatever the case may be, this can be a time to let go of what weighs us down.

Better yet, in looking to the scene in today’s Gospel, we can experience again what it means to be loosened up from our infirmities. Whenever we experience forgiveness in any form, we experience Jesus Christ saying to us, “…get up and walk again…”

FOR REFLECTION: For what might I need to be forgiven, and who might I need to forgive?