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From the Tee Box

A Blog by Father Trey Nelson
Monthly Archives: August 2017

INTENTIONAL SILENCE...

Memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist: Tuesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

“When his disciples heard about it (the death of John the Baptist), they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.” (From Mark 6:17-29)

There is a slight difference between Mark’s account of John’s death, which we read today, and that of Matthew. It is this distinction that comes to mind for me now. The lectionary reading from Mark’s Gospel for today’s Mass ends as you see above. Matthew’s, on the other hand, ends with, “when Jesus had heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.” (Matthew 14:13)

Jesus was the best example at showing us the need to pull away and be alone with God in silence. In this particular scene from his life, he withdraws in response to the death of someone he loved dearly, his cousin, John. There are other scenes in his life as well when we see Jesus going away to a deserted place. And, no doubt, each and every time that he does this, people go looking for him. Translation? The work will always be there waiting for us. So will the text messages, the emails, and God knows whatever else. I wish I could remember the name of the book, but a quote comes to mind for me today. I won’t get it exactly right, but it goes something like, “…there will always be something in your inbox. That’s why it’s called an inbox…”

The rhythm and balance between work and rest, between busyness and stopping is a hard one to come by, rest assured. And if it takes something tragic to stop us and draw us into the quiet, then that’s unfortunate. Jesus took time alone regularly, not just when something bad happened. That’s what we are called to also. We need it to survive. Our children need to see us embracing the quiet. There is no better gift for us to accept and no better gift for us to pass on to our children than the value of withdrawing to a deserted place to listen more intently to God’s voice.

GOD DELIGHTS IN YOU...

Memorial of St. Augustine: Monday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

“The Lord takes delight in his people.” (From Psalm, 129)

This past weekend here at Saint Jude, the homily was offered at each of our Masses by Deacon James. His recurring theme was, “you are good enough!” This was in response to how Peter must have felt when Jesus bestowed upon him his new role. I’m sure that Peter, in his humanness, felt anything but adequate. Deacon James reminded us, that, while we may feel inadequate before others or get way too down on ourselves at times, we are always adequate in the eyes of God.

The Psalm for today’s Mass makes this statement, simply and directly: “the Lord takes delight in his people.” (Psalm 129). This is also the feast day of Saint Augustine. The scripture, the feast, and the message all go hand in hand, as Augustine is one of the best examples from our history of someone who turned his life around based on the belief in God’s unconditional love and mercy.

God may not delight in some of the things that we do or say, but God always takes delight in us. As we begin another week, let’s be honest with ourselves about our weaknesses and areas in which we need to grow or “convert,” without being too hard or down on ourselves. May we draw strength from the promise that the Lord does indeed take delight in us! I hope you have a great week.

YOU HAVE TO LET IT GO...

Feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr: Thursday of The Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his disciples, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. (From John 12:24-26)

When I was living down in Napoleonville and serving at St. Anne, Assumption, and St. Philomena Parishes, I would, from time to time, visit some friends of mine. They are sugar cane farmers and delightful people. Often in the course of our conversation, if I had shared with them some difficulty that I was experiencing, the husband wouldn’t say anything at first. He would simply place the palm of his hand on the dining room table and slide it off the edge. And he did it with a grin, because we both knew what he was thinking. This little gesture was his way of saying, “you’ve got to let it go.” He did it with a grin, because he knew that I, more than likely, did not want to hear it. He was right. But, still, I didn’t want to hear it.

So much of life is about letting go. Some things are easier to let go of than others, while some take a while for us to move through. There are the minor irritations, such as people’s personalities or their innocent mistakes. And then there are the major, life changing losses in life that really put every fiber of our being to the test. When we can move through the experience, however, and get to the point of being able to let go, to let it “fall to the ground,” as Jesus says today, then we can achieve peace. This is the case for the pains, losses, and hurts that we experience along the way, and it is also true when it comes to the question of “how much of my life is given over to Jesus Christ in discipleship?”

Is there something that you need to let go of in order to have peace? Anger. Hurt. Resentment. Sin. The loss of someone you love. Better yet, where might I be holding back in my day to day living of the Gospel and my faith?