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From the Tee Box

A Blog by Father Trey Nelson

4th SUNDAY OF LENT: PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL

PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT

PRIEST-  (Spontaneous Opening)

DEACON-  For our church, here and throughout the world, especially our shepherds: Francis our Pope and Michael our Bishop; may we experience a new closeness to Christ and to one another during this holy season and these difficult days; we pray  to the Lord…

For God’s consolation upon those who have the corona virus; for their loved ones and caretakers; for those in the medical profession who are working with loyal dedication to care for and heal the sick: for their protection; we pray  to the Lord…

For scientist and researchers; may they be guided by the Holy Spirit in their search for medicines to cure those who are ill with this virus; we pray  to the Lord…

For the elect of our community and all those preparing for entrance into our church; may their hearts remain hopeful during their process of preparation; we pray  to the Lord…

And for all those who have died, especially Mrs. Adela Chenier of Saint Jude Parish; may they inherit eternal peace; we pray  to the Lord…

You are now invited to, either, pause in silence, or speak out-loud with one another your other special intentions. We will pause for a few moments as you do this.

(Pause)

For all of our intentions, we pray  to the Lord…

PRIEST-  (Spontaneous Closing)

 

LOOKING INTO THE MIRROR

How do you feel when you look into a mirror?  If you’re like me, some days you feel great, and some days not so much.  Jokingly, I sometimes think, “man, you’re a lot older now! Where have the years gone!”  Mirrors can bring us literally face to face with reality.  We think about our age, our physical looks, whether or not we’re happy with that, and so on.  At the same time, a “mirror experience” can serve as a means of going to a deeper level of reflection. 

Every day at Mass this week we have been hearing from the Apostle James.  I find this particular book easy to read and a great book to reflect with on a daily basis.  Today’s reading is one of my favorite passages, in that it’s very real for me.  Here are the words that strike me: “Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror. He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like.” (James 1:19-27).  To use James’ image, “looking into a mirror” can remind us of 2 realities: the first is the reality of us, who we are, where we’ve come from, and how we’re living, including the mistakes that we make.  Second, it is an opportunity to recall God’s unconditional love and mercy for each of us.  As God looks into our hearts, where nothing is hidden, we look into the depth of the Lord’s love and forgiveness for us. 

So, the next time you find yourself standing in front of that reflective piece of glass, don’t worry if it makes you a little uncomfortable.  Try to worry less and less about what others think of your outward show.  And, most important of all, remember this: God loves you as you are.  Grow as you need to grow.  Make the changes that might need to be made.  But the core of who you are? The Lord loves that, loves you, beyond all measure.

 

BE THE ONE!

“As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, ‘Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?’ Then he said to him, ‘Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.’” (Lk. 17:11-19)

Most priests will probably tell you that preparing a homily for a school Mass isn’t always easy.  For starters, your “audience” could very well be students from kindergarten (maybe even preschool) through eighth grade.  The mentors in my life have always taught me to keep it simple.  Still, sometimes it’s not that easy to reach them.  But God breaks through and leads you to some simple insight that opens the door.

Such was the case last week when we celebrated Mass with our students here at Saint Jude School.  The Gospel of the day was the one included above.  We will proclaim the same passage again on Thanksgiving Day.  The way my brain works when I’m preparing to preach to our students begins at the level of the adult language in my head, and then I try to come down 2 or 3 levels to where the children are.  And so, it occurred to me early that morning prior Mass, that, a lot of people simply do not say “thank you” any more.  To begin the homily, I asked the students to talk with the person next to them and ask, “who was the last person you said ‘thank you’ to?”  Some said that it had been to their parents, some said teachers, others had said it to grandparents, and so on.  And as I was standing there listening to them, a very simple 3 word challenge came to mind for me.  “BE THE ONE!”  (We had also done a quick “Geaux Tigers!” thing at the beginning, so I was capitalizing on the energy.)  I asked them to repeat after me loudly, “BE THE ONE!”

Scripture tells us, “…ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine?”  I’ve always challenged myself with the question, “am I with the nine?  Or am I the one?”  This day, though, I found myself called to be a little more declarative with the challenge.  Every single day of our lives, you and I  are called to break away from the crowd (of those who do not stop to say “thank you”) and BE THE ONE!  When was the last time that you said those words to someone?

One of my Monday morning rituals every week is to write thank you notes.  I look back over the previous week and weekend and ask myself who might benefit from one.  Then, I write them out by hand.  No text messages.  No emails.  No FB posts.  Just a good old-fashioned note.  And most people, when they receive them, tell me, “awe, you really didn’t have to do that.”  No, I didn’t.  But I’ll bet you this.  It made their day.

Who needs to hear it from you?  Right now?  This week?  We’re all moving at the speed of light, or, as some have coined it, “the speed of life.”  Still, we need to pull over every now and then and make the conscious choice to BE THE ONE, as Jesus himself did at table with his apostles on the night before he died for us.  Do it.  Choose someone. Today.  And tell them simply, genuinely, “thank you.”