No Daily Mass (or adoration) the weeks of June 18th and 25th, 2018. Fr. Trey will be on vacation. The parish office will be closed on June 25 & 26, 2018 for parish planning days. Thanks!

From the Tee Box

A Blog by Father Trey Nelson

HOMILY FOR SUNDAY JULY 9...

Homily for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." (From Matthew 11:25-30)

What unnecessary burden might you be carrying?

When I was younger, before I was in the seminary studying to become a priest, I had been away from the Sacrament of Reconciliation–Confession–for a while. It’s just where I was at that time in my life. When I finally returned I was in my second or third year of college. I went to a mild-mannered, soft-spoken priest in Texas, where I was in school. He was gentle, kind, and very direct. He was just what I needed at the time. After I shared with him what I needed to share, the first thing he said to me was, “this is a burden that you’ve been carrying for way too long. God no longer wants you to carry it.”When I walked out of his office that day, I knew 2 things: I knew that I had experienced genuine relief and peace. I also knew that, with that release from my burden, there came a responsibility. What was I going to do with what I had been given? Within the context of today’s Gospel reading, I had been invited to lay down one burden (or “yoke”) and take up another. I was being asked to lay down the burden that constrained me and weighed me down and take up the yoke of Christ.

The “yoke” of Jesus is not a burden. It does not weigh us down. It lifts us up and gives us strength, courage, and confidence. His “yoke” is His Word and His way. It is our anchor, our only sure thing in this life. Too often in life we take up and carry yokes that are not life giving. We attach ourselves to something or someone and let them take us over. These types of yokes can bring us down emotionally, spiritually, and, in some cases, even physically. Sometimes there may be an emotional or mental hindrance involved, but most of the time, more than likely, we freely choose to “yoke ourselves to” things that drain the life right out of us. So, if we want to, we can consider a few basic questions; like: what unnecessary burden might you be carrying right now? Today?What are you “yoked” to? From what burden or yoke do you need rest?

Bitterness and hardness of heart...

Resting in anger and resentment, rather than forgiveness...

An unhealthy behavior, with which we may need help...

Are we “yoked to”: our work, our money, our things...

Something that we need to let go of in order to have peace...

I heard a priest say on a retreat one year, that, “many people want the rest but not the yoke.” Letting go of what weighs us down does offer us rest and peace. But with it there does come a responsibility. It’s not a mandate. It’s not a directive. It is simply an invitation offered to us by Christ. He is asking us to come to him, to lay down our burden, and to freely take up his. The way to find rest and comfort is to lose our burden at the cross and allow Christ to put his burden and yoke upon us instead. Freedom is not found in avoiding or discarding the yoke of Christ; it's found in losing our own.

 

THE BROKEN PLACES IN MY LIFE...

Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

“The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ He (Jesus) heard this and said, ‘Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.’” (From Matthew 9:9-13)

When I was younger, every time I heard this passage I would say to myself, “well, of course you don’t need a doctor if you’re not sick.” Many years later, I see what Jesus was getting at. This passage is not primarily about those who are sick or in need of spiritual healing. It’s mainly about those who recognize it and those who do not.

Simply put, do I recognize the weak spots in my life? The main “sickness” to which Jesus refers is sin, which damages and ruptures our relationships with God and others. None of us is perfect. We are all broken in some way, in certain places of our lives. Do we recognize this brokenness, and are we willing to come before the Lord with honesty of heart to seek the healing that only He can give?

TO BE LOOSENED UP FROM...

Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

“…he then said to the paralytic, ‘Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.’ He rose and went home.When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe and glorified God…” (From Matthew 9:1-8)

What do you need to be loosened up from?

The Sacrament of Reconciliation concludes with the Prayer of Absolution, as the priest says, in part, “…I absolve you from your sins.” Simply defined, the word “absolve” means, “to free, release, or loosen one up from.” In this sacrament God desires to loosen us up from whatever binds us. I can’t help but think of these words whenever I read today’s Gospel passage. While illness is definitely not a punishment for sin, this moment in the life of the paralytic serves as a reminder of the power of Christ to completely forgive and cleanse us. Every time we seek and receive forgiveness, it is as if Jesus is saying to us, “get up now and walk, free again.”

After spending one week in I.C.U. and a second week in a regular room on the cardiac floor back in 2004, there came a day when the doctor said to me, “go home now and live your life.” I can only imagine how the paralytic of the Gospel must have felt. It took several doctors and nurses to get me to the point of being able to go home again and “live my life.” Coming before Christ to be loosened up, especially, from our sin is nowhere nearly as complicated. We simply need to trust that God’s mercy is limitless. As we stand before the Lord in our brokenness, he invites us, “take my hand, and let me help you to get up and walk again!”