From the Tee Box

A Blog by Father Trey Nelson


Wednesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

“Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, ‘Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: 'The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.'" (From Matthew 10:1-7)

The term “lost” is, in part, defined as, “…no longer belonging to…or ending in defeat.” There are a couple of things running through my mind today. If you find yourself feeling like you’re a loser or that you have nothing to contribute or that life has defeated you, please recall God’s promise that this is simply not true. You are a creation beyond human measure. It’s just, that, there are some days when we experience setbacks. That’s all they are. Setbacks. We will recover.

At the same time, I’m asking myself, who are the “lost” in my life? Who’s the person who feels more excluded, rather than included? The person who feels as if life has worn them down so much, that they don’t know if they can recover or not? Who is the person who feels as if they have lost their way and don’t know what to do next? In his words today, Jesus was very clear with the disciples as to the reality that there would be those who would not be open to them. His instruction to them was to seek out those who feel alone, those who feel “less than” their neighbor, those who wanted to know that things would get better.

My guess is, that, to give someone this kind of hope does not require a whole lot. Often it’s just a simple gesture of kindness and the offering of our time. Who might need this from us, so that they can end the day feeling a little less lost?


Memorial of St. Benedict, Abbot: Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

“The crowds were amazed and said, ‘Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.’ But the Pharisees said, ‘He drives out demons by the prince of demons.’ (From Matthew 9:32-38)

It seems that all those who met Jesus and witnessed his works found him to be a curious character, to say the least. There was a significant difference, however, between various groups. The Pharisees, unlike others, were simply not open to him. They were curious about him, for sure, but they were also envious and, most of all, they were intimidated by him and afraid of him. Many, if not all of them, never seemed to be able to get beyond this.

I doubt if any of us finds Jesus Christ to be intimidating, but we are probably aware that to submit ourselves to him, to his grace and mercy, requires making ourselves vulnerable. And this can be scary. Even though we know that he can take us to a better place, we are sometimes, perhaps, reluctant to go there. Again, it’s not because we are afraid of him or intimidated by him. It’s often because change can be frightening, especially if it requires letting go of something that we’re use to and making ourselves more vulnerable to God’s redemptive power.

Ask yourself one simple question today: is Christ inviting you to go in a direction that you are reluctant to go? Forgiveness and letting go of bitterness. Changing a bad behavior. Being healthier. Returning to church, to the sacraments.  Putting off that one thing that could get you to a better place.  And, if you are reluctant, ask yourself why.


Monday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

“…Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, ‘Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.’ And from that hour the woman was cured.…” (From Matthew 9:18-26)

Today’s Gospel scene presents us with 2 miracles. An official’s daughter is healed, as is a woman who had been “suffering hemorrhages for twelve years.” In all, this is a relatively short passage. This should not, however, cause us to miss the significance of what happens. The miracle beneath the miracle, as some call it, is the faith of the 2 main characters. They knew that it was Jesus to whom they needed to go for healing. Beneath their pain there was the gift of desire. Along with trust, this led them to a new place, a better place.

One of the life lessons that I recall being imparted to me during high school was the simple, “no one can make you want anything” reality. Coaches, teachers, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart all said this to us many times. I even recall my father saying to me, “son, you’ve got to want it.” A beautiful reminder of this is contained in Preface IV for Weekday Mass, which reads, “You have no need of our praise, yet our desire to thank You is itself Your gift. Our prayer of thanksgiving adds nothing to Your greatness, but makes us grow in Your grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”Thomas Merton also writes, in Thoughts in Solitude, “…I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you…” He then concludes with, “and I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing…” Perhaps we can make this our prayer today, that our desire to be bound more closely with Christ grow stronger each day.