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A Blog by Father Trey Nelson


Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Moses, hearing the voice of the Lord from the burning bush, said to him, "When I go to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' if they ask me, 'What is his name?' what am I to tell them?" God replied, "I am who am." (From Exodus 3:13-20)

During Mass, these past couple of days, I have been recalling a memory from my childhood. I have been thinking about the movie, “The Ten Commandments.” As I recall, it use to air every year on Easter Sunday night. I remember the scene in which Moses, played by Charleton Heston, is standing before the burning bush in the presence of God, and the voice of the Lord says, “remove thy sandals, for you are on sacred ground.” The special effects were nowhere near what they are today, but it was still a powerful moment.

The idea of sacred ground or holy ground has always been a powerful one for me. I sometimes wonder, though, if some people have lost a sense of the sacred in their lives. I know that I sometimes have to consciously stop and remind myself of the sacred.  Areas such as church, prayer, sexuality, how we dress for certain occasions, whether we say “yes sir” or “no Mam” have always been areas of life in which we knew and acknowledged the sacred. But sometimes it seems that we run the risk of being so busy, preoccupied, and maybe even selfish, that we lose a sense of “being on sacred ground” when we are simply interacting with other people. Something as routine as saying “hello” or asking someone how their day is going serves to acknowledge that we value the other person and the moment. Whether it’s an obviously sacred moment, like, being at the family table or being in church, or a routine moment, like brightening the day of the person behind the check-out register, we are given numerous opportunities to consciously acknowledge the sacred nature of everyday life. In doing so, we help others to feel that they are more than just another person, more than just another item on our to-do list.

So, the next time we find ourselves sitting with a friend for coffee, trying to deliberate our way through a staff meeting, or dealing with a difficult person, or the next time that someone chooses to confide in us and share their pain with us, perhaps it would be good to stop and remind ourselves to reverence the moment and the people in it.

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Wednesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

At that time Jesus exclaimed: "I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.” (From Mathew 11:25-27)

One of the statements that I have heard from mentors, coaches, and teachers as far back as I can remember is, “you never cease being a student, you never stop learning.” I’m sure this comes as no surprise to any of you. In my 8 years here at Saint Jude I have learned more about myself than I could ever expected. I have learned more about my strengths, and I have learned about weaknesses of which I was not aware, my personal “blind spots” if you will. This part has not always been easy, being honest with myself about where and how I need to grow. Still, I try to accept this awareness as a gift.

The words of Jesus today are an urging for us to remain “childlike” in the sense that we remain open to continually learning and growing. While we may get to the point of having learned a lot: about ourselves, about the world, and about life, we never get to the point of having learned it all.

Help us to see our blind-spots, O Lord, and allow You to shed light upon them. Amen.

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Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For, if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.” (From Mathew 11:20-24)

First, it would be worthwhile to read the full text of today’s Gospel along with this reflection. I am including the link to the USCCB website and the readings for the day. You should be able to either click on it or copy and paste it into your browser. I recommend that you read the text first:

I am reminded of an adage, first shared with me many years ago by my late friend and colleague, Judy Stewart, “…Jesus wants followers, not just admirers.” Which of the 2 are we? I think of this, because in today’s Gospel passage, Jesus chastises 3 communities: Chorazin, Bethsaida and especially Capernaum. They were not as receptive to him as he had hoped. He plainly tells them that there were other towns, pagan towns, to be specific, who would have eagerly accepted him, had he spent time with them.

Jesus confronts us today through this passage. Unfortunately, many of us who have heard of and known of him since childhood, at times take his Word and our faith for granted. Whereas, more than likely, there are those who, never having had Christ preached to them, would openly and eagerly welcome his message. The challenge for us, perhaps, and the very pointed question that we might want to consider is simply this: do I still desire to hear God’s Word in a new way and to be continually transformed by it, or has the newness worn off?

Are we followers of Christ or simply admirers only?

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