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From the Tee Box

A Blog by Father Trey Nelson


Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

“Jesus said to his apostles, ‘Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick.’” (From Matthew 10:7-15)

Yesterday we recalled the naming of the Apostles and Jesus instructing them to make the proclamation, “the kingdom of God is at hand!” Today’s passage picks up there and then goes on to guide them in how to do this. The key practice imparted in his words today? Detachment. Truly, less is more.

Every time that I pack for a trip, whether it be for one night or one week, I find myself not only asking, “what do I need to bring?” but also, “what can I do without?” I’m a guy who likes to travel as light as possible, but there’s always the tension of “how much stuff to bring.” We experience a similar tension in day to day living as Christians. Seeking a balance when it comes to our “things” of this world is always going to be a challenge, but this is what we, like the apostles, are instructed to do.

Consider whether or not something is weighing you down, something that keeps you from living life as you are called to live it. We are on a journey from God back to God, and the sooner we get the true meaning of “less is more” the sooner we will realize the sacredness of the journey and the time that we have to make it.

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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?

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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.

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