From the Tee Box

A Blog by Father Trey Nelson


Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

The name Zechariah means “God remembers.” This is very consoling for me. At times in my life, during certain moments of trouble, stress, and difficulty, I tend to go through what I call an initial “freak out” phase. During this time, those who give me counsel often tell me, “man, you just have to let go of that.” I think it’s important that we regularly recall God’s track record with us. We have always been protected. We have always been healed, forgiven, and lifted up. And we have always made it through to the other side of a difficult situation.

During this season, scripture presents us with various persons who seem to have been able to stay the course and remember. All too often we forget. Let’s choose to be someone who remembers on a regular basis all that we’ve come through and all that has been done for us. All too often we forget our successful journeys through the valleys of life. While our name may not be Zechariah, may we consciously choose to stop and recall all that we have overcome in life.

FOR REFLECTION: How could I have a little more Zechariah in me?


Monday of the Third Week of Advent

For today’s reflection I would like to share with you something that occurred to me after this past weekend’s homily. I concluded that homily by making the statement, “…as followers of Christ, who is our Light, we are called to learn how to rejoice in the midst of the darkness and uncertainties of life…” When the day ended, I found myself wondering if that was a realistic invitation. Then this morning something occurred to me. For us as Christians, it’s a different kind of rejoicing. It’s not the same as an excited, energetic, jumping up and down type of rejoicing. When we find ourselves standing in a moment of darkness or uncertainty in our life, it is, perhaps, a rejoicing over the victory that we know will come eventually. To quote my friend and colleague, Brother Barry Landry, SC, “…I want to believe that there is a resurrection side to this.” That’s the kind of rejoicing to which we are called, the kind that says, “I might be hurting and afraid right now, but I know that the victory will come.”

FOR REFLECTION: What could it mean for me to rejoice in the midst of my uncertainties?


Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent

Borrowing from the image in today’s Gospel, “…my yoke is easy and my burden light,” (Mt. 11:30), I am reminded of a particular reality; namely, that we bind ourselves to many things every day. We have routines. We have habits, some of which are good, some bad. Some very bad and unhealthy. The good routines help us to stay centered. Father Mike Collins, for example, was a man of regiment. He stuck to his routine, and I believe that was one of the things that helped him to be so effective in his ministry. For many of us, it might be things like coffee, prayer, exercise, and so on. As far as the not so good habits go, we bind ourselves to these things for a variety of reasons. Loneliness. Anger. Depression. Maybe even jealousy or a lack of healthy intimacy in our lives. If we look within the words of Jesus today, the invitation is to “yoke ourselves” to him daily. His promise is that this binding will not be a burden. It will, in fact, be for us just the opposite. It will give us what I like to call clarity of mind and heart, a better sense of direction, and, most of all, a deeper feeling of peace on a day to day basis.

A few months ago, my Mom was having a particularly challenging week. By the time I had arrived for my day off, she had already worked her way through it to a sense of acceptance and a happier state of mind. She told me how she did it. She said, “…so I just decided to sit down with God, and me and God had a little talk. I said, ‘Holy Spirit, you’re gonna need to get me through this…’ and, sure enough, He did…” Thanks, Mom.

For Christ to be “born again” into our hearts and lives throughout the year, we must be willing to honestly examine how we are living, specifically, what we are “yoking ourselves” to and to be willing to let go of whatever it is that weighs us down. As we prepare for Jesus to come into our lives at Christmas through fellowship, worship, and celebration, what might need to “go out of” our lives, so that we can bind ourselves more closely to Him?

FOR REFLECTION: To what am I binding myself every day? And, better yet, why?