From the Tee Box

A Blog by Father Trey Nelson

"FEASTING WITH GENEROSITY..."

"Feasting with Generosity"

(Wednesday of the First Week of Advent)

Our first reading today from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah is often proclaimed during the funeral liturgy. It is meant to serve as a foreshadowing of the eternal life that is promised to all believers. It is, simply put, an image of heaven. The first 2 verses are particularly moving for me: “on this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples…a feast of rich food and choice wines…” We are promised that one day we will feast at the eternal banquet. How are we “feasting” now though?

One of the realities of life in the 21st century is that we can pretty much attain, define, or find the answer to pretty much anything we want in literally the blink of an eye or the click of a mouse. Place an order. Have it delivered. Shop online. Make reservations. You name it. It is very easy to get away from an Advent type of waiting. An Advent, biblical type of waiting is not the same as waiting in line, waiting on some news from someone about something, and it’s certainly not the same as waiting for a package to be delivered. We can track our packages. Advent invites us to track our lives and the spirit in which we are living. What is our posture, if you will, before God, in response to everything with which we’ve been blessed, and, most importantly, toward those who are needy? Our approach to the table of plenty in this life is meant to be one that welcomes others to that table.

FOR REFLECTION: Does the generosity bestowed upon me feed the needs of others?

"BLESSED ARE THE EYES THAT HAVE SEEN..."

"Blessed are the Eyes that Have Seen"

(Tuesday of the First Week of Advent)

About a month ago, I came to the decision, that, in order for me to achieve a deeper sense of peace and calm on a day to day basis, I needed to get up earlier. Like many people, I was already getting up early. Now, however, I’m adding an extra hour to an hour-and-a-half to my morning. The routine is usually the same. After I’m up and moving, I make coffee. I take my puppy outside and go for a good walk. Many mornings lately, it has been cold and some days damp and foggy. As the minutes progress, the sun comes up and the dreariness goes away. My morning prayer time is better now. On some mornings I move a little slower, especially if the day before ended late. Most days, however, I have a deeper sense of calm and clarity of thought.

In today’s Gospel Jesus tells his disciples, “...blessed are the eyes that see what you see...” This didn’t mean that they were more important than others or that a relationship with Jesus was meant for only a select few. It was a reminder that their perspective had shifted and their vision broadened. This happened, in part, because they consciously left things behind and made the journey with him.

As followers of Christ we are called to a embrace a certain type of vision. It’s a vision that helps us to see beyond the fog and the dreariness, beyond those things that tempt us to be people of division rather than charity. It’s a type of vision that we need on a daily basis in order to live life and be happy. In order for this to happen, though, we need to consciously “leave certain things behind.” Prophets and kings, as Jesus says, longed to hear and see what the disciples heard and saw, but something got in the way. They were blinded, their vision, at least, blurred.

What can you do to see and hear God more clearly each day?

"LORD, I AM NOT WORTHY..."

"LORD,I AM NOT WORTHY..."

(Monday of the First Week of Advent)

A few years ago, a young man in college at the time looked at me and asked, “do you think it’s normal to feel guilty sometimes about what you’ve been given?” His question made it clear to me that he was well aware of much of how he had been blessed: by his parents, friends, through the achievements that he had accomplished, all flowing from God. I had never been asked that question before, especially by someone so young. I simply said in reply, “...you know you’re blessed. You know that your life is a gift. Just accept it as a gift and live simply, humbly...”

In part, that conversation was about our struggle with unworthiness. I recall it today in light of our Gospel reading. When the words of the Mass changed a few years ago, one of the oddest-sounding changes was the one that flows from Jesus’ encounter with the centurion. This exchange also centers, in part, around a feeling of unworthiness. We pray these words every time we celebrate Mass. It use to read, as we all know, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word, and I shall be healed.” Now, the words are, “Lord, I am not worthy for you to enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”This is a prayer that acknowledges what is about to happen; namely, the intimate encounter with God in holy communion, in reception of Eucharist. Such a gift is beyond our understanding. If we stop and think about it, we may not feel worthy for the Lord to “enter under our roof and within our mind, body, and soul.” But he comes anyway. Because he loves us.

We come here to be fed. When we leave here, we are called to feed others. The question then becomes, “will I welcome others under my roof as readily as I welcome Jesus in this sacrament?”