From the Tee Box

A Blog by Father Trey Nelson

"NOT EVERYBODY'S A GOOD GUY..."

Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin: Friday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

“Jesus said to his apostles… ‘when they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.’” (From Matthew 10:16-23)

Whenever asked to offer advice to someone who is seeking counsel, I always try to offer something that I believe in and something that works. I have always found great consolation in the belief, that, “for the person of faith, what you need to do will be revealed to you.” Whether it’s a parent trying to work through a difficult experience with their child, or a college student trying to discern their future and their purpose in life, we all need to be reminded that the ability to move forward is rooted in faith. Personally, I have found this helpful when dealing with difficult people or people who seem to be purposely standing against us.

Jesus offers a similar reminder to the apostles in today’s passage. He states for them a very harsh reality; namely, that they will encounter difficult, selfish, and hurtful people. For all of you West Wing fans out there, I am reminded of that scene in which Danny, a reporter, says to C.J. the press secretary, that she needed to be careful, because, “not everybody’s a good guy.” He was reminding her of the reality that some reporters employ good ethics but some do not. Whenever we face people who are difficult in this way, we may want to use the “grip ‘n rip” approach, but this rarely works. It usually just serves to escalate the situation. Remaining prayerfully calm, taking a deep breath, and trying to allow God to work through us is the safest, surest way through a painful encounter with difficult situations and difficult people.

LESS IS MORE...

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.

WHO ARE THE LOST...

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?