Scripture Reflections

In Spring Quarter 2021 we're featuring weekly reflections on the Sunday readings from voices in the Seattle University community. 

Contact JoAnn Lopez (lopezjo@seattleu.edu) if you would like to write a reflection for an upcoming Sunday!

Each Scripture reflection below includes a link to the daily Scripture readings from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' website. Audio recordings of the readings are available within the linked pages for the respective day's readings.

Check out additional links on the sidebar to help you enter into prayer and reflection during these days, including submitting your prayer request to be remembered by our community. 

At the bottom of this page you'll find the link to older scripture reflections for each week, including from previous quarters, where we featured daily scripture reflections and video preaching. 

June 6: Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Posted by Campus Ministry on June 6, 2021 at 8:06 AM PDT

 

Two people hold hands during mass.

View Scripture Readings

The set of readings for today come up at an interesting time. We celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ while living in a time during the pandemic in which consuming the Blood of Christ is not safe for us. Yet I am reminded that there are many people around the world who are not able to consume the Blood regardless of being in a pandemic or not. Therefore, celebrating this beautiful Solemnity has made me question what it means to consume the real presence of Christ present within the Body and Blood.

In the second reading, Paul names Christ as “mediator of a new covenant.” Christ offers Himself to us within the Eucharist as a physical sign of relationship, the constant sacrament of God’s desire to be united with us. This interpretation of the covenant that Christ brings, is rooted in intimate union with humanity. No longer is God the distant figure desiring relationship but Christ invites us to recognize God’s closeness to us. The Eucharist is the new covenant of celebrating that proximity and relationship with God who resides within the Eucharist and within the community that gathers to celebrate – indeed, God is present to us in each other. I find it beautiful that as Christ celebrates the Eucharist in community, we become connected to God and to one another – I see this beautifully marked in the Gospel, as Jesus celebrates this connection through the intimacy of sharing a song with the disciples at table.

It is an image of intimacy that causes me to reflect on whether not sharing one part of the Eucharist affects our relationship with God and with each other, or if there is an effect at all when we do not consume the Blood of Christ. While Christ is fully present within both species of the Body and the Blood, I feel that we often tend to get lost on monopolizing or objectifying the Eucharist when we only consider the species of the bread, the Body of Christ. However, the importance of the Eucharist lies in its celebration, which involves both God and the people. The community makes the Eucharist important as a sign of our connectedness through our participation in the sacrament, which forms us into the Body of Christ, sacrament of God’s love in the world. Even if we cannot directly consume both species, we are nonetheless bound together to God and to each other which is to be celebrated. I hope that as we continue to persevere through the pandemic, we can be comforted in our connection to God and to one another. On this Solemnity, let us consider: How are we invited to make the Eucharist a celebration? How do we experience God’s desire to be in relationship through our encounters with one another?

 

~ Tayz Hernandez,  B.A. in Theology and Psychology, Class of 2021

 

May 30: Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Posted by Campus Ministry on May 30, 2021 at 12:05 PM PDT

a foggy view of mountains and clouds

View Scripture Readings

On this important national holiday, Memorial Day, we reverently remember those who served our country in times of war and paid the ultimate price for that service – they paid with their very lives.  It is heartbreaking to think about the sacrifice of those individuals as well as the unending sacrifice of their families. Mine is one of these families as we still mourn the loss of our cousin who died in Vietnam. It is our call as Christians to remember those who have died in military service to America, keep their families in prayer, and serve our veterans with compassion. 

Strangely, the solemnity of this national holiday is juxtaposed with the joyful nature of the liturgical holiday that we are observing – Trinity Sunday.  Trinity Sunday celebrates the triune God we worship, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; in more contemporary and inclusive language, we might refer to the three persons of the Trinity as Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.  In Seattle University Ignatian Silent Retreats, we oftentimes describe the Trinity as perfect mutuality of divine belovedness, which spilled over into creation.  This belovedness is what created you and me, so it is our very essence!  We are meant to work as co-creators with God, also pouring this divine love into the world – a world that is clearly deeply troubled and in need of healing.  The fact that we are currently observing Memorial Day brings this unfortunate reality into high relief.

How do we recognize the “spirit of slavery,” as St. Paul describes it – both as individuals and as a global community – which causes us to live as communities of fear?  It is this same spirit within us that allows us to forget our interconnectedness with one another and the planet, which makes war and violence possible.  However, St. Paul says that we are all siblings, children of this living, loving God and as such, we are “joint heirs with Christ,” rejoicing in the glory of God’s reign and our freedom from fear!  This is the great Christian paradox, that we are living in God’s reign, which is both present in the here and now and which is also still woefully incomplete.  Particularly on solemn days like this one, we must live as God’s adopted children, bringing peace, love, and compassion into this world that still aches with conflict and division.  It is my prayer that Jesus’s words reassure us today as they must have reassured his disciples. Christ is with us until the end, always summoning us to be creative belovedness in this world and working with us to bring the Trinitarian reality of love and peace to fruition.

On this day and every day may the souls of all our departed soldiers rest in peace and may their families experience the peace of God, the love of their communities, and the support of all Americans.

 

 ~ Words by Erin Beary Andersen, Associate Director of Campus Ministry

May 23: Pentecost Sunday

Posted by Campus Ministry on May 23, 2021 at 8:05 AM PDT

A palm tree sways in the wind in a photograph with the sun rising over a mountain town with houses in the background

View Scripture Readings

Suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind

In Paul Simon’s song, Graceland, he sings, “Everybody feels the wind blow.” True enough.

But what’s up with wind? We all feel it blow. We all see it blow. In my own experience, the wind even exerts a sort of subconscious—yet powerful—influence over my mood and feelings. A gusty morning gives me a sort of dreary feeling, while a slow afternoon breeze can lend an elevating mood. The evidence of the wind’s effects on the spirits of human beings permeates our collective culture and art. Paul Simon’s Graceland is just the tip of the iceberg.

 Do you ever wish the Spirit came to you like a gust of wind from the heavens? … I do. If you are a similar human to me, you are probably attracted to the dramatic tension of the wind on a stormy night, and also the dramatic tension of the “winds of change”—that is to say, the excitement of a movement. This Pentecost, we near the anniversary of the movement against the carceral state, as ignited by the murder of George Floyd. That movement hit me like a strong driving wind from the heavens. But winds subside.

 “And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”

 Ah… We carry the wind with us. We carry the wind of Christ with us with each passing breath. The Holy Spirit comes like a strong driving wind, but also in the breath of Christ. The breath of a friend, of a mentor, of our God. The winds of change blow in like a passing storm, but the breath of Christ remains. It remains in community leaders, in organizers, in our preachers and philosophizers. It remains in Indigenous and Black communities. It remains in Black womxn and womxn of color especially.

 Let this Pentecost be a call to hold up the breath, the work, the voices of all of those in our communities—especially those who are not historically held up, and especially those who are doing the most for Christ—whether explicitly in his name, or not.

Nate Ross, B.S. in Biology, Class of 2021

May 16: Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

Posted by Campus Ministry on May 16, 2021 at 4:05 PM PDT

Black and white image of pedestrians walking on a busy street

View Scripture Readings

This reading from the Gospel of Mark, in which Jesus is taken up by God into heaven marks his final ‘instructions’ to the apostles.  As we know, Jesus was an excellent educator—he knew his followers had many different learning styles long before scholars began theorizing about this in the 1990s.  His was the ‘pedagogy of try everything’, and often the disciples are depicted in the scripture as being the last ones to ‘get it’. He exhorted, told parables, went to dinner with tax collectors, washed the disciples feet.  He creatively showed the disciples his message, transforming their understanding of God through his relationship with them.  He lays out very clearly how they are to proceed on this final journey in their presence. Their status has changed from disciples (the learners) to apostles (the ones who are sent forth).  And, true to form, we are presented with an image of these newly missioned apostles ‘standing there looking at the sky’. I’m reminded of the vintage film, “An Affair to Remember” when the leading lady is struck by a car while crossing the street on her way to meet her lover waiting at the top of the Empire State Building. She says, ‘it was my fault, I was looking up, it was the nearest thing to heaven!’ Obviously, she should not have been looking at the sky. Similarly, the apostles should not have been looking at the sky to find out where Jesus had gone. 

The writer of the letter entreats the readers to look around them to see with ‘eyes of the heart’ in order to follow the mission, the call of Jesus. What do the eyes of the heart see?  These eyes don’t scan the heavens to find Jesus.  The eyes of the heart try to see where Christ is present all around.  Looking for opportunities to follow the mission, to answer the call.  This synchronizes with the teaching of St. Ignatius: our task, as Christians, is to seek God in all things.  We are not asked to seek with the eyes that only find God where they expect to find God, to see exactly what they want see.  Instead, the eyes of the heart seek beyond the familiar and below the expected. Enlighted by God, the eyes of the heart go to the places that people and society submerge under the surface, hiding and forgetting.  The opportunities are all around us to see with the eyes of the heart. Some are common to all of us--systemic oppression of those in the margins of our world is there for all who choose to see.  Some opportunities are near-- friends, family, and classmates are experiencing their own sadness, loneliness, economic problems, attempting to keep them under the surface. Enlighted by God, the eyes of our hearts seek the presence of Christ, not in some far away heaven but embodied and incarnate in this world.

~ Tammy Liddell, Director of Campus Ministry

May 2: Fifth Sunday of Easter

Posted by Campus Ministry on May 2, 2021 at 10:05 AM PDT

A field of tulips in rows of purple, red, and yellow with mountains in the background

View Scripture Readings

Our first reading, from the book of Acts is an incredibly brief summary of the very dramatic tale of Saul, who was later to be known as Paul.  Saul had been known as one who “breathed threats and murder against” (Acts 9:1) the early Jesus followers, so when he tried to join them, they were naturally afraid of him!  However, when they heard the riveting story of Saul’s experience with the Risen Christ and how he was now evangelizing in His name – even to his own peril - they were convinced to bring Saul into their community.  Saul’s experience on the road to Damascus was probably terrifying for him (recall that subsequently, he lived without his sight for three days!) but it was also a life changing experience because his heart was turned toward good by the Living Christ.  It is absolutely incredible to think that you and I are beneficiaries of Paul’s experience, as we read his letters today!

This is what all of our readings today remind us:  If we have had an experience of Jesus, the Risen One, and are changed by it, then we must be able to see the good fruits of this experience in my life and in the world.  “Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth,” writes the author of the First Letter of John.  It is easy see how this translates for the families and communities devastatingly impacted by gun violence in our country.  We have heard members of these communities say to our leaders and politicians that they must stop saying, “You are in our thoughts and prayers,” and actually implement changes necessary to end gun violence.  Let us love in deed and truth… this is his commandment for all of us.

My husband and I used today’s gospel reading for our wedding ceremony, so it holds a very special place in my heart.  This passage from John was not a statement to our community gathered that special day that we have been perfectly “pruned,” so no further work is necessary.  On the contrary, it was a reminder to us that Jesus “remains in” us and we must “remain in” Jesus… It is impossible for the branch to bear fruit when it is separated from the vine!  It is very easy to let life move so quickly that we don’t even notice when we’ve become a lone branch, separate from the Vine, yet still trying to bear fruit.  So, we must stop, notice, and reflect.

It is my prayer for all of us this Easter Season that we might slow down enough to see where God is moving in our lives and giving us the energy and life to bear fruit. May God let our hearts be continually moved by our own Resurrection experiences so that we may more easily follow Christ’s commandment to love one another - in deed and truth.

 

~ Erin Beary Andersen, Associate Director of Campus Ministry

Scripture Reflections from the Seattle University Community

Need prayer support? 

Seeking to have your prayers held in our community? This is a way for us to stay connected as a faith community while we are unable to gather to worship. Be assured that your intentions are being upheld in prayer.