Scripture Reflections

This page will be updated with daily Scripture reflections from members of the Seattle University community while Mass offerings are suspended at the Chapel of St. Ignatius. For updates and additional information on Mass offerings at the Chapel, visit the Campus Ministry home page. Check out additional links on the sidebar to help you enter into prayer and reflection during these days.

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.

 

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April 2: Memorial of St. Francis of Paola, Hermit

Posted by Campus Ministry on April 2, 2020 at 6:04 AM PDT

Image of many small, purple flowers growing around the base of a tree's trunk.

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It seems appropriate in this time of responsible distancing to look to the life of St. Francis of Paola. In the mid-fifteenth century he followed the simple path of St. Francis of Assisi, living as a vegan and promoting non-violence. He felt close to God and experienced great peace when he lived apart from the world. At the same him he engaged with the world to promote simplicity, peace, care for all living creatures, and devotion to God. This is a timely message for us at this time when so much scarcity is exposed in our world, especially the disparity in access to health care and financial resources that are putting people’s lives at risk. This time of isolation and sacrifice can be for many a source of fear and constant anxiety each day. As our lives are filled with these very real worries we look to the words of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel. He lovingly encourages his followers to not be afraid and to trust in the great abundance of God’s love. Paul, while he was suffering alone in prison, encourages the community Philippi to be hopeful, as he was hopeful, looking beyond his suffering and anticipating the resurrection. Paul sets himself as an example of one whose life is not perfect, but who is striving to be like Jesus and live in hope. The memorial of St. Francis, the readings from Paul in prison, the reminder that I am a member of Christ’s “little flock”—all of these help me to use my imagination to see beyond todays isolation and tension. To imagine what it is like to balance contemplation and action in small ways, to remember those in unchosen isolation in prison, to reach beyond today’s scarcity into the immeasurable treasure of God’s love.

 

Tammy Liddell, Director of Campus Ministry

April 1: Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Posted by Campus Ministry on April 1, 2020 at 6:04 AM PDT

In the wake of what is likely to be an historic pandemic, COVID-19 (Coronavirus), there has been a mishandling of leadership both from the administration and from church governance that has caused widespread panic and confusion, as evidenced in the plunging stock market, emptied grocery stores, and trite social media posts about “having faith.” Coronavirus is at the forefront of our collective imaginations as information regarding its impact is daily changing and we are adjusting to new ways of communicating and interacting in the world. Schools and houses of worship are closed as are restaurants and bars, and as businesses try to stay afloat, many folks are working around the clock to make sure seniors and other vulnerable populations are contacted and cared for. Yet despite repeated warnings and even executive orders, churches and other large groups are still gathering, hundreds of college students are still swimming at beaches with no regard for social distancing, and even this administration with all its hubris is failing to model best practices and worse yet expressing more concern for the economy than for the people.

How else can we explain our nation’s states being forced to battle and outbid each other over lifesaving medical gear or faithful parishioners continuing to worship in person in gatherings of hundreds for fear their salvation is somehow at stake. What we find is that sometimes our leaders want us to serve their self-interests and bow down to the gods they have erected rather than to the God who created us. Before our lives would be spared, they want us to profess the goodness of their name and their glory rather than the Glory of God in the highest.

This is certainly the case in our reading today where we learn about the three wise Hebrew men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who King Nebuchadnezzar has appointed over all the affairs of Babylon. One minute these three men are wise in Nebuchadnezzar’s eyes, the next he is throwing them into the fiery furnace because they refuse to bow down to his idols. And bow down they would not. Many times, this scripture is taken to mean if we have faith even the size of a mustard seed, anything we ask for will be granted to us by God in heaven. Certainly, the words of these three men seem to suggest just that as they declare to the King with boldness, “If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us!” But these three men seem to understand that the God we serve is not a genie lamp that we can rub, and our wishes will be granted. The God we serve is not a vending machine where we get to insert faith and out comes our reward. No, these three Hebrew men are indeed wise as they surrender their future to God. They have done all they can to stand, but they do not tie God’s hands. Instead they declare, even if God will not save us, we will not serve your god or worship anything but the Lord.

Maybe this scripture is about faith, but what I see here is resistance. It’s resistance to oppressive forces that would have us believe in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak that it’s “every man for himself.” It’s resistance to the idea that the elderly are expendable so long as our economy gets back on track. Resistance is having the courage to wake up every morning. It’s facing another day of uncertainty. Resistance is being true to that which we value most. It’s not letting our fears override our sense of hope for the future or our enduring belief in a God who will always be with us even in the darkest of times.

 

 

Rev. Victoria Carr-Ware, Ecumenical and Multifaith Campus Minister

March 31: Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 31, 2020 at 6:03 AM PDT

An image of a tealight set against darkness, illuminating a small circle of light around it.

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In today’s first reading, we have a story about affliction and deliverance. The Israelites find themselves tormented by serpents, which, we are told, “bit the people so that many of them died” (Nm. 21:5). When Moses brings the Israelites’ cry for an end to their suffering to God, God responds by telling the Israelites to build a statue of the serpent and mount it on a pole. Anyone who is bitten by a serpent should look at the statue and would be healed. And so that’s what they did. And it worked.

What to make of this curious story? Would that we could simply build a statue of coronavirus such that anyone afflicted by this insidious disease might be cured simply by looking at it. Unfortunately, this is not the nature of the deliverance available to us in this moment. So what wisdom does this story have to offer us today?

Today’s reading reminds us that there is wisdom in visibility. There are fearsome corners of our hearts and of our society that rarely see the light of day and yet continue to afflict us with suffering. Moments of challenge, like this collective one where we find ourselves now, have a tendency to put under fluorescent light those things we would rather keep in shadow. We see this on both individual and societal levels. As an individual, I have felt my fears and anxieties raging in recent weeks, and many of my own unskillful habitual responses have been cast in sharp relief. On a collective level, this crisis has illuminated in glaring detail countless toxicities built into our system. We are suddenly confronted with the truth of our interconnectedness as issues like lack of affordable healthcare and housing threaten to snowball an already inconceivable crisis.

Today’s reading asks us to bring those parts of ourselves we would rather not look at—those places where we need healing—into view, so that, together with God, we might begin to heal them. “Hide not your face from me,” the psalmist writes, “in the day of my distress” (Ps. 102). Just as God does not turn away from us in our shadows, so, too, we might approach those corners of our lives and society that are asking for healing with a spirit of tenderness and curiosity, but also with an unwavering commitment to not look away.

Where would you like to invite healing into your life and the life of the world?

 

Anna Robertson, Campus Minister for Retreats

March 30: Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 30, 2020 at 6:03 AM PDT

purple crocuses bloom between rocks and dead leaves

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Today we’re confronted by two stories of women being threatened with violent death. In the first reading, it is clear the charges are false, and the witnesses and judges are blinded by their own interests. Luckily, like in any good story, Susanna is vindicated at the last moment by God through Daniel, who saves the day by trapping Susanna’s accusers in their own lies. The tables are turned, and the villains are severely punished. A satisfying conclusion to a disturbing tale.  

In the Gospel things progress rather differently. Unlike in the first reading, we don’t know all the details and circumstances about this woman – we don’t even know her name! Her accusers say she was “caught in the very act,” but she is brought forward without her purported partner. We might wonder if she really was guilty, or if she, like Susanna, was caught up in some greater scheme by her accusers. After all, we are told that the entire spectacle is designed to trap Jesus into charges that would condemn him.

As I imagine the crowd gathering around her, I want Jesus to get angry. To call out the injustice of those who victimize and shame women. To shepherd her away from the judgmental eyes. To rail against the double standards that has the woman condemned while a man goes free. To be vindicated before the people who were trying to trick him. I want Jesus to punish all the villains of the story, like a true hero.

Then I remember: Jesus is not that kind of savior. Like the disciples before me, I fall easily into the trap of wanting Jesus to be a swashbuckling superhero, triumphing easily over his enemies with his brilliance, power, and might. Instead today, I see Jesus bending down and straightening up repeatedly, writing on the ground while the woman stands in the middle of the crowd. Keeping my eye on Jesus, I see that he continually displaces himself away from those that look at this woman with judgement. I hear him reminding those gathered to search their own hearts before condemning, until finally, when the crowd is gone, he straightens up and looking at the woman, enters into a dialogue with her, saying “neither do I condemn you.”  

Jesus does not come to perpetuate the same violent systems that dominate our world, but to expose, subvert, and end them, just like he does in the Gospel today. Jesus lives wholeheartedly committed to the God’s reign of love and inclusion, and turns the world of judgement and violence upside down, entering into the plight of those who suffer and are shamed (just like when he bends down to the ground). In his interactions with this woman, Jesus treats her with dignity, and reveals to us a God of compassion, who desires relationship and reconciliation, not condemnation.

Jesus (whose very name means “God Saves”) is a different kind of savior than we expect. I’m struck as I read this Gospel passage, that in a few days we will encounter Jesus himself being put on trial and condemned to death. He too will have witnesses speak against him, and will be surrounded by crowds that seek to kill him. In this Fifth Week of Lent, staying with the stories of these women caught up in unjust trials, we treasure this truth: there is no reality of our suffering that Jesus does not desire to enter into, accompany us in, and transform.

How does Jesus desire to enter into and transform our suffering today? How does God seek to disrupt the systems of judgment, violence, and death in our world? Where (and with whom) will we choose to place ourselves today, and in the days ahead? 

 

JoAnn Lopez, Campus Minister for Liturgy and Resident Minister in Campion Hall

March 29: Fifth Sunday of Lent

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 29, 2020 at 6:03 AM PDT

As I sit at home grieving, on a small scale, the loss of normalcy that COVID-19 has forced on my life and, on a large scale, the heartbreaking loss of vitality it has forced on the world and especially on the most vulnerable among us, I am comforted by the humanity Jesus shows in today’s gospel. After Jesus hears from Martha and Mary that their brother Lazarus is ill (Jn 11:3) and witnesses Mary and her friends weeping at his feet for Lazarus who lies dead in the tomb, he becomes “perturbed and deeply troubled” (Jn 11:33) and weeps (Jn 11:35). In this interaction with Mary, Jesus reveals himself as distinctly human: just as Mary weeps and wails and laments her loss, so too does Jesus. In light of our present context of global suffering, hardship, and loss, we must remember that Jesus is beside us always, accompanying us in our pain as he accompanied Mary in hers.

When we realize that Jesus, who is “the resurrection and the life” (Jn 11:25) on whom we pin our hope and try to model our lives, experiences pain and sadness and still demonstrates great power by raising people like Lazarus from the dead, we can free ourselves from the myth that grief is a sign of weakness and incompatible with our ability to hope and power for doing good. As people made in the image of God who are the hands and feet of Christ on Earth, we have the capacity to mourn like Mary, to hope like Martha (Jn 11:24), and to act like Jesus. As we continue to weather this crisis of pandemic, let us ask ourselves: How can we accompany each other in our grief and fear? How can we maintain hope? Where can we direct our resources to alleviate suffering? And above all, how can we can use our God-given power for good?

 

 

Olivia Digiorno, Class of 2021

March 27: Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 27, 2020 at 6:03 AM PDT

‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted,” the Psalmist writes in today’s scriptures, “and those who are crushed in spirit God saves.” 

I’ve been armoring myself against heartbreak a lot these days. Perhaps you can relate? Each morning, I find myself having to resist the urge (at times unsuccessfully) to rush to my phone and begin scrolling, taking in the news from the wider world and my more personal one. I can feel my mind making constant calculations: am I going to make it out of this unscathed?

A few days ago, after a sobering conversation with my roommate about the spread of coronavirus, I sat down on my floor and let some of the fear and anxiety I had been carrying in my chest melt into tears as I allowed the realization to wash over me that there’s no making it out of this unscathed. It wasn’t that in that moment I had some sudden foreknowledge about my future fate; rather, as I put down the armor around my heart, I began to acknowledge all of the ways that this pandemic has already touched me and, though I don’t know exactly how, will continue to do so.

The realization came as a release and, as it washed over me with the kind of mysterious consolation that accompanies even the bitterest of truths, I found myself sinking into the ground of a reality that had not been accessible when I had been armoring my heart against its breaking—the reality of my inseparable connection to all life on this planet. The very heartbreak against which I had been bracing myself became a portal, and in that moment I sensed my connection to every other person who has experienced heartbreak.

I think that’s why God is close to the brokenhearted—it’s because the brokenhearted let God get close. The world offers us many ways to buffer our hearts against being broken. In ordinary times, we can choose from an endless array of consumer distractions to keep our experience of heartbreak at bay. We all have our ways of doing it—for me, it’s filling up every waking hour with social commitments, or squeezing in that unnecessary Target run, or scrolling endlessly on my Instagram feed. And the world offers us no shortage of causes for heartbreak. But the thing about buffers is that they don’t only keep heartbreak at a distance, they also buffer us from ourselves, each other, and from God. In the era of coronavirus, many of us are finding ourselves face-to-face with big and small heartbreaks, and suddenly without access to many of our traditional coping mechanisms. Today’s psalm invites us to make space for our heartbreak with the trust that our broken hearts might be portals—portals through which we find one another, and through which God finds us.

How is your heart today? When was the last time you let yourself feel it break?

 

Anna Robertson, Campus Minister for Retreats

March 26: Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 26, 2020 at 6:03 AM PDT

John 3:16 is one of the most well-known scriptures in the Christian tradition, yet often it’s taken out of context, used to condemn and exclude those who don’t believe in the way we think they should, look the way we think they should, or even love in the way we think they should.  But I wonder what would happen if we read on down to verse 17 and the words of Christ Jesus that remind us that the love of God for us knows no bounds? How might this transform our understanding of God from one who punishes and subdues to one who welcomes and affirms? The love of God for us is so powerful and strong and mighty that God is willing to go beyond what any of us could even think, do, or imagine: to sacrifice God’s own son, not to condemn, but to bring us closer.  Isn’t that amazing?

Scripture tell us there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus and that’s what verse 17 reveals, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”  Jesus does not condemn.  God does not exclude. The God of many names and the God that cannot be named does not oppress nor relegate people to the margins.  Not members of the LGBTQ community, not persons with disabilities, not refugees, immigrants, or asylum seekers, not Asians and Asian-Americans blamed for coronavirus. No. God does not exclude. So why do we? God so loved the world that God does not condemn those we seek to exclude. What’s more, as much as we can’t seem to understand it, God does not condemn even those of us who have excluded or harmed others with our actions and deeds.  God does not condemn those who have gone astray like the Israelites in our Exodus reading today who have turned away from God’s requirements.  Instead God so loved the world that God gives us a chance to get it right, to offer an expansive, inclusive, justice-oriented love.

And so my friends, how might we be invited to get it right in the midst of COVID-19, as coronavirus takes up space in the forefront of our collective imaginations? Who are the ones who have given so extravagantly for us, literally providing for us as a matter of life and death? I think of the migrant farm workers, sanitation workers, transit workers, first responders, healthcare workers, the cleaning crews, grocery workers, and factory workers. I think of the ones many look down upon, the ones whose honest work is disparaged, the ones who are often forgotten. But God so loved the world that God gives us a chance to get it right. 

What does it look like, then, to live in solidarity with those who risk their lives for our sake, and not in some ethereal spiritual concept of unity, but in a concrete, day-to-day, tangible sense? What does the Lord require us to give?

 

Rev. Victoria Carr-Ware, Ecumenical and Multifaith Campus Minister

March 25: Solemnity of the Annunciation of Our Lord

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 25, 2020 at 6:03 AM PDT

Life is presenting us with an unprecedented amount of news, emotional and economic disruption, distraction, and personal responsibility for the wellness of others. It is overwhelming and normal to seek out guidance for the possibilities of the future.  

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying: 
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God; 
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky! (IS 7: 10-11) 

In this passage, Isaiah shares that a sign would be God in human form, to be named, “Emmanuel, God is with us.” It was not a hoarding of wealth, it was not ignorance of the world’s problems, it was not the promise that bad things would not happen, but the declaration that God is with you. 

Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will. 
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not, 
but ears open to obedience you gave me. 
Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not; 
then said I, “Behold I come.”  (Psalms 40: 6-8) 

This Psalms shows us what is possible when we’re overwhelmed and our known ways of being in the world are not accessible. Christ’s arrival marked a transition from the known sacrifices that allowed one to connect with God to a direct connection to God through Christ’s presence. This new connection required new ways of engaging in ceremony and ritual, new ways of being in community, and moving forward with a, “yes,” not knowing the outcome.  

Then he says, “Behold, I come to do your will.” 
He takes away the first to establish the second. 
By this “will,” we have been consecrated 
through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.(Hebrews 10: 8-10) 

Christ’s offering ensures that God is with us in the midst of our confusion and frustration. In the Gospel, Mary did not refrain from questioning the angel Gabriel about the expectations of her from God in her contextual reality. She did not seek to be the Mother of Christ, and yet when the announcement came that she was to be with child, she ultimately said yes Our responsibility is to wrestle with our contextual reality, seek the voice of God, and decide how to move forward. I encourage you to find moments of silence and listen to what your inner self and Spirit are telling you. While maintaining physical distancing, enjoy time outside with your available senses and look for ways to connect with your mind, spirit, and body 

What ways are you feeling drawn to connect with others and share your talents? In what ways can you help others?  

Please know that in this time, you are not alone. The scripture makes it clear during times of uncertainty, the presence of God follows with a promise of restoration. Practice proper hygiene for your physical, mental, and spiritual health. You’ve got this, we’ve got this, and God is with us. 

 

Amber Larkin, Temporary Campus Minister for Social Justice

March 24: Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 24, 2020 at 6:03 AM PDT

Health and healing are paramount on most everyone’s minds these days. And this unique moment of crisis has made us all painfully aware of just how interdependent and intertwined our lives are, in good and bad ways. My health and the healthy decisions I make (or fail to make) affect your health, and the health of our natural world. Same goes for the decisions you makeeven the smallest, everyday decisions that you never had to think much about before. This has always been true, but today we can’t avoid this sobering and awesome reality. Today’s readings demonstrate the many symbiotic layers of healing that we need and God’s action and invitation in those realms. 

Imagine Ezekiel’s vision: water flowing out from the Temple, starting as just a trickle, then becoming increasingly deep and wide, until it opens into a flowing river. Ezekiel sits beside it and contemplates the ways in which this water is bringing about a new creation. Wherever the river flows, every creature can live and thrive… every sort of fruit tree will grow…. trees that produce fresh fruit every month, year-round – what abundance, enough for all! And not only nourishment, the trees also produce leaves for medicine! In short, Ezekiel dreams a time when the created world and created beings live into their God-intended fullness of life, mutually supporting and healing each other. God takes the initiative and invites our participation in making this dream come to life. 

In John’s gospel, Jesus walks resolutely among a crowd of those struggling with illnesses of every kind, those yearning and desperate for healing of their whole selvesbody, mind, and spirit. Yet the first thing we discover is that there is a serious breakdown of relationships in this place. This person Jesus engages has been ill for a lifetime, and in all that time, no one helped him access the healing waters. How heartbreaking is that? Jesus, with a word of command, restores this person to mobilityso that he might return to community and fullness of life. Things go awry quickly, though, because this person chooses to use his new health and freedom not for discipleshipto be in right relationship with God and othersbut to escape any personal liability and report Jesus to the religious authorities. We can make different choices: to do what we can to assist those who need access to the healing waters, and to use our health for the benefit of others and the praise of God. 

Friends, this is a time to be extra attentive to ourselves and the web of connections we inhabit. By doing nothing (e.g., staying home) and by doing something (e.g., safely checking in on our vulnerable neighbors or family members), we can ensure health and healing for each other and the world. Todayeven in small ways that make big impacthow else can we be about this divine work of healing the planet, healing our communities, and living with purpose in the health we have been given? 

Bill McNamara, Campus Minister for Liturgical Music

March 23: Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 23, 2020 at 6:03 AM PDT

In our current context of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we are living in incredibly uncertain and anxiety provoking times.  Our Seattle University students are on their annual spring break as usual, but nothing is as normal.  People who are able to work from home are doing so, while others must go into work to keep the crucial functions of our university and our country on track.  For many people of faith, it is particularly painful to be separated from our worshipping communities. Many who can access worship services online find some comfort in that, but it is also deeply saddening to see the livestream of churches and cathedrals empty of their congregations. For those of us who are used to the sacrament of Eucharist on a daily or weekly basis, we now know what it is like to go without. For many of us, the sparseness of the Lenten season has never been so obvious.  We are also acutely aware of the precarious positions of those in our communities who are already on the margins as their situations become increasingly challenging.  All of this can seem overwhelming and create a sense of hopelessness in us. 

But our scripture readings today remind us of something different: while we are in the season of Lent, we are always, as Christians, in a season of hope.  The prophet Isaiah writes, “Thus says the LORD: Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth… there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create…” And the Psalmist praises the Lord because God has “changed [his] mourning into dancing; and forever will [he] give [God] thanks.”  In even the most strange and disconcerting times, God promises God’s people a brighter future! 

Few things are more central to our Christian hope than the heartfelt knowledge that Jesus is active in our individual and communal lives today!  In today’s gospel reading, Jesus returns to Cana of Galilee, where he had performed his first signturning water into wine.  “And his disciples believed in him.” (Jn. 2:11) In our passage, Jesus received the royal official who came all the way from Capernaum, nearly 20 miles away, begging for Jesus to heal his sick son.  Jesus did heal the man’s sonhis second sign.  And so, the official and his whole family believed, as well! (Jn 4:53) 

So, today, let us also believe in the hope that is Jesus Christ.  Without signs, let us believe that through him all things will be made new and that God will turn our mourning into dancing.  In that belief, let us embody the peace of Christ so we may be messengers of his peace and keepers of God’s eternal promise of hope.  Let us pray for the grace to truly believe in Jesus Christ so that we may be his hands and feet in this suffering and anxious world. 

Erin Beary Andersen, Associate Director of Campus Ministry

March 22: Fourth Sunday of Lent

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 22, 2020 at 6:03 AM PDT

 

A person stands in a forest backlit by golden sunlight.

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 (For today’s Sunday reflection we’re trying something new: featuring the music we would have sung at the Chapel of St. Ignatius for this Sunday. You can tune in through the embedded Spotify playlist.)

 

“Keep your eyes on Jesus,” a friend told me, when I said I couldn’t figure out what to make of such a long Gospel story.  So on this Fourth Sunday in Lent, I keep my eyes on Jesus, the Light of the World. Our Gospel is bookended with two moments of Jesus reaching out to the man born blind. First Jesus offers healing touch – making clay from spit and mud, touching the man, bringing sight. Then, much later, when the man is cast out of community, the Gospel says “Jesus found him.” I imagine Jesus, hearing of the rejected man’s plight, and seeking him out. I keep my eyes on Jesus, who reaches out in compassion to encounter, heal, dialogue, to find all who are on the margins and bring them more deeply into the heart love.

Spend a moment picturing Jesus, coming to encounter you – reaching out with healing touch to you – perhaps with an embrace, or a hand in yours. Imagine Jesus coming to seek you out, to talk to you. To be in your company in whatever you are feeling in these days. What do you have to share with Jesus? What does he share with you?

Lord Jesus Christ, your light shines within us, let not my doubts or my darkness speak to me. // Lord Jesus Christ, your light shines within us, let my heart always welcome your love.

“We’re in unchartered territory.” I think I’ve said this about 20 times in the last week to students, colleagues, family and friends. There’s no roadmap, and I can’t quite see the path ahead. Some days I feel calm as I look out to the future – I believe the Holy Spirit is active, can bring something creative and life-giving for us in these days. Sometimes the unknown makes me feel afraid and anxious – I don’t know what will come, I worry about the future for myself, and many others. I listen to the words of scripture today reminding me “You are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.” (Eph. 5:8-9). I pause in my ruminations and return to my heart, paying attention to Christ’s promise of presence in my heart, as light and love. I picture the light that I bear becoming stronger, surrounding me in light, extending outwards into the world, enfolding all the people I care about, and every living being on the planet, in the love of God. I picture that light illuminating the path forward, helping me (and all of us) to make concrete choices in troubled times, choices to be like Christ – choosing what will be best for healing, kindness, inclusion, and what will allow us to live in solidarity with the most vulnerable.

Gently you raise me and heal my weary soul, you lead me by pathways of righteousness and truth, my spirit shall sing the music of your name.// Shepherd me, O God, beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life.

“I’m sad I can’t celebrate the Eucharist,” I said to my spiritual director two weeks ago, when Masses were cancelled. She invited me to consider how I could pray in union with those who often have limited access to the sacraments. So on this Sunday when I would normally be gathered to celebrate Eucharist, I imagine all those who are typically unable to celebrate communion – those who are too sick to travel to church throughout the year; people in prison; immigrants in detention centers; those who live in places without priests to celebrate Eucharist; the folks our Church labels sinners, barred from communion; those who face religious persecution, for whom celebrating Mass together is dangerous. I find my heart opening in new ways to the broken hearted, the isolated, the people around the world who are my family in God, who desire relationship, grace, faith, hope, joy, and peace every day, just like I do. I pray for them, and for myself, that our eyes, ears, and hearts will be open, that we may pay attention to all the ways God is breaking into our world in light and love beyond our imagination.

And the first shall be last// And our eyes are opened// And we'll hear like never before// And we'll speak in new ways// And we'll see God's face in places we've never known.

 

JoAnn Lopez, Campus Minister for Liturgy and Resident Minister in Campion Hall

March 20: Friday of the Third Week of Lent

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 20, 2020 at 6:03 AM PDT

 

Yellow flowers

 

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“Come back to me, with all your heart. Don’t let fear keep us apart. These are the opening lines from the popular hymn “Hosea.” The first reading comes from the Book of Hosea, which tells the story of God, who is constantly calling Israel to return to the relationship they have together. More specifically, the passage for today is the conclusion of the book of Hosea, and we see that Hosea’s story ends on a note of hope for Israel. We hear that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God. God, in fact, is always drawing near to us! The God of Compassion longs to offer us freedom from anything that blocks us from living fully as the beloved. God invites us to turn our hearts towards that which brings life and love. Pause for a moment and reflect: In knowing and trusting God's freely flowing love for you, where is your heart today? What is it focused on? Does it feel divided? Hosea provides us with such rich imagery of being in partnership with God, describing it like the blooming and blossoming of creation. What image of partnership captures your imagination? What does that look like and feel like to you? 

As we continue our Lenten journey and hear God’s call into relationship, what is our response? The invitation before us is one that involves our whole selves. In today’s Gospel, we hear of a scribe who earnestly desires to seek Jesus’ counsel to understand what is at the core of living life with God. Jesus replies that our life with God is rooted in the act of loving, and loving fully. When Jesus states that we are to love with our heart, soul, mind, and strength, Jesus is saying, we are to love with our whole selves. Especially in our city and world today with our current circumstances, what does it look like for you to choose to love God with your heart, soul, mind and strength? What does it look like to choose to love the people around you and those whom you do not even know? What may be holding you back from loving with this fullness? 

The song Hosea finishes with these words: “Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new lives.” Spend some time today talking with God about your relationship and ask God for the grace to continue to respond to God’s deep and abiding love with joy and hope.

 

Megan Kush, Campus Minister for Pastoral Care 

March 19: Solemnity of Saint Joseph

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 18, 2020 at 6:03 PM PDT

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In the middle of the Lenten season, we lift up today in joyful prayer and thanksgiving the model of Joseph, the husband of Mary, who was Jesus’ father during his earthly life.

There are very few stories of Joseph in our scriptures, his life barely visible to us from between lines of the Gospels. Much of who he was is left to our imagination. As I consider him today, I see that Joseph was an ordinary man living in extraordinary times. He was a worker, a person of faith. He was preparing for his own life plans and big celebrations, threshold experiences – marriage, family. He was filled with dreams and imaginings of what his own life would look like through the future. I imagine that he was crushed, disappointed, and felt betrayed, when he found that the future could not come to pass exactly as he imagined it would: the vision of marriage and family, of a typical, ordinary life, must have felt far beyond his reach when he first heard that Mary was pregnant.

As I imagine Joseph, I see him close to my own heart, troubled by the ways that the current COVID-19 crisis continues to change the expectations of our lives. Like Joseph, this event asks that we release expectations of our present and the futures we had imagined for ourselves. For me, my travel plans to visit loved ones have been cancelled; I don’t have the capacity to worship in the ways that I typically find nourishing; the familiar sense of my vocation and work seems to be out of reach; and I worry about vulnerable folks that I know and love. For many of us, the vision we had for how we would spend our time, and the kind of life we would build in the days ahead, seem to be far off. The future feels uncertain and we feel vulnerable. Like Joseph, our dreams for ourselves are changing.

Yet, as Joseph’s own dreams seem to be crumbling, he hears an invitation to a new dream from God, which gives him the capacity to move in a new way for the future when he awakens. The dream begins like this: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid.” These words call to me through the scriptures, offering me insights into who God is and who God calls us to be:

  • God first calls Joseph by name: says to him – I know, personally, and love you. Can we hear God calling us by name today? Enfolding us in love?
  • God reminds Joseph that he is the son of David, who is his ancestor in faith. Today’s readings are full of stories of Joseph’s ancestor’s in faith, who through many generations, “believed, hoping against hope,” that God can bring new life and hope into our world. In these days, how can we honor and remember that we are part of a long line of hope-filled, faithful people, who through many generations have hoped in the power, the guiding light, the healing mercy, and the abundant love of God? Perhaps there are people in our own family and friends that we can look up to, who have weathered hardship and found community, faith, connection, and hope. Or perhaps there are role models in faithfully facing adversity that we admire from history. Today our Church lifts up St. Joseph as one such person. How will we learn from the lives of those who have gone before us? How are we called today to be part of a lineage of love for future generations, continuing to look towards the present and the future with eyes of hope, so that our descendants in faith will believe that they too can stand firm in the face of fear and crisis?
  • God says to Joseph “do not be afraid.” When I hear these words, I think of the many times Jesus said these same words to his disciples, inviting them into a life of faith and trust in God. I wonder if these words from the dream planted so deeply in Joseph’s heart as words of comfort and peace. If he said these words to Jesus throughout his childhood, just as many parents today try to whisper it into the ears and hearts of their children. Fear might be our natural response to these days. Throughout scriptures, God desires to banish fear from our lives, and invites us into living courageously in troubled times, trusting in God’s abiding care for us. What would it look like for us to face our current reality with courage and compassion? How can we ask God for help in navigating our fears and frustrations? How would we like to entrust our lives and the world to God’s care in these days?

In these troubling days, in these Lenten days, let us pause to celebrate and remember this holy ancestor in faith. Let us learn from the story of Saint Joseph, an ordinary person living in extraordinary times, who, as the landscape of his own dreams and future changed, believed that God’s loving dream for us continues, and that God always invites us, in every age, to be people of faithful hope. Let us pray for the capacity to listen deeply to God’s dream for us, and for the grace to wake up and respond in courage and trust. 

 

JoAnn Lopez, Campus Minister for Liturgy and Resident Minister in Campion Hall

March 15: Third Sunday of Lent

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 17, 2020 at 3:03 PM PDT

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Last summer I met with Fr. Colin for coffee and he gave me advice that still to this day keeps me questioning my desires and temptations. Fr. Colin said to me: “Mariah, you are starving, and you need to find something that is going to feed you.” His statement shocked me. I mean, I was not literally starving, though his words made me realize that I was and am still starving spiritually. So the next question is, “What/who is going to satisfy/feed me?” When I reflect on this passage from the Gospel of John, I often feel as an outsider, as though I cannot relate to Jesus or the woman at well. But when I remember what Fr. Colin said to me, I realize that I am like this woman, yearning for what is nourishing. In my past and even now, I have always been aware of my desires and temptations, and how they lead to my actions. These desires and temptations try, for better or worse, to feed me in some way. But just like the woman at the well, I have come to realize that many of these desires and temptations cannot truly satisfy me at the end of the day. I am often left feeling empty inside or starving as Fr. Colin stated, and like the woman at the well I too am intrigued by Jesus’ promise of this so-called living water. I turn to the world to try to satisfy or fill my needs, when in reality God can only satisfy or fill me, and this gives me hope. “Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts…” (Romans 5:5). In every Mass Jesus is poured out to me in the Eucharist, and in this love, I am fed physically and spiritually. How and with what do we feed ourselves? What temptations are leaving us feeling empty at the end of the day? Do we give God the chance to satisfy/feed us?

Mariah Nickerson, Class of 2020

March 10–18, 2020: The Novena of Grace

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 10, 2020 at 8:03 AM PDT

Novena of Grace

Novena of Grace

Each year during Lent, the Chapel of St. Ignatius hosts the Novena of Grace in partnership with the Ignatian Spirituality Center. A novena is nine days of prayer for the particular intentions of our heart, usually asking for the intercession of a saint to assist us in prayer and encounter with God, in this case, St. Francis Xavier, one of the founders of the Jesuits. Each day will feature prayer and powerful preaching to deepen your prayer life. On their website, the ISC describes the Novena of Grace as "a retreat that can be made amid the busyness of daily life." This year, in response to the spread of coronavirus in the Seattle area, the ISC has elected to offer the Novena as an online retreat. From their website: "Be inspired by the preaching of three presenters steeped in the Ignatian tradition and vision, offer up your deepest desires in prayer, and join a faith-filled community virtually. Pray with us any or all of the nine days to experience God’s abundant grace!"

Reflections will be posted every day between March 10 and March 18. To view today's reflections, visit Novena of Grace page at the Ignatian Spirituality Center.

March 9, 2020

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 9, 2020 at 8:03 AM PDT

This post is a student reflection on this past Sunday's Scriptures. 

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Today’s readings remind us of how God wants us to partake in His plans, as the second reading reminds us that God calls us to a holy life, one that He has designed for our salvation. Jesus calls us to be involved with His plans, walking with Him like the Apostles Peter, James, and John did to the Transfiguration.  Abram experiences this call too, as God calls him out of his home to a new land and a new covenant. The scriptures remind me that God’s path requires the best of me.

In my own life, it can be challenging to answer God’s call. Often, I am too busy with classes and work, and God’s path might seem to take me out of my daily life. But perhaps God asks us not only to enter into His glory, but to bring His glory into everything we do. After the Transfiguration, things seemingly go back to “normal.” But to the apostles, everything has changed. Seeing God and His true joy asks us to bring that joy to the world. Like the apostles, the experience of seeing pure joy asks us to serve others in need. 

In this Lenten season, focused on almsgiving and a deeper prayer life, how can we find true joy? And once we do, how are we called to share that joy with those around us?

 

 

George Ajit, Class of 2021

 

March 8, 2020: Second Sunday in Lent

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 8, 2020 at 8:03 AM PDT

 

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The Grace of the Transfiguration in a Time of Trouble

Second Sunday of Lent

March 8, 2020

 

In difficult times such as the present moment,  

it is consoling that we hear in today’s gospel from St. Matthew

a description of an arduous journey up a mountain

by Jesus and three of his disciples.

 

The mountain referred to here is most likely Mt. Tabor.

Although Mt. Tabor rises to only about 2,000 feet, 

compared with Mt. Rainier’s summit of 14,409 feet, 

we should remember that Jesus and his disciples were making the journey 

without modern footwear or sunglasses.  

No arch support for tired feet,

no darkened lens to protect eyes from the sun!  

 

Even a recent American tourist traveling in the Holy Land 

described her journey up Mt. Tabor as arduous:  

You could walk up, 

but we were all ferried up the winding twisty roads by taxi minibuses for a small charge, 

which I think is the best way to get up this mountain unless

you are super-fit and up for a mountain climb.”

 

I do not know if Jesus was “up for a mountain climb” 

but he clearly had an important reason 

to take three of his closest disciples away from the others

to scale Mt. Tabor.  

 

You and I can take two major consolations from this journey. 

First, the disciples have a powerful vision

of Jesus speaking with Elijah and Moses. 

Moses was the great lawgiver and Elijah was a great prophet.

You can picture Moses holding the stone tablets of the ten commandments,

and he brought them down the mountain heights to the Jewish people. 

You can picture Elijah standing tall on his prophet’s soapbox,

speaking fiery words calling for conversion by the Jewish people. 

 

In this vision of Jesus’ transfiguration, then, 

the disciples perceive Jesus as a great synthesizer,

who can bring together “The Law and the Prophets,” 

who can make sure we don’t go too far toward one or the other extreme.

His ministry will call people not to be overly legalistic,

but to follow the law of love and service

His ministry will call people to have prophetic eyes and heart,

to perceive and to respond to social injustices whether small or large. 

 

You and I certainly have our own mountaintops today,

that can seem formidable and daunting. 

Lent itself might be described as a spiritual climb. 

This year I’m thinking about the Lenten journey 

in images that were used by Martin Luther King Jr. 

in a speech he gave the day before he was assassinated. 

See if you too might find inspiration for yourself 

and for your own Lenten journey this year.  

Dr. King proclaimed,

 

“We’ve got some difficult days ahead

and I really don’t know what will happen

but it really doesn’t matter now, 

because I’ve been to the mountaintop. 

 

Like anybody I’d like to live a long life, 

but I’m not concerned about that now.

I just want to do God’s will

and he has allowed me to go up the mountain

and I have looked over, and I have seen the promised land

 

I may not get there with you,

but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.

I’m not worrying about anything tonight.”

 

During Lent you and I are invited to go apart for prayer and fasting.

But we cannot stay there.  We must come down from the mountain 

where we will find people whom we are called to love and serve. 

The spiritual geography of our lives

will always have highs and lows, 

mountains of exhilaration and valleys of fatigue and discouragement. 

We have Jesus’ word and his companionship on this journey,

and we trust him that it will truly be a journey of Lenten Transfiguration.

 

 

Fr. Jerry Cobb, S.J. 

Seattle University 

  





Gospel:  Matthew 17:1-9  

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them,
“Do not tell the vision to anyone
until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

 

Welcome

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 6, 2020 at 4:03 PM PST

This page will be updated with daily Scripture reflections while Mass offerings are suspended at the Chapel of St. Ignatius. For updates and additional information on Mass offerings at the Chapel, visit the Campus Ministry home page.