Scripture Reflections

In Fall 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. 

October 10: Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Campus Ministry on October 10, 2021 at 8:10 AM PDT

A tree in the foreground and water in the background with orange colored sky at sunset

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The kingdom of God – God’s dream for the world, breaking into our midst – is a topsy turvy place. In our Gospel, Jesus controversially declares that the path towards the kingdom demands renouncing our possessions. Does this saying shock and discomfort us too?

Jesus knew that all too often, our attachment to wealth, power, and possessions separates us from authentic relationship with our neighbor, with creation, and ultimately reduces our capacity to love and follow God with authenticity. When we examine the root causes of disparity in our world, we find astonishing histories and present realities of exploitation, colonization, violence, and white supremacy. We find ourselves implicated in pervasive systemic injustice – collective sin – as we consider all our power, privilege, and wealth and how we got and keep it. As Christians who yearn for the kingdom of God, Jesus calls us to repentance and transformation away from the systems and stuff that hold us all captive. We are invited instead to partner in God’s dream of love and justice for this world, through downward mobility, solidarity, and prophetic actions which challenge the status quo and point to God’s kingdom. We are called to a topsy-turvy way of life.

Of course this is not easy. It is challenging, painful work that requires commitment, community, and prayer. I am consoled by Jesus’ words today: “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God."  Jesus also promises that it is worth it – that transformation can offer us back something different and new, a hundred times over. I don’t think Jesus meant more stuff, but rather that we’ll find a new abundance, capacity for love, gratitude, and relationship as we follow God’s call into the topsy-turvy world of the kingdom.

As we mark Indigenous Peoples’ Day this week, let us recognize and lament how wealth, power, greed, and exploitation have been part of this country’s founding history, and continue to be etched into the fabric of our society. Let us also remember and honor the resistance, resilience, and incredible gifts of indigenous peoples, who have thrived in and contributed greatly to this region despite the consequences of systemic oppression. Let us pray that God’s wisdom and grace will give us the courage to transform our way of life, to disrupt the systems we are part of, so that we may all walk together towards the kingdom of God.

 

~ JoAnn Melina Lopez, Campus Minister for Liturgy

October 3: Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Campus Ministry on October 3, 2021 at 12:10 PM PDT

A brown autumn leaf against a rainy window with trees in the background

 

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As I reflect on the readings for this week, I’m struck by the question: what does it mean to live with loss? Loss of one another? Loss of traditions?

I’d normally deal with loss through the company of loved ones. Gathering my support and comfort in-person remains difficult but my virtual supports have remained steady throughout this pandemic. While these people I consider family have helped me deal with the inevitable loss, I haven’t found a way to live with the loss of human connection, life, and events.

I feel disconnected from these seemingly random instances that have piled up into a mountain of grief, waiting to be sorted and compartmentalized. Some are recent, some are personal, others are distant, others are ceaseless. But my daily responsibilities and worries take me from assignment to task to virtual meeting without stopping to address this mountain of grief. Instead of feeling the loss, in its place is burnout.

As I attempt to address my own mountain of grief, I know at this moment it feels as though no amount of reflection, prayer, or space will chip away the emptiness I feel.

What does loss feel like for you? Is it a culmination of heavy emotions? More distinct than sorrow? Does the severity depend on the situation?

How do we take care of one another and this earth, assuming we are all feeling a sense of loss and grieving in our own ways? How do we show compassion to our brothers, sisters, and siblings who have faced and continue to face loss?

I wonder how I can extend this compassion to myself? How can I let this loss be shown in my various relationships? To family, friends, and peers? In the workplace? How can I embrace the vulnerability that comes with the topic of loss?

Gelsey Manipon, B.A. in Humanities for Teaching with a Specialization in Elem. Edu., Class of 2022

September 26: Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Campus Ministry on September 24, 2021 at 5:09 PM PDT

A sign reading

 

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During this season of Ordinary Time, we continue to take a deep dive into the realities of discipleship.  

This week’s teachings invite us to expand our imaginations and take a good look at our hearts. We can do so knowing that God loves us deeply and without abandon. 

In today’s Gospel, we first hear the panicked reactions of the disciples, scandalized by people, other than themselves, acting in the name of God. I imagine the disciples are caught off guard when Jesus welcomes the work of these so-called outsiders and recognizes the Spirit of God in them when the disciples do not. We hear a similar exchange in the first reading between Joshua and Moses. I imagine Moses saying in response to Joshua’s concerns, “Awesome! The more, the merrier, to have God’s prophets working with us!”  

God shows up in ways we don’t plan for and works beyond our imaginations. Where in our communities can we recognize the Holy Spirit working in seemingly unexpected ways, perhaps through the most unlikely of prophetic voices, trying to grow love and goodness in this world? Do you hear the Spirit among our own Church, calling for healing and reconciliation? Do you see her in our communities organizing around refugees, racial justice, and care of our planet? Can you feel the Spirit in the LGBTQIA+ community? Can we stand in awe of how the Holy Spirit moves in this world in ways we’ve not expected, to bring about peace and justice?  

The second teaching in today’s Gospel is quite gruesome, but I think it gets Jesus’ point across pretty well. Jesus tells us to “cut it off” i.e to look within our own selves and let go of anything that draws our hearts away from living with faith, hope, and love. This world needs people to live wholeheartedly for God’s dreams. It needs all of us to be vessels of God’s love and grace in this world. Where do you need God’s grace to continue living as the disciple God calls you to be?  

 

~ Megan Kush, Campus Minister for Pastoral Care

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.

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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

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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

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