Scripture Reflections

May 11: Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Posted by Campus Ministry on May 11, 2020 at 6:05 AM PDT

Water in a spring

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Today’s passage from the Acts of the Apostles reads like a clip from a Hollywood movie! First, we see Paul and Barnabas fleeing to Asia Minor to avoid an attack by Jews and Gentiles in Iconium, in modern day Turkey. As Luke tells the story, Paul was speaking to a man who had never walked in his life, but Paul “saw that he had the faith to be healed,” so he told the man to “stand up straight on [his] feet.” When the crowds saw this, they assumed that Paul and Barnabas must themselves be gods and began offering sacrifices to them! The apostles attempted to redirect the people of Lystra, telling them that this healing is not about themselves but is the work of the “living God” who has sent them. They tell the people how easy it is to see and believe in this living God… Simply look around at the natural world, which provides “witness” to God’s presence and grace! It is the living God who has given “you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and [filled] you with food and your hearts with joy.” We, too, are reminded to leave behind the things that distract us and seek the living God from whom all things flow.

Similarly in our gospel reading, Jesus points out to the disciples that the words he speaks are not solely his own but originate from God, his Father. Jesus is the doorway through which we walk but he is always guiding us to the Source, who is greater than he is. Jesus says, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our dwelling with them.” In the gospel of John, the word or commandment to which Jesus refers is, of course, to love one another. Jesus is speaking about a mutual indwelling of love: the Father loves the Son and when we keep the commandment to love others, we are a part of this holy love story. St. Ignatius’s First Principle and Foundation reminds us of this: that we are from love, of love, and for love. When Love dwells within us, our will is to let that love spill out to our families, our communities, and our world! And, as Paul and Barnabas, the Psalmist, and the Society of Jesus remind us, it is all for the greater glory of God.

There is so much to ponder in our scriptures today, I hope that you will let yourself sink into them and see what stands out for you. In what ways do you need to be healed? Does your faith give you the conviction that you will be? Or perhaps you have the power to heal… What do you feel called to heal? Is something distracting you from seeing the living God? How and where do you witness God’s presence and grace? Above all, how do you experience yourself as unconditionally loved by the living God? What does it mean to you that Love dwells within you? How are you called to love the world today?

 

Erin Beary Andersen, Associate Director of Campus Ministry

May 10: Fifth Sunday of Easter

Posted by Campus Ministry on May 10, 2020 at 6:05 AM PDT

May 8: Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Posted by Campus Ministry on May 8, 2020 at 6:05 AM PDT

A path winds along the spine of golden hills against a misty backdrop.

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I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.

Dear friends,

In today’s gospel Jesus consoles his apostles, who are sad and disheartened at the prospect of his death, by assuring them that he is going to prepare an everlasting place for them in his Father’s house in heaven. He gives them the assurance that he will come back to take them to heaven. It is then that Thomas says to Jesus, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus answers Thomas’ question with, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”

The basic doctrine of Judaism is that Yahweh is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Hence, Jesus is making the revolutionary claim that he is equivalent to Yahweh. By this declaration, and for the Christian believers, Jesus is the safest and surest way to God. Living a good life of sharing love is necessary to reach God. Jesus is the Way, which he calls narrow, for it is the way of loving, sacrificial service. Jesus is the Truth, who revealed truths about God and God’s relationship with us in his teaching. Jesus also taught moral truths by demonstrating them in his life. Jesus is the Life because he himself shares the Eternal Life of God, and because He shares his Divine Life with his disciples through the Word of God and the Sacraments.

On our part, we should share the Divine Life of God with others, especially with those whose lives are troubled and who are disheartened at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. By our loving actions we will be bringing assurances and hope to them. We should also make use of the sacramental means Jesus established in his Church—notably, by active participation, when it is safe to do so, at mass and proper reception of Holy Communion, as well as worthy reception of the other sacraments; by the meditative and daily reading of the Word of God; by following the guidance of the life-giving Spirit of God, living in the Church and within us; by communicating with God, the Source of Life, in personal and family prayers; and by going to God to be reconciled with Him and with others.

Amen.

 

Fr. Colleen Nsame, SJ

May 7: Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Posted by Campus Ministry on May 7, 2020 at 6:05 AM PDT

A close-up view of a person's hand holding a camera lens through which a rocky beach view is visible.

 

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I don’t know if you have ever volunteered to be reader at church, maybe filling in at the last minute, and you confronted a reading like today’s from the Acts of the Apostles. All those difficult names! The stories of the apostles, with all the details, have the potential to help us put ourselves in their shoes. Imagine them traveling the roads through villages, getting in and out of boats, sharing meals with strangers. This past, with all its fascinating details, is part of our faith story.

When the apostles preach to the communities they encounter, they also put themselves into the shoes of the past.  They recount the history of a people waiting, hoping, preparing for salvation, for the Messiah. They remind their listeners that from Moses to John the Baptist, God was working through real people to reveal how much God loved and cared for all them. They encouraged these newly formed communities to not just focus on the recent events of the Risen Christ. They wanted to make sure that everyone was taking the long view.

What is the long view that you need to have in your life? What is your own history of conversion? There is never just one story of conversion. Who were your prophets? Who reminded you that you are part of the bigger picture and the long view?  I encourage you to ask God for the help you need to draw the lens back on your faith history, and God will help you look into the future.

 

Tammy Liddell, Director of Campus Ministry

May 6: Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Posted by Campus Ministry on May 6, 2020 at 6:05 AM PDT

A view of a mountain and a lake in Glacier National Park, Montana.

 

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In the first reading for today we hear of travels and destinations and connections, journeys finished and begun. These are stories of real people. People who were overwhelmed at times by what was being asked of them. People who messed up. As a Jesuit Volunteer/Americorps member serving through Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, I commit to exploring four values, one of which is community. And, living in an intentional community, I frequently feel like I mess up.

A thoughtless remark lands in a past wound with one of my community-mates. I was just too tired to check-in with someone after a long day. I didn’t listen like I know I should have. And yet, all of us in our community know that one of the most important parts of us being together is the grace we give one another.

I am encouraged not only by the ever-present grace of God in these stories from the early Church, but also in imagining the grace that the disciples had to give one another during times and travels that were ripe with uncertainty. I imagine them giving one another grace even in places of fear and anger and frustration and exhaustion.

This section of the gospel of John marks a significant transition point. After seeing Jesus’ signs in the last few chapters, such as the anointing at Bethany and raising of Lazarus, Jesus presents a challenge here. He seems to be saying, how will you respond to the things you have seen? Upon first read, I’m a bit surprised by Jesus’ seeming “all-or-nothingness.”

Jesus continues, and we hear reminders of who Jesus is, and the desires God has for our lives. Jesus is light, and we are not meant to live in shame or guilt or despair: “for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.”

How do I respond after I see the “signs” of God’s goodness and faithfulness in my own life? How do I respond to the ways God shows up? These signs may often seem ordinary rather than the extraordinary ones present in the Gospel of John. And yet, the ordinary signs are still concrete reminders of God’s love.

God continues to show up in my life. In my current life, I most often experience God in the stunning natural beauty of rural Montana, and in my relationships, often the relationships with my community-mates, the ones where I mess up, the ones that require grace. And just as we see in this gospel, after I have seen these signs of God’s love, I imagine, ever more vividly, Jesus asking me this question, with warmth and tenderness: “Claire, how will you respond?”

 

Claire Lucas, Class of 2019