Scripture Reflections

Each week we feature 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. 

November 1: Solemnity of All Saints

Posted by Campus Ministry on November 1, 2020 at 12:11 AM PDT

Dawn in a field of evergreens

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Today is the Feast of All Saints, a day when Christians around the world remember our holy ancestors in faith. We often think of the saints like superheroes: supernatural people who lived magical lives, radically different from our own. However, our readings today remind us that the call to holiness is extended not to a select few, but to all people, including you and me. As we befriend our ancestors in faith, the holy people who have lived in every generation, we find that they are not magical know-it-alls, but real human beings who sought to live in relationship with God in challenging times throughout history.

Our scriptures today reflect our deep human longing for connection with God’s love, as we sing the Psalm refrain “Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.” This yearning for Love is shared by people “from every nation, race, people and tongue.” God too longs for us, desires for us to be in right relationship with God, and with one another.

When Jesus sits on that mountain side and proclaims that the most downtrodden, reviled, heartbroken, and foolish in the community are to receive transformation, justice, hope, and love in God, he prophetically reveals God’s desire to restore humanity to right relationship. God is yearning for connection with humanity not in our perfection, but in our brokenness and desire for justice and the transformation of the world. It is precisely to the most marginalized that God draws near in love. The saints we celebrate today are the ones who, like God, drew near to the wounds of our world, and sought God’s face in the midst of their own context.

The second reading proclaims that by our faith we have become children of God, and will be like God, as we see God face to face. We are all called and empowered to be like our ancestors in faith, and to be like God – seeking to accompany God in drawing near to those who the world reviles, to be agents of transformation and hope.

What would it look like for us to seek out God’s presence in our own context? To whom should we draw near in love? What prophetic actions must we take today? Who might we need to proclaim as blessed in our world today?

As I ask that final question, I find these words rise up:

Blessed are they who worry how they will feed their children,
they will eat their fill.

Blessed are the sick, the isolated, and the afraid,
they will be healed and made whole.  

Blessed are the frontline workers in hospitals and stores,
they will be safe and respected.

Blessed are those who have been killed by the police,
they will receive justice.

Blessed are the abused,
they will be believed.

Blessed are the protesters and activists, yearning for change,
they will be heard and answered.

Blessed are the immigrants and refugees,
they will be welcomed home.

Blessed are all living things on this earth,
they will be restored to fullness of life.

Blessed are the brokenhearted
they will know compassion.

Blessed are the demonized, the disposable, and the despised,
they will be embraced in love.

Blessed shall we be if we follow
the prophetic way of Jesus in our world,
seeking God in every face and being instruments of grace;
our joy and hope will spring forth and transform the world.

 

~ JoAnn Melina Lopez, Campus Minister for Liturgy

October 25: Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Campus Ministry on October 25, 2020 at 8:10 AM PDT

an image of stars in space with yellow hues

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Love is commonly known as a universal language. It is a language that is felt by many and experienced in varied forms. From reflecting on love in its own basic form and meaning, I have realized I have expanded the meaning of love throughout my life. From identifying the love in my relationship with family, friends, and my personal connection to God, I have tried to recognize love, particularly God's love, in all aspects of my life and reflect on how I can express this love in my day-to-day life.

This week's readings remind us of our Christian call to love God and love our neighbor, the two greatest commandments as Jesus proclaims in the Gospel. In reflecting on my love for God, I am reminded of the ways God has shown His everlasting love for humankind, by creating us in His own image and likeness and giving us His only Son for the world. God loved us first so how do we love God? In the readings, Jesus directs us to love God with our whole selves, to love God with our heart, soul, and mind. In imitating God's love for us, we gain the capacity to express our love for others and ourselves.

In expressing love for our neighbor, it may be most familiar to manifest this love to those closest to us, such as friends and family. However, we must realize that we are also meant to display our love outside of our own familiarity and comfort and expand our love to wider circles. We, as Christians, should remember our call to love not only our neighbors closes to us, but also to those in need of love — the vulnerable, the marginalized, the forgotten, the poor, the ones we may not be familiar with, but are still our own brother and sister made in God's own image and likeness.

During this week, let us reflect on our own personal experiences and feelings of love. How do you recognize God's love, or your love for others, in this digital age and/or during this pandemic where interaction is significantly different? Who do you feel called to love? How will you expand your love in wider circles to encompass all ways of loving God, your neighbor, and yourself?

~ Erin Camemo, Class of 2022, B.S. in Diagnostic Ultrasound

October 18: Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Campus Ministry on October 18, 2020 at 8:10 AM PDT

aerial view of am ocean wave crashing onto the shore

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With all that is happening in the world and in the news, I have been reflecting on what it means to be Catholic during this time. Looking to God and the values that have been instilled in me, I have considered what more I should be doing, what questions I should be asking that I’m not, and how to continue to lean into those questions I am already holding. But I still find myself uncertain of my footing in this world we find ourselves in.

In this week’s readings, I was struck by the theme of “calling.” In Isaiah, God reminds Cyrus of God's constant support and guidance. God says “I have called you by your name, giving you a title, though you knew me not.” Through the acknowledgement that Cyrus didn’t know God, God is reminding us that God’s presence is constant, though we may not always feel it.

 In the First Letter to the Thessalonians, the people are celebrated by Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, who thank the people for their work and deeds, calling them to the continued work of Christ by saying, “For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction.” Through these words, the Thessalonians are celebrated for their work, and reminded that it is far from over.

 In Matthew’s Gospel, we encounter a conversation between the Pharisees and Jesus. In an attempt to trap Jesus, the Pharisees ask, “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?" Jesus responds by calling out the Pharisees saying, "Why are you testing me, you hypocrites?” Jesus the tells the Pharisees to see Caesar’s face on their coins and give Caesar what is his, and do the same for God. This challenge by the Pharisees to pit Jesus against the civil leadership of Caesar, was meant to throw Jesus off balance, but instead, Jesus called on the Pharisees to do more. Jesus’s reminder that what belongs to God is more than just passive, unauthentic beings, but rather, our truest selves, actively engaging in the world.

In these tumultuous times, I am comforted by the honesty of these calls and reminder that we have each been called by name into God’s grace. The work that is being done is good, but it is not finished. And in challenging moments, being authentically, and actively engaged in our world is God’s call.

In the week to come, let us consider: In what ways is God calling us during this time? Who in our lives should be celebrated? How are we showing up authentically to our communities?

~ Rose Murphy, Class of 2021, B.A. in Public Affairs and Theology and Religious Studies

October 11: Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Campus Ministry on October 11, 2020 at 8:10 AM PDT

Meal platters filled with food on a table

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In this week’s readings, I was struck by the themes of abundance and feasting that are woven throughout the first reading in Isaiah and the gospel reading in Matthew.

In Isaiah, it is proclaimed that God will make a luscious feast for all peoples to enjoy. It is also revealed that God will destroy all of the things that weigh God’s people down. God will “swallow up death forever,” “wipe the tears from all faces,” and save God’s people.

As it says in Isaiah, “this is the Lord for whom we have waited!” For the One who wants abundant feasting for all and suffering for none.

In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus describes the Kingdom of God as a wedding party, where surely feasting was involved. What is striking about this feast is not that it was fancy or that the guests were dignified or wealthy (those guests didn’t even show up), but that, when no one showed up, the King invited anyone he could find, both bad and good. In telling this parable, Jesus preaches a God who invites the marginalized and rejected to the banquet feast— a God who desires abundance and feasting not necessarily for those that “deserve” it, but for anyone who is willing to come.

In the context of so much suffering in the world right now, when hunger and houselessness and joblessness are on the rise, and when resources are horded by the powerful and spread so thinly among the rest, it is important to remember that the God of abundance and feasting does not want us to live this way.

As people of God, how will we act to bring the Kingdom of God about in our lives? Who in our lives can we invite to the feast? What can we do to ensure that suffering is alleviated and abundance made real for all of us

 

~Olivia DiGiorno, Class of 2021, BA in Political Science and Theology and Religious Studies

 

October 4: Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Campus Ministry on October 4, 2020 at 8:10 AM PDT

A two-way street sign.

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It’s the night before school, and I have a math times tables test at the end of the week. My parents have already tucked me in and said goodnight, and the lights are off. I wait for ten or fifteen minutes as a buffer, and then I sneakily take out my Nintendo DS with Pokémon Pearl and start playing, under the covers, with the DS screen as my only light source.

Bam! My mom bursts into the room and busts down the door, saying “I KNEW IT!” She had caught me red-handed before I could pretend to be sleeping.

I ended up being grounded from my video games for a week.

---

In moments like this, when I would complain to my parents and ask for a good reason why they would ground me, their response was always the same: “It might not make sense, Skyler, but you’ll understand that this is good for you when you get older. Trust us.” I never understood it back then—why couldn’t they just tell me not to do it, and not ground me?

I ended up getting an A on my math test.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that these times of discipline have added up to help me be who I am today. I still love my video games, but because of what my parents ingrained in me at an early age, I am able to find balance with my work and play. I can prioritize an upcoming exam, or finish my homework before the deadlines roll up.

In today’s Gospel, the landowner cultivated a vineyard that grew to be very successful and leased it to some tenants, who nurtured it in his stead. However, when the landowner requested the time, talent, and treasure (the vineyard) that the tenants watched over, they savagely refused to the point of killing the landowner’s own son. 

God asks us to trust Him. We need to remember that a relationship with God is not a one-way street. We cannot always take and take—there are times when He kindly requests our time, talent, or treasure. Like my own experience with my parents, there may even be times when God asks us to do things that we might not understand. While it may not make sense to us at the time, and it may even seem extremely unfavorable for us, we are invited to remember that God loves us and always has the best intentions for us. God has the best in mind for us, so if we follow His will, though we may not realize it now, it will surely lead to good things in life—whether in this one or in the next.

Have you opened your mind to what God asks of you, even though it may seem challenging?

 

~ Sky Verzosa, B.S. in Biology, Class of 2022

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