Scripture Reflections

June 8: Monday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

Posted by Campus Ministry on June 8, 2020 at 6:06 AM PDT

 

a view of the night sky from between dark red rocks of the grand canyon rising up

View Scripture Readings

“I lift up my eyes toward the mountains; whence shall help come to me?”  This very first verse in our Psalm mirrors the cry of Black Americans today.  In fact, people around the world are wondering the same thing – from where will their help actually come?  And for God’s sake, when?  As a white American and a Christian person, I, too am asking these questions.  Looking at the centuries of suffering endured by Black people in this country, it feels difficult – even as a person of faith – to truly believe the Psalmist when he offers assurance of God’s protection for those who cry out for help.  When we see the lives of Black people snuffed out before our very eyes, it does not seem as if God is guarding the most vulnerable among us.  Adding insult to the literal injury of peaceful protestors, the word of God and gospel of Christ that we proclaim as ultimate Truth are sullied by those at the very highest levels of power in this country.  Where is God’s protection, we ask?  The gospel today has a lot to say about that and, not surprisingly, it points directly to how we live as Christians.

In Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reinterprets the Law of Moses for his disciples and in doing so, describes God’s promises to come.  Jesus’s disciples were, in effect, his students. They were learning from him the very heart of God – and so are we.  When I read the passage for the first time this week, this verse stood out to me differently than it had before, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”  In first century Palestine, it was believed that the heart was the origin of thought and intention, as well as our moral compass.  It definitely made me ask myself, are my thoughts and intentions are “pure”?  I admit, with all that is going on in the world, I wasn’t feeling particularly well-intentioned in that moment!  This verse also begs the question of how we are remembering to orient ourselves on the side of those receiving God’s own preferential option – the poor (in spirit), the mourning, and the meek?  How are we ourselves seeking righteousness and peace as well as demonstrating mercy to all?

When I talk to Seattle University students who are taking part in these protests that affirm that Black Lives Matter, I learn more about how to stand quite literally on the side of the oppressed.  May that we all learn how to hunger and thirst for righteousness so that from every direction, we come to the aid of those who are crying out to God in our suffering and unjust world.

 

Erin Beary Andersen, Associate Director of Campus Ministry

June 7: Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Posted by Campus Ministry on June 7, 2020 at 6:06 AM PDT

June 5: Memorial of Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr

Posted by Campus Ministry on June 5, 2020 at 6:06 AM PDT

A single seedling emerges from the soil.

View Scripture Readings

David himself calls him the Messiah Lord.

Dear Friends, Peace be with you!

We Christians know the Messiah, Son of David, is Jesus Christ and that His kingdom has already started —as a seed that germinates, grows up and bears fruit— and will become a visible and magnificent reality when Jesus comes back at the end of time. But already now Jesus is the Son of David and allows us to live “in hope” by enjoying the benefits of the Messianic Kingdom, breaking into our midst.

The title of “Son of David” applied to Jesus Christ forms part of the backbone of the Gospel. In the Annunciation, the Virgin received this message: “And the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and He will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Lk 1:32-33). The destitute that begged Jesus to cure them, were saying: “You son of David, have mercy on me!”(Mk 10:48). When Jesus solemnly entered in Jerusalem He was acclaimed: “Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come! Hosanna in the highest” (Mk 11:10). Crying out to the Son of David meant crying out to a powerful person in their midst who could help and save them from their plight.

But Jesus is not only the Son of David, meant to be a human ruler in our understanding of power, but also the Lord. He confirms it solemnly by quoting the Davidic Psalm 110 in today’s Gospel. Those present cannot understand it: it is impossible that the son of David can also be equal to the Lord. St. Peter, witness of Jesus resurrection, clearly saw that Jesus had been constituted Lord of David, because “Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day..., but Jesus God rose up, whereof we all are witnesses” (Acts 2:29-32). “His Son, descended from David according to the flesh, but established as Son of God in power” as St. Paul names him ( Rm 1:3-4). This Jesus, who is descendant of David, and Risen Lord, is beyond our full human understanding. Yet Jesus, seated at the right hand of God, attracts the focus of all people's hearts, just as he did in his earthly life, and thus, softly attracting us towards him, He already exerts now his lordship over all people that address him with Love and in Trust.

As Christians, we need to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior in our daily lives, not just as a powerful human ruler, but as Lord of our hearts. How? 1.) We have to invite him to be the king of our heart and the ruler of our thoughts, relationships, and actions. 2.) Then we should give Jesus free rein in every area of our lives. 3.) Finally, we should surrender our lives to him serving others humbly, lovingly and selflessly.

Amen.

 

Fr. Colleen Nsame, SJ

June 4: Thursday in the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

Posted by Campus Ministry on June 4, 2020 at 6:06 AM PDT

A crowd of people holding candles in vigil.

View Scripture Readings

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David:
such is my Gospel, for which I am suffering,
even to the point of chains, like a criminal.
But the word of God is not chained.

Today is ten days after George Floyd was murdered by a police officer 20 minutes from my childhood home, four years after Philando Castile was executed in front of his four-year-old daughter on the street I drove down on my way to school each day, and five years after Jamar Clark was killed in the city I call home. My city has erupted in righteous anger and protest against generations of white supremacy sewn into the tightly woven fabric of Minnesota, its dominant white culture, and its institutions. Black Minnesotans have been made to suffer, to the point of chains and death. They have been treated by police officers, government leaders, social systems, and neighbors like criminals (or worse).

But the word of God is not chained.

As Timothy asks us to remember Jesus Christ, we must remember George Floyd, Philando Castile, Jamar Clark, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and all Black and brown victims of police brutality and white supremacy. They are image-bearers of Christ, who have suffered because of the so many ways in which racism desecrates the Gospel.

But the word of God is not chained.

People in Minneapolis and across the United States are making that very clear. Cries for justice, accountability, and respect for human dignity are louder than ever. The word of God is not chained. The Gospel vision is not out of sight— it is being prophetically brought back into our collective consciousness through the cries of the oppressed and marginalized.

I have been reflecting on what it means for me to be a Christian right now, recognizing my individual complicity as a white woman, and the Church’s collective complicity, in maintaining white supremacy.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind,
and with all your strength…
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.

Mark’s Gospel reveals that the most basic Christian objective is to love God and love our neighbors. To love God, we must love our neighbors: the commandments are inextricably connected.

What does it mean to love God through my neighbor right now, in light of ongoing violence and trauma? To listen to Black voices, to have uncomfortable conversations with my white family and friends, to peel back the layers of my discomfort and weed out my violent biases, to give my money to Black-led organizations and mutual aid efforts that do the hard work of dismantling white supremacy, and, above all, to keep the Gospel vision of true liberation of all people— and especially the oppressed and marginalized— ever in my sight.

Amidst the violence and grief and terror that Minneapolis has weathered these past few days, there have been amazing displays of love and solidarity not covered by the media. Neighbors have shown up for each other by protesting and cleaning up the rubble of destruction. Neighbors have organized food drives and practiced impactful mutual aid to protect community resources and save lives. Neighbors have committed to caring for each other as institutional systems have failed and inflicted harm. The love of God through loving neighbors has begun to break the chains of white supremacy in Minneapolis.

As I bear witness to the pursuit of justice in my hometown, I know that I am complicit in the white supremacy that blocks the way. So, I am asking myself: How will I continue to un-chain the word of God, through concrete and ongoing action? How will I recognize God’s presence in suffering and yield to God’s voice speaking through the demands of Black communities? How will I truly love my neighbors and God?

 

Olivia Digiorno, Class of 2021

June 3: Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs

Posted by Campus Ministry on June 3, 2020 at 6:06 AM PDT

A person in a yellow rain jacket stands in the rain, looking out over a storm-clouded sky above a body of water.

View Scripture Readings

In today’s first reading, we see a writing from the apostle Paul in which he tells Timothy to “bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God.” Paul urges Timothy to continue to act as a soldier of Christ in preaching the good news. Even in the troubling times that Paul was in, being a prisoner of the Romans, he never lost his faith and dedication to spreading the teachings of the Gospel, also indicating that he holds no shame for it alongside his sufferings. Paul’s message is meant to encourage the use of God’s graces to keep our faith.

I believe this passage connects so well with what I am trying to accomplish currently in life, to face my challenges with strength and perseverance. I feel at the moment that there are so many changes happening in my life and in the world that I wonder how I am supposed to truly handle it all. Paul talks about using the strength given to us by God and this makes me question -- what does strength look like from God? I think the usual notion of strength is identified as some form of physical and mental capability of a person in which they use it to overcome a greater obstacle. From this reading, I tried to think of strength in a more broad term in which strength encompasses different values, like courage, love, resilience, and dedication. I like to think that strength is something that a person seeks within themselves in many different forms. For me personally, I believe the value that I currently need the most is courage, the courage to endure the current challenges in my life and continue my dedication to the teachings of the Gospel. I have to remember that even in troubling times that God has not abandoned me and that he has not abandoned the world, bestowing upon us the gifts and teachings necessary for our salvation.

God has given us the grace and wisdom to look beyond ourselves and to seek the light of our faith. How can we continue to live out our mission and devotion as we bear our share of hardship for the Gospel? What does strength look like for you and how do you recognize it?

 

Erin Camemo, Class of 2022