Scripture Reflections

October 24: Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Campus Ministry on October 24, 2021 at 8:10 AM PDT

A close up of a light fixture at the Chapel, with red light reflected against the wall behind it

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Reflecting on this week Gospel’s reading, the first thing that came into my mind when I read it and let it sink in was: have I had the faith of Bartimaeus to have the courage to ask God to help me? Do I have the courage to always let God be there with me through all the steps of my life? I find this touching and a point of reflection for me, as life gets so busy that sometimes I forget the meaning of faith itself.  

This week’s reading tells us about a blind man, Bartimaeus, who asked Jesus for help so that he can see. He kept asking even though he could not see Jesus, he kept on shouting even though a lot of people told him to be quiet, and at last, Jesus noticed him and called him, and asked him what he wants. He responded he wanted to see, and Jesus said Go your way; your faith has saved you”. From this, we can see that no matter what the circumstances are, Bartimaeus kept on having faith, being persistent, and knew that God will listen, God will provide what he needs.  

I believe everyone has their own portion of a problem, and we sometimes forget that God is with us all the time. When we ask Him for help, and don’t get the answer immediately we might feel sad, see ourselves as being left all alone and abandoned. This is where faith plays a very big part, when we pray and keep being persistent about it, like Bartimaeus, we reground ourselves in our faith that no matter what the outcome, that God is with us, has not abandoned us, and desires the best for us. This faith in God’s presence and love will help us get through each and every problem we encounter.  

As a person of faith, we go through each day and encounter different problems, and hope that God will walk with us every single step of the way. The question for us to consider is: have we included God in our daily life and let His way be the way for us? Are we as persistent as Bartimaeus with his faith, believing that God will draw near to us to help us?  

 

Alberta Wendy Sunanda, Class of 2022, BA in Business Administration, Finance Major

October 17: Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Campus Ministry on October 17, 2021 at 11:10 AM PDT

Photo of fountain amid autumn leaves

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This week’s readings have brought the notions of power, community, and relationships to my mind. When I first think of the word power, some words that initially come to mind are strength, capability, glory, force, and rule. I also think of the superiority that someone with power may have and how it may be utilized both in good and bad ways. This made me wonder if people today in our world or even myself truly realize the gravity of positions of power or leadership we may currently hold in our lives.

I have held several positions of leadership or “power” in the past in various instances and one example is when I used to work as the desk coordinator in a SeattleU dorm. As desk coordinator, I was the person in charge of making schedules, meeting with my desk supervisor, ensuring the desk functioned smoothly and efficiently, and ensuring the desk was a welcoming and helpful environment for students and guests.

The Gospel reading for this week has made me realize that my job is an example of a situation where I held a certain “power” over people and others as I was in a position of delegation and enforcement of policies and procedures. However, I also realize this position was a form of power that Jesus invites us to realize, a power coming from love and service. Working in the dorms, I was not only able to provide the best quality care and assistance for residents, but I was also able to form great relationships with the residents and my coworkers and help make the dorm a welcoming environment for everyone. I consider the interactions and connections I made at the desk to be the highlight of working in the dorm for almost two years.

With today’s reading in mind, are there any positions of power or leadership in your own relationships or community that you are a part of that comes to mind? If so, how do you (or would you) utilize these positions to express your love and service to others? In what ways do you feel called to serve others?

 

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

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