Scripture Reflections

March 19: Solemnity of Saint Joseph

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 18, 2020 at 6:03 PM PDT

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In the middle of the Lenten season, we lift up today in joyful prayer and thanksgiving the model of Joseph, the husband of Mary, who was Jesus’ father during his earthly life.

There are very few stories of Joseph in our scriptures, his life barely visible to us from between lines of the Gospels. Much of who he was is left to our imagination. As I consider him today, I see that Joseph was an ordinary man living in extraordinary times. He was a worker, a person of faith. He was preparing for his own life plans and big celebrations, threshold experiences – marriage, family. He was filled with dreams and imaginings of what his own life would look like through the future. I imagine that he was crushed, disappointed, and felt betrayed, when he found that the future could not come to pass exactly as he imagined it would: the vision of marriage and family, of a typical, ordinary life, must have felt far beyond his reach when he first heard that Mary was pregnant.

As I imagine Joseph, I see him close to my own heart, troubled by the ways that the current COVID-19 crisis continues to change the expectations of our lives. Like Joseph, this event asks that we release expectations of our present and the futures we had imagined for ourselves. For me, my travel plans to visit loved ones have been cancelled; I don’t have the capacity to worship in the ways that I typically find nourishing; the familiar sense of my vocation and work seems to be out of reach; and I worry about vulnerable folks that I know and love. For many of us, the vision we had for how we would spend our time, and the kind of life we would build in the days ahead, seem to be far off. The future feels uncertain and we feel vulnerable. Like Joseph, our dreams for ourselves are changing.

Yet, as Joseph’s own dreams seem to be crumbling, he hears an invitation to a new dream from God, which gives him the capacity to move in a new way for the future when he awakens. The dream begins like this: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid.” These words call to me through the scriptures, offering me insights into who God is and who God calls us to be:

  • God first calls Joseph by name: says to him – I know, personally, and love you. Can we hear God calling us by name today? Enfolding us in love?
  • God reminds Joseph that he is the son of David, who is his ancestor in faith. Today’s readings are full of stories of Joseph’s ancestor’s in faith, who through many generations, “believed, hoping against hope,” that God can bring new life and hope into our world. In these days, how can we honor and remember that we are part of a long line of hope-filled, faithful people, who through many generations have hoped in the power, the guiding light, the healing mercy, and the abundant love of God? Perhaps there are people in our own family and friends that we can look up to, who have weathered hardship and found community, faith, connection, and hope. Or perhaps there are role models in faithfully facing adversity that we admire from history. Today our Church lifts up St. Joseph as one such person. How will we learn from the lives of those who have gone before us? How are we called today to be part of a lineage of love for future generations, continuing to look towards the present and the future with eyes of hope, so that our descendants in faith will believe that they too can stand firm in the face of fear and crisis?
  • God says to Joseph “do not be afraid.” When I hear these words, I think of the many times Jesus said these same words to his disciples, inviting them into a life of faith and trust in God. I wonder if these words from the dream planted so deeply in Joseph’s heart as words of comfort and peace. If he said these words to Jesus throughout his childhood, just as many parents today try to whisper it into the ears and hearts of their children. Fear might be our natural response to these days. Throughout scriptures, God desires to banish fear from our lives, and invites us into living courageously in troubled times, trusting in God’s abiding care for us. What would it look like for us to face our current reality with courage and compassion? How can we ask God for help in navigating our fears and frustrations? How would we like to entrust our lives and the world to God’s care in these days?

In these troubling days, in these Lenten days, let us pause to celebrate and remember this holy ancestor in faith. Let us learn from the story of Saint Joseph, an ordinary person living in extraordinary times, who, as the landscape of his own dreams and future changed, believed that God’s loving dream for us continues, and that God always invites us, in every age, to be people of faithful hope. Let us pray for the capacity to listen deeply to God’s dream for us, and for the grace to wake up and respond in courage and trust. 

 

JoAnn Lopez, Campus Minister for Liturgy and Resident Minister in Campion Hall

March 15: Third Sunday of Lent

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 17, 2020 at 3:03 PM PDT

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Last summer I met with Fr. Colin for coffee and he gave me advice that still to this day keeps me questioning my desires and temptations. Fr. Colin said to me: “Mariah, you are starving, and you need to find something that is going to feed you.” His statement shocked me. I mean, I was not literally starving, though his words made me realize that I was and am still starving spiritually. So the next question is, “What/who is going to satisfy/feed me?” When I reflect on this passage from the Gospel of John, I often feel as an outsider, as though I cannot relate to Jesus or the woman at well. But when I remember what Fr. Colin said to me, I realize that I am like this woman, yearning for what is nourishing. In my past and even now, I have always been aware of my desires and temptations, and how they lead to my actions. These desires and temptations try, for better or worse, to feed me in some way. But just like the woman at the well, I have come to realize that many of these desires and temptations cannot truly satisfy me at the end of the day. I am often left feeling empty inside or starving as Fr. Colin stated, and like the woman at the well I too am intrigued by Jesus’ promise of this so-called living water. I turn to the world to try to satisfy or fill my needs, when in reality God can only satisfy or fill me, and this gives me hope. “Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts…” (Romans 5:5). In every Mass Jesus is poured out to me in the Eucharist, and in this love, I am fed physically and spiritually. How and with what do we feed ourselves? What temptations are leaving us feeling empty at the end of the day? Do we give God the chance to satisfy/feed us?

Mariah Nickerson, Class of 2020

March 10–18, 2020: The Novena of Grace

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 10, 2020 at 8:03 AM PDT

Novena of Grace

Novena of Grace

Each year during Lent, the Chapel of St. Ignatius hosts the Novena of Grace in partnership with the Ignatian Spirituality Center. A novena is nine days of prayer for the particular intentions of our heart, usually asking for the intercession of a saint to assist us in prayer and encounter with God, in this case, St. Francis Xavier, one of the founders of the Jesuits. Each day will feature prayer and powerful preaching to deepen your prayer life. On their website, the ISC describes the Novena of Grace as "a retreat that can be made amid the busyness of daily life." This year, in response to the spread of coronavirus in the Seattle area, the ISC has elected to offer the Novena as an online retreat. From their website: "Be inspired by the preaching of three presenters steeped in the Ignatian tradition and vision, offer up your deepest desires in prayer, and join a faith-filled community virtually. Pray with us any or all of the nine days to experience God’s abundant grace!"

Reflections will be posted every day between March 10 and March 18. To view today's reflections, visit Novena of Grace page at the Ignatian Spirituality Center.

March 9, 2020

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 9, 2020 at 8:03 AM PDT

This post is a student reflection on this past Sunday's Scriptures. 

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Today’s readings remind us of how God wants us to partake in His plans, as the second reading reminds us that God calls us to a holy life, one that He has designed for our salvation. Jesus calls us to be involved with His plans, walking with Him like the Apostles Peter, James, and John did to the Transfiguration.  Abram experiences this call too, as God calls him out of his home to a new land and a new covenant. The scriptures remind me that God’s path requires the best of me.

In my own life, it can be challenging to answer God’s call. Often, I am too busy with classes and work, and God’s path might seem to take me out of my daily life. But perhaps God asks us not only to enter into His glory, but to bring His glory into everything we do. After the Transfiguration, things seemingly go back to “normal.” But to the apostles, everything has changed. Seeing God and His true joy asks us to bring that joy to the world. Like the apostles, the experience of seeing pure joy asks us to serve others in need. 

In this Lenten season, focused on almsgiving and a deeper prayer life, how can we find true joy? And once we do, how are we called to share that joy with those around us?

 

 

George Ajit, Class of 2021

 

March 8, 2020: Second Sunday in Lent

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 8, 2020 at 8:03 AM PDT

 

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The Grace of the Transfiguration in a Time of Trouble

Second Sunday of Lent

March 8, 2020

 

In difficult times such as the present moment,  

it is consoling that we hear in today’s gospel from St. Matthew

a description of an arduous journey up a mountain

by Jesus and three of his disciples.

 

The mountain referred to here is most likely Mt. Tabor.

Although Mt. Tabor rises to only about 2,000 feet, 

compared with Mt. Rainier’s summit of 14,409 feet, 

we should remember that Jesus and his disciples were making the journey 

without modern footwear or sunglasses.  

No arch support for tired feet,

no darkened lens to protect eyes from the sun!  

 

Even a recent American tourist traveling in the Holy Land 

described her journey up Mt. Tabor as arduous:  

You could walk up, 

but we were all ferried up the winding twisty roads by taxi minibuses for a small charge, 

which I think is the best way to get up this mountain unless

you are super-fit and up for a mountain climb.”

 

I do not know if Jesus was “up for a mountain climb” 

but he clearly had an important reason 

to take three of his closest disciples away from the others

to scale Mt. Tabor.  

 

You and I can take two major consolations from this journey. 

First, the disciples have a powerful vision

of Jesus speaking with Elijah and Moses. 

Moses was the great lawgiver and Elijah was a great prophet.

You can picture Moses holding the stone tablets of the ten commandments,

and he brought them down the mountain heights to the Jewish people. 

You can picture Elijah standing tall on his prophet’s soapbox,

speaking fiery words calling for conversion by the Jewish people. 

 

In this vision of Jesus’ transfiguration, then, 

the disciples perceive Jesus as a great synthesizer,

who can bring together “The Law and the Prophets,” 

who can make sure we don’t go too far toward one or the other extreme.

His ministry will call people not to be overly legalistic,

but to follow the law of love and service

His ministry will call people to have prophetic eyes and heart,

to perceive and to respond to social injustices whether small or large. 

 

You and I certainly have our own mountaintops today,

that can seem formidable and daunting. 

Lent itself might be described as a spiritual climb. 

This year I’m thinking about the Lenten journey 

in images that were used by Martin Luther King Jr. 

in a speech he gave the day before he was assassinated. 

See if you too might find inspiration for yourself 

and for your own Lenten journey this year.  

Dr. King proclaimed,

 

“We’ve got some difficult days ahead

and I really don’t know what will happen

but it really doesn’t matter now, 

because I’ve been to the mountaintop. 

 

Like anybody I’d like to live a long life, 

but I’m not concerned about that now.

I just want to do God’s will

and he has allowed me to go up the mountain

and I have looked over, and I have seen the promised land

 

I may not get there with you,

but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.

I’m not worrying about anything tonight.”

 

During Lent you and I are invited to go apart for prayer and fasting.

But we cannot stay there.  We must come down from the mountain 

where we will find people whom we are called to love and serve. 

The spiritual geography of our lives

will always have highs and lows, 

mountains of exhilaration and valleys of fatigue and discouragement. 

We have Jesus’ word and his companionship on this journey,

and we trust him that it will truly be a journey of Lenten Transfiguration.

 

 

Fr. Jerry Cobb, S.J. 

Seattle University 

  





Gospel:  Matthew 17:1-9  

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them,
“Do not tell the vision to anyone
until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”