Scripture Reflections

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

June 2: Tuesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Posted by Campus Ministry on June 2, 2020 at 6:06 AM PDT

hands clasped in prayer

View Scripture Readings

“Beloved: Wait for and hasten the coming of the day of God,…according to his promise we await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Pt 3:12-13)

“In every age O Lord, you have been our refuge.” (Psalm 90:1) 

“Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.” (Mark 12:17) 

God of every generation,
You have been the refuge of our ancestors,
who cried out to you in times of great distress.
We look around now,
in a world of pain and suffering
and cry out to you anew.

Be our refuge in this age.
We long for a new heaven and a new earth,
where righteousness dwells.
Transform our world,
                           our communities,
                                                      our hearts,
that all may be in right relationship in you.
Help us to see your kingdom of mercy, justice, communion, and peace
unfolding in our midst,
calling to us to partner in its becoming.

Jesus our friend,
you knew what it was like to live under the weight of oppressive rule
that would eventually kill you.
You ceaselessly and lovingly proclaimed God’s reign to people who loved you and betrayed you.
Help us to recognize your presence in those killed by the state,
those dismissed for their revolutionary messages,
those sacrificed for the maintenance of the status quo.
Give us the same love for the kingdom of God that burned in you,
that we too may have the courage to proclaim and embody
love, justice, peace, mercy, hope, and joy,
and live as Good News in a world in need of your transforming power.

Holy Spirit, Wisdom, Sacred Breath,
stir up in us the fire of your love, that we may see both
the world as it is, and as you dream it to be.
Remind us that every person bears
the indelible image of God, no matter how much our systems try to obscure it
through commodification, consumerism, and criminalization.
Comfort and empower us, who long for your strength and hope,
and disturb us out of our complicity and complacency.
When we are weary and have no words left to pray, open our hearts and pray in us,
that we, and all our descendants, may remember that
you are our refuge, in every age. 

Amen. 

JoAnn M. Lopez, Campus Minister and Resident Minister

June 1: Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church

Posted by Campus Ministry on June 1, 2020 at 6:06 AM PDT

a silhouette of a woman walking along the shore at sunset

View Scripture Readings

Today, we end the season of Easter and enter into Ordinary Time by marking the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. This title of Mary was proclaimed by Pope Paul VI during the Second Vatican Council, where Paul VI called Mary “Mother of the Church,” and lifted her up as a model for all the faithful.  Today’s readings remind us that Mary is a model of discipleship: present at the foot of the Cross, and with the cohort of disciples that gather together after the Ascension, forming the early church as a community of prayer.

Even as we enter into liturgical Ordinary Time, we acknowledge that there is nothing ordinary about our times. It is abundantly clear that we live in a country where generations of systemic racism are bearing bitter fruit: police brutality, massive healthcare and economic inequality, white supremacy with impunity, and ruptured relationships in our communities. In addition to the stories that capture national attention, there are many more, unknown stories in neighborhoods around the country which daily drum home the message that black lives do not matter.

What does it mean for us to be a church in these all too ordinary, and yet disturbing times? I turn today to the model of Mary, and the women disciples with her, who journeyed to the foot of the cross – who bore prophetic witness to the killing of Jesus through state-sponsored brutality, joyfully proclaimed his resurrection, and came together with others to be a community of prayer and action. These are our ancestors in faith, role models of what it means to follow Jesus in unbearable times.

As I meet them today, I hear them ask me (and all of us):

  • Will we, as faithful followers of Christ, have the courage to stand with the crucified in our time? With those who say “I thirst?” and “I can’t breathe?” With black and brown folks who are disproportionately impacted by the current pandemic?  With black women shot unjustly by police in their own homes? With young black men, gunned down by their neighbors on a walk or a run? With those who are demonized and treated as though their lives do not matter?  
  • Will we take on the risk to our comfort that is required of every follower of Christ, joining with the women who have gone before us? Like them, will we bear witness, march hand in hand to cross and tomb, and care for the broken Body of Christ? Will we examine how the sin of racism has burrowed its way into our hearts, our homes, our churches, our neighborhoods, and communities – and commit to concrete action to eradicate it from our world? Will we listen to experiences that are different from our own? Will we work for justice and reconciliation?
  • Will we also bear witness to resurrection life in Christ? Will we form communities of love, prayer and action, where differences are celebrated, and all find solace in despair? Will we offer imagination, hope, comfort, light, and love for one another? Will we remember the inherent dignity in divine image of every life, and proclaim with our prayer and our action that black lives matter?

These questions that call to us today from the scriptures are many and weighty. The Spirit invites us to answer “Yes,” just as it did of Mary when she gave her “yes” to a lifetime of seemingly impossible invitations. Following the path of discipleship is challenging, but the cost of continued Christian inaction in the face of racism is unbearable. Let us ask Mary the Mother of the Church to guide us in these ordinary times, that we may have the courage to say “yes” to bearing witness to the Crucified and Risen Christ in our world.

 

JoAnn Lopez, Campus Minister for Liturgy and Resident Minister

May 31: Pentecost Sunday

Posted by Campus Ministry on May 31, 2020 at 6:05 AM PDT

On Pentecost Sunday, Fr. Stephen Sundborg, S.J., preaches on the Sunday readings. 

Listen to the songs we would have sung at the Chapel today, including songs from our Chapel Choir CD, Light & Shadow (2017)

View Scripture Readings