Scripture Reflections

February 7: Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Campus Ministry on February 7, 2021 at 8:02 AM PST

a human silhouette looks out towards a purple and pink sky at sunset

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We know that currently there is a lot of pain in the world. The news coverage is heavier, focused on events that make us doubt what good there might be existing in the world. Each of us have our own worries or mishaps that we might try to ignore so that we can keep moving forward. There are also times when we are tired and refuse to admit it or take the time to recover.  

In the readings today we hear how Job felt horrible about his situation. He could not find any hope in the situation he was in, but still, as we know from elsewhere in the Book of Job, Job found it in himself to be assured that God was with him. This makes me question: how do I still feel God’s presence when times are bad or rough? A simple thought came to mind for me and it was the sunrise of each day. Sure, living where it is cloudy most days means I will not always see the sun, but I know it’s there. I know God’s still there. Job was honest with himself and authentic too—he did not lie and say that he was still happy despite all that happened to him, he was sincere. How can we be more honest in our day to day?  

As we read the Gospel today, I think it is important to be reminded that Jesus was still human, as us, and lived in the realness of life. He still was tired, was afraid but was also committed to giving himself to others. He took the time for himself then continued to serve those around him, and as we hear in today’s Gospel, those he healed then in turn served others around them. I find this comforting because it illustrates how human Jesus was in his earthly life. It reminds me to be more human too, trusting that it is there that God meets us.

Having those Jesus served continue to serve others is an example to me of the heart of the Gospel, the “Good News.” We are part of the church that lives and believes in the Gospel, not just hearing it, but also responding actively to God’s love in our world. I am reminded of St. Francis’s quote “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary, use words,” something I heard plenty in elementary school but something that I think rings true today. Having encountered God’s love, how can we be part of sharing that Gospel with others? How are we called to serve others? 

 

~ Karina Comes, B.S. Biology, Class of 2021

January 31: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Campus Ministry on January 31, 2021 at 8:01 AM PST

A landscape of a mountain being reflected in the lake waters before it

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In the second reading, Paul tells us: “I should like you to be free of anxieties.” 

In our world, it seems like anxiety surrounds us,  with worries about health, financial security, politics, and family life. I find it almost unrealistic to listen to this teaching of being free of anxieties and paying more attention to God. However, both Paul and the author of Deuteronomy call us to trust in God. They call us to trust that amid all the suffering and the anxiety in the world, God is present for and within us. We need only be attentive and surrender our worries to God.

Paul says to the community he is writing to, and to us: “I should like you to be free of anxieties.” How can we be free of anxieties?

Moses, in the Book of Deuteronomy shares a promise that God will send a prophet to the people, to trust that God has listened to the plea of the people. That God listens. These readings paired together, invite me to reflect on that promise. God promises to liberate us from the anxieties of the world, and invites us to trust that God listens to our plea of help, our hope for relationship. 

Today’s readings inspire me to think about our own place in this promise. We are called to act as prophets for one another by trusting in God’s love and trusting that God will be the one to give us the words we need. We are in a tumultuous time where anxieties are high and it is necessary for us to be there for and with one another. We have a mission to trust in God and to become prophets for one another.

But what does this truly mean? What does it mean to act as a prophet? Especially now, what does it mean to trust in God and free ourselves from anxieties in the world that we inhabit? To me, it means recognizing what material things might hold us back and focusing on being agents of hope. It means spreading God’s message of hope and love with one another, and accompanying one another through our anxieties. Trusting that God will give us the strength to persevere and be there for each other. How can we act as prophets in our own communities? How are we being called to be present for one another in the times of high stress? Where can we see an opportunity to be agents of hope?

 

~ Tayz Hernandez,  B.A. in Theology and Psychology, Class of 2021

January 24: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Campus Ministry on January 24, 2021 at 8:01 AM PST

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“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.”

This is the message of Jesus at the beginning of the Gospel of Mark, the first words Jesus speaks in the Gospel. This is the message of Jesus that reverberates through the centuries to us today.

“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.”

The urgency of Jesus’ proclamation captures my attention today. The time is now. God’s reign of justice, God’s promise of life, hope, joy, peace, of transformation, it is here, breaking into our world.

Jesus’ prophetic proclamation came in a world yearning for change, deeply seeking God’s deliverance and transforming power. It came as promise, and embodied reality. Jesus lived what he preached, and invited others into the same dedication to the kingdom. This is why folks left their livelihoods, their families, their lives behind, to follow and participate in the unfolding promise of God’s love.

Can we be disciples in the same way?  Do we believe Jesus’ proclamation? Do we live as witnesses to this reality? Do we experience and proclaim the in-breaking love and kingdom of God in our world?  Do we look at this world fully, wholeheartedly and see all the places that cry out for God’s presence? Do we, as the Body of Christ, draw near to those places most in need of God’s reign, committing to embodying the promise in every place?

“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.”

This week is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and this year’s theme, “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit”, taken from John 15, reminds us of Jesus’ invitation and promise: that through a deep rooting in God’s abundant love, much is possible.

Jesus appears on the scene in today’s Gospel soon after his own experience of being told he is beloved at his baptism. His mission, his passion for God’s kingdom, all his teaching, healing, liberating, inclusive, prophetic ministry, was rooted in this first knowledge of his own belovedness. Jesus knows that love bears much fruit in our world!

“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.”

The love of God is not just a feel-good panacea, but rather a dynamic, energizing love, that invites us into ever-widening circles of compassion, and renewed commitment to God’s reign of justice and peace.

This Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, let us recommit as Christians to grounding ourselves in God’s love, and proclaiming that the kingdom of God is at hand with renewed energy and faith-filled action for justice and peace. Let it be in, among, and through us, that the world may know:

“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.”


~ JoAnn Lopez, Campus Minister for Liturgy

January 17: Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Campus Ministry on January 17, 2021 at 9:01 AM PST

Close up of yellow flower buds growing on a branch

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As I reflect on this week's readings and what's been said in my numerous zoom meetings, I can't help but be drawn to the act of listening. 

Who am I listening to? Professors, peers, and my parents. What am I listening to? Podcasts, music, and occasionally the sound of my computer fan. You might be wondering why I'm highlighting these sounds in particular. Well, much like how my own desk is littered with books, post-its, and pens, my surroundings are filled with so much noise. I can't sit in silence while I do work, so I always have something on, whether that's a song or the background chatter of my peers trying to keep me accountable. 

I hardly enjoy the rare quiet moments in between zoom classes, early in the morning, or late at night. Even when it's quiet around me, my mind is filled with assignments I've yet to do and readings I haven't done. With so much clutter closing in on me, how do I listen?

Since the start of the winter quarter, I haven't had much time to listen to myself and my own needs, whether that be bodily or spiritually. And given recent major events, I wonder where God's presence is in my life: but am I really listening for it? I hear, but I am not listening, not with the care or attentiveness that I would have during virtual campus ministry events. But I suppose it's easier to hear what God is saying through others in my community rather than opening up my ears in spaces where I assume God is not. As I sit with this revelation, I wonder what it would mean for me to practice active listening in spaces where I'm inclined to let what's being said go in one ear and out the other. Can I listen well in all spaces, believing God is present? 

As this reflection comes to an end, I ask us all to ponder where God is calling us to be present? To listen with open ears and hearts?

And I pray with the lyrics of this song, Open My Eyes, by Jesse Manibussan:

Open my ears, Lord

Help me to hear your voice

Open my ears, Lord

Help me to hear

 

 

~ Gelsey Manipon, B.A. in Humanities for Teaching with a Specialization in Elem. Edu., Class of 2022

January 10: The Baptism of the Lord

Posted by Campus Ministry on January 10, 2021 at 8:01 AM PST

sunlight breaks through a cloudy sky over water with trees in the foreground

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This Sunday we return to Ordinary Time after the Christmas season. As we begin the new quarter, our times do not feel at all ordinary. My heart is heavy with grief, my attention on violence, political turmoil, the continued toll of the pandemic on so many in our communities, the staggering loss of life (nearly two million people dead from COVID-19 worldwide), and more. 

It is with this heavy heart that I turned to the readings today, marking the Baptism of the Lord, and I found this prayer emerging from the depths of my heart for today, and the days ahead:

God of Justice,
our hearts are troubled by sickness and violence.
Pour out your grace upon us, that in every trial we face
we may know you are present in our midst, inviting us towards your peace.
In today’s scriptures we hear your promise, echoing through the ages, to bring justice to the earth,
and so we commend our selves, our communities, our country, and all our world to your care,
trusting that you will transform every heart, relationship, and circumstance in your boundless love.

Jesus, God with Us, Lord of All,
you began your mission of goodness, mercy, liberation, and healing,
rooted in a deep knowledge of your belovedness.
Grant that, as we begin this new year, each of us may be drenched in your love,
and, with you as our constant companion,
we may walk in your ways of tenderness, hope, and peace,
sharing in your mission all our days.

Holy Spirit, gift of our baptism,
renew within us your call to be a covenant for all nations,
that we, the Body of Christ, may be a light for the world,
proclaiming with our lives that you call us
to love in ever-widening circles,
and so bring your kingdom of justice and peace to all nations.  

Divine One, who looks at us and is pleased,
We turn to you with hearts full of gratitude for the graces of our baptism,
hear and answer this prayer through Christ our Lord.
Amen

 

Words by JoAnn Melina Lopez, Campus Minister for Liturgy