Scripture Reflections

Each week we feature reflections on the Sunday readings from voices in the Seattle University community. 

Contact JoAnn Lopez ( if you would like to write a reflection for an upcoming Sunday!

Each Scripture reflection below includes a link to the daily Scripture readings from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' website. Audio recordings of the readings are available within the linked pages for the respective day's readings.

Check out additional links on the sidebar to help you enter into prayer and reflection during these days, including submitting your prayer request to be remembered by our community. 

At the bottom of this page you'll find the link to older scripture reflections for each week, including from previous quarters, where we featured daily scripture reflections and video preaching. 

May 23: Pentecost Sunday

Posted by Campus Ministry on May 23, 2021 at 8:05 AM PDT

A palm tree sways in the wind in a photograph with the sun rising over a mountain town with houses in the background

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Suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind

In Paul Simon’s song, Graceland, he sings, “Everybody feels the wind blow.” True enough.

But what’s up with wind? We all feel it blow. We all see it blow. In my own experience, the wind even exerts a sort of subconscious—yet powerful—influence over my mood and feelings. A gusty morning gives me a sort of dreary feeling, while a slow afternoon breeze can lend an elevating mood. The evidence of the wind’s effects on the spirits of human beings permeates our collective culture and art. Paul Simon’s Graceland is just the tip of the iceberg.

 Do you ever wish the Spirit came to you like a gust of wind from the heavens? … I do. If you are a similar human to me, you are probably attracted to the dramatic tension of the wind on a stormy night, and also the dramatic tension of the “winds of change”—that is to say, the excitement of a movement. This Pentecost, we near the anniversary of the movement against the carceral state, as ignited by the murder of George Floyd. That movement hit me like a strong driving wind from the heavens. But winds subside.

 “And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”

 Ah… We carry the wind with us. We carry the wind of Christ with us with each passing breath. The Holy Spirit comes like a strong driving wind, but also in the breath of Christ. The breath of a friend, of a mentor, of our God. The winds of change blow in like a passing storm, but the breath of Christ remains. It remains in community leaders, in organizers, in our preachers and philosophizers. It remains in Indigenous and Black communities. It remains in Black womxn and womxn of color especially.

 Let this Pentecost be a call to hold up the breath, the work, the voices of all of those in our communities—especially those who are not historically held up, and especially those who are doing the most for Christ—whether explicitly in his name, or not.

Nate Ross, B.S. in Biology, Class of 2021

May 16: Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

Posted by Campus Ministry on May 16, 2021 at 4:05 PM PDT

Black and white image of pedestrians walking on a busy street

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This reading from the Gospel of Mark, in which Jesus is taken up by God into heaven marks his final ‘instructions’ to the apostles.  As we know, Jesus was an excellent educator—he knew his followers had many different learning styles long before scholars began theorizing about this in the 1990s.  His was the ‘pedagogy of try everything’, and often the disciples are depicted in the scripture as being the last ones to ‘get it’. He exhorted, told parables, went to dinner with tax collectors, washed the disciples feet.  He creatively showed the disciples his message, transforming their understanding of God through his relationship with them.  He lays out very clearly how they are to proceed on this final journey in their presence. Their status has changed from disciples (the learners) to apostles (the ones who are sent forth).  And, true to form, we are presented with an image of these newly missioned apostles ‘standing there looking at the sky’. I’m reminded of the vintage film, “An Affair to Remember” when the leading lady is struck by a car while crossing the street on her way to meet her lover waiting at the top of the Empire State Building. She says, ‘it was my fault, I was looking up, it was the nearest thing to heaven!’ Obviously, she should not have been looking at the sky. Similarly, the apostles should not have been looking at the sky to find out where Jesus had gone. 

The writer of the letter entreats the readers to look around them to see with ‘eyes of the heart’ in order to follow the mission, the call of Jesus. What do the eyes of the heart see?  These eyes don’t scan the heavens to find Jesus.  The eyes of the heart try to see where Christ is present all around.  Looking for opportunities to follow the mission, to answer the call.  This synchronizes with the teaching of St. Ignatius: our task, as Christians, is to seek God in all things.  We are not asked to seek with the eyes that only find God where they expect to find God, to see exactly what they want see.  Instead, the eyes of the heart seek beyond the familiar and below the expected. Enlighted by God, the eyes of the heart go to the places that people and society submerge under the surface, hiding and forgetting.  The opportunities are all around us to see with the eyes of the heart. Some are common to all of us--systemic oppression of those in the margins of our world is there for all who choose to see.  Some opportunities are near-- friends, family, and classmates are experiencing their own sadness, loneliness, economic problems, attempting to keep them under the surface. Enlighted by God, the eyes of our hearts seek the presence of Christ, not in some far away heaven but embodied and incarnate in this world.

~ Tammy Liddell, Director of Campus Ministry

May 2: Fifth Sunday of Easter

Posted by Campus Ministry on May 2, 2021 at 10:05 AM PDT

A field of tulips in rows of purple, red, and yellow with mountains in the background

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Our first reading, from the book of Acts is an incredibly brief summary of the very dramatic tale of Saul, who was later to be known as Paul.  Saul had been known as one who “breathed threats and murder against” (Acts 9:1) the early Jesus followers, so when he tried to join them, they were naturally afraid of him!  However, when they heard the riveting story of Saul’s experience with the Risen Christ and how he was now evangelizing in His name – even to his own peril - they were convinced to bring Saul into their community.  Saul’s experience on the road to Damascus was probably terrifying for him (recall that subsequently, he lived without his sight for three days!) but it was also a life changing experience because his heart was turned toward good by the Living Christ.  It is absolutely incredible to think that you and I are beneficiaries of Paul’s experience, as we read his letters today!

This is what all of our readings today remind us:  If we have had an experience of Jesus, the Risen One, and are changed by it, then we must be able to see the good fruits of this experience in my life and in the world.  “Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth,” writes the author of the First Letter of John.  It is easy see how this translates for the families and communities devastatingly impacted by gun violence in our country.  We have heard members of these communities say to our leaders and politicians that they must stop saying, “You are in our thoughts and prayers,” and actually implement changes necessary to end gun violence.  Let us love in deed and truth… this is his commandment for all of us.

My husband and I used today’s gospel reading for our wedding ceremony, so it holds a very special place in my heart.  This passage from John was not a statement to our community gathered that special day that we have been perfectly “pruned,” so no further work is necessary.  On the contrary, it was a reminder to us that Jesus “remains in” us and we must “remain in” Jesus… It is impossible for the branch to bear fruit when it is separated from the vine!  It is very easy to let life move so quickly that we don’t even notice when we’ve become a lone branch, separate from the Vine, yet still trying to bear fruit.  So, we must stop, notice, and reflect.

It is my prayer for all of us this Easter Season that we might slow down enough to see where God is moving in our lives and giving us the energy and life to bear fruit. May God let our hearts be continually moved by our own Resurrection experiences so that we may more easily follow Christ’s commandment to love one another - in deed and truth.


~ Erin Beary Andersen, Associate Director of Campus Ministry

April 25: Fourth Sunday of Easter

Posted by Campus Ministry on April 25, 2021 at 8:04 AM PDT

a shepherd looks over sheep on a hill

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I lived in Ireland at one time and, true to the stereotypes, there are lots of sheep.  On my friend’s farm in Donegal, spring means lambing season.  And the season of the rejected lamb, sweet and helpless, in a basket by the fire, hand-fed and cared for until it is old enough to be independent.  In Denise Levertov’s poem, Agnes Dei (Lamb of God) she reflects on the ‘strangest words, O lamb of God that taketh away the Sins of the World’.  She writes, “God, then, encompassing all things is defenseless? Omnipotence as been tossed way, reduced to a wisp of damp wool?” This mirrors the words in the Acts of the Apostles today where a stone is tossed aside by the builders.  I am struck anew by the paradoxical images of Jesus as both lamb and shepherd, rejected stone and cornerstone, trusting and trusted, cared-for and care-giver.  

Jesus says, ‘I know my sheep and my sheep know me’.  This image of mutual knowing somehow mirrors the mutuality of caring.  How do I truly know and then care for the people of God with same tenderness of the shepherd carrying a defenseless lamb and the fierceness of the one who fights off the wolves? How do I recognize and the Good Shepherd and experience the promised unconditional love and protection?

I believe that I recognize both the shepherd and the flock in the faces and lives of others. These images are a call to mutuality.  In our lives, with those who are proximate, and those we have never met, we are being challenged to live out this paradoxical interdependence.  But the reality of our mutuality is obscured by our systems of power, racism and white supremacy.  This week, at the close of the trial in which the man who killed George Floyd was convicted of murder, there was a lot of conversation about accountability.  But until two people can live out their interdependence with freedom and justice, accountability will be rare and fleeting. Jesus preaches the relinquishing of power in order to live out mutuality.  Pay attention to the stone that has been tossed aside, it is the foundation of the whole.  Feed and care for the one who is born helpless and powerless, because that one brings us salvation. These paradoxical images hold both promise and challenge for us as people living in the Easter season.

I invite us to reflect on how we are living out our call to nurture and care for Body of Christ, the flock, the people, with mutuality and interdependence.  I invite us to ask for the capacity to trust in the Good Shepherd whose Easter promise can lead us through the dangers and challenges of today into the promise of new life.

~ Tammy Liddell, Director of Campus Ministry

April 18: Third Sunday of Easter

Posted by Campus Ministry on April 18, 2021 at 8:04 AM PDT

A close up image of a hand touching lavender blooms in a field

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Today’s Gospel story begins with two disciples recounting to the rest of their friends the surprising encounter they had with Jesus only moments before. He met them in their confusion, but they did not recognize it was him until he did what was familiar – break bread and share a meal.

Can you imagine the energy in that room while the two disciples told this story? The disciples have already experienced a whirlwind of intense emotions as they dealt with their leader dying only days before. Here they are, hope destroyed, paralyzed with fear, devastated, confused, and now they’re being told that Jesus was alive again? Minds are being blown and I imagine a new wave of emotions rush over the disciples. Is it incredulousness, sparks of hope, more fear?

Amid this chaotic scene, Jesus appears and the first words he speaks to this bewildered group are “Peace be with you.” Peace would probably not be the first emotion my body would experience in an encounter like this, and yet I hear an invitation to ground myself in what I know to be true when my own world feels chaotic. In the times of our lives when we feel intense isolation, fear, uncertainty, can we lean into trusting that Christ is truly with us, standing in our presence? And that it isn’t an illusion? Jesus invited his disciples to touch him, perhaps helping them to pause and remember what is true and real. How do you recognize and remember Christ’s presence in the midst of your own uncertainties?  

Before he was crucified, Jesus tried to prepare his disciples several times about what would happen to him, and yet, the resurrection still came as a surprise. We too know the end of the story. We’ve heard it so many times! And yet, the truth of resurrection can still catch us by surprise. Where in your life have you experienced the surprise of new life? Does it come in the form of a fresh start, a restored relationship, the springtime weather, a newfound sense of peace or grace? New life seems to come when we least expect it. This week, can we open ourselves up to God’s transforming presence in all the cracks and crevices of our own lives and be surprised by God?

~ Megan Kush, Campus Minister for Pastoral Care

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