Scripture Reflections

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

Contact JoAnn Lopez (lopezjo@seattleu.edu) 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. 

March 13: Second Sunday of Lent

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 13, 2022 at 8:03 AM PDT

An image of a tree in a field at sunset.

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God reveals Himself to us in various ways. We may find Him in the beauty of nature or simple acts of kindness. Nevertheless, we always seem to encounter God's grace and love in the least expected places. Peter experienced a small glimpse of God's glory and splendor in today's Gospel. As Jesus lifted the veil, His divinity shone brightly to His disciples. The Transfiguration was a special event where God allowed Peter, James, and John to experience His divine glory profoundly, strengthening their faith and preparing them with the commitment and resolve it takes to reach Heaven.  

 A few weeks ago, I attended Search Retreat, during which I had the opportunity to step away and disconnect from the usual college life and find the time to grow closer to God, my peers, and myself. Throughout the entire retreat, God revealed Himself to me through my experiences and the relationships that I formed. When God reveals Himself to us in our daily lives, we are constantly reminded and invited to become instruments of His love. As we continue this Lenten season, we must remember that while this is a time of prayer and reconciliation, this is also a time of almsgiving. Lent is a time when we can share our Time, Talents, and Treasures with the community and the greater world. We are called to open our hearts to those who need it most, lend a loving and helping hand, and be good neighbors. Each Lent calls us to renew the promise we made at our Baptism to see the world with eyes of faith and live like Jesus, and when we do, we are transfigured and shine with the light of Christ. 

Today friends, I invite you to allow God to open your minds and your hearts. Allow Him to transform you through the Holy Spirit to nurture a life of stewardship marked by prayer, service to our neighbors, and generosity. 

 

-  Angelo Neri Alfonso, Class of 2024, B.S. Computer Science

March 6: First Sunday of Lent

Posted by Campus Ministry on March 6, 2022 at 3:03 PM PST

A hand is open with some seeds in the palm.

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Our Old Testament passage from Deuteronomy is a powerful and concise narrative describing the history of the Hebrew people moving from enslavement and oppression in Egypt to freedom in the lands that would be called Judah and Israel (Ps. 114).  But this passage is more than a retelling of the Hebrews’ journey out of Egypt, it is a narrative that also describes the covenant between God and God’s people as well as the intricate relationships between God, God’s people, and the land.  In their state of oppression, the Hebrew people toiled under Egyptian rule but God heard their cry and brought them into a land “flowing with milk and honey.”  We see a connection between the liberation of the Hebrew people and their harmonious relationship with the fruitful land they inherited.  This reading also codifies that the community should give back to God the first (and best) fruits of the harvest.

I look forward to the Campus Ministry spring break immersion with four students to the Appalachian region of West Virginia, which has caused me to think in new ways about our own relationship with Creation (of which we are of course a part!).  In just two weeks, we will travel to be with the Appalachian Catholic Workers and learn firsthand from the land and the community around the town of Spencer.  We aim to gain greater understanding about the greed and exploitation of that region for the extraction of coal from the earth. This effort has destroyed the beautiful mountains, contaminated the rivers, and left whole communities to suffer from poverty and pollution sickness. What kind of relationship do we have with God, one another, and the earth if these are the “first fruits” of the land that we return to God?

Interestingly, our New Testament reading dives directly into the heart of temptation, which seems to be at the heart of the problems in the Appalachian region of West Virginia and to some extent, in our own individual lives.  We see Jesus “filled with the Holy Spirit” from his recent baptism, but his body was hungry as he was fasting in the desert for 40 days.  The devil presented several temptations to Jesus, but as we know, Jesus rebuffed each one – ultimately demonstrating his unshakable faith in God and God’s goodness.  What a great reminder to each of us as we enter this Season of Lent to notice what is distracting us from God, Creation, our community, and our true selves. 

In what ways are we captivated by the illusion of separation from God’s goodness?  How might this be harming us and our neighbors? While we obviously cannot undo the sins of the past, we can play a role in God’s reconciling mission for humanity.  How are you being called into this work?  How are we being called as a community to be a force for reconciliation with each other and with our planet?

Blessings to each of you as we enter this journey of Lent together.  May you experience the presence of God as we journey with Jesus to the cross.

 

~ Erin Beary Andersen, Associate Director of Campus Ministry

February 27: Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Campus Ministry on February 27, 2022 at 9:02 AM PST

Close up of yellow flower buds growing on a branch

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“A good person out of the store of goodness in their heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). 

Whoa!  Those are tough words to hear!  They seem to be contrary to the words that we teach about the human person: all have dignity and all are worthy of love.   While this Gospel passage speaks of evil persons, I would like to state that deep down, all persons are good and worthy of care.   

We know that wounded people inflict pain on others, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not.  The wounded person can cause harm, particularly with words, but also with actions.  Does that make them evil or in need of healing?   

It is important to trust our intuition in our relationships with others, and to know if someone is producing good in our lives or not.  I am not advocating that anyone continue in a harmful situation or relationship! Rather I simply state human persons have dignity, and while it may contradict the words of Luke (who speaks of evil persons) to say all human persons are good and no human being is evil or without dignity, it must be said.   

Some people cause harm, but when we are safe from harm, we might learn to have some empathy for a person who seems to produce evil, we might learn to forgive, even if they do not seem to deserve forgiveness.  It may even be safe to challenge the persons who do harm directly.  Because we have dignity, we choose what is safe and sane for us to do. 

What is in our hearts?   

What might God be doing to mend our hearts?   

These are days when human hearts need tenderness.  Our hearts desire and hope so many things, and our deepest desires and hopes are good, given to us as a gift by a healing Spirit, a loving God. 

What is the goodness of our hearts that we long to share with God and with one another? 

 

~ Matthew Kunkel, Interim Campus Minister for Social Justice 

February 20: Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Campus Ministry on February 20, 2022 at 3:02 PM PST

waterfall into a pool of water with trees and sky in background

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In some of my earliest childhood memories, I remember spending my Sunday mornings at Mass with my mother. Halfway throughout the Mass, she would take a small donation envelope out of her purse and hand it to me. Although I wasn’t exactly sure why we were giving our money away, I always knew exactly what to do with it: grab the basket when it comes my way, put the envelope in, and send it backwards to the people in the pews behind me. It was a relatively simple task, but I recall feeling a sense of significance, excitement, and curiosity. She told me, “It’s important to give to God because he has always provided for us. He will always provide for us. 

 I didn’t quite understand it then. Couldn’t we have used the money for something else? Bought food, or gone on a vacation? I didn’t see what we were getting from it. 

 In today’s readings, we are reminded to love our enemies, to love others unconditionally, even when it seems to be impossible, and to give selflessly without expectation of return. On instinct, it seems to be paradoxical in nature. Why would I want to give up parts of myself that I’ve earned, even for people and situations where it doesn’t seem deserving? If I’ve worked so hard for what I have, shouldn’t I be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor? 

 Of course, God is not telling us that we don’t deserve to take pleasure in our efforts. Instead, I believe that this is a pointed remark and a provocation to introspect and to look within ourselves, and then to look outwardly towards others. This is an invitation to discover how we can serve others. Not just “deserving” people. Not just people who have “earned it.” We cannot make that judgment. We are to discover how we can serve ALL people. 

 What is God asking of us? How can I serve others? What credit is that to me? How can I wholeheartedly serve all people, and challenge the biases I hold which prevent me from doing so? How can I embrace this vulnerability? 

 “A good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”  

 I didn’t know it then, but my mother taught me this same fundamental principle. 

~ Taylor-Ann Miyashiro, Class of 2022, B.S. Electrical Engineering

 

February 13: Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Campus Ministry on February 13, 2022 at 9:02 AM PST

The gardens on campus, with a plaque naming the garden dedication to the Remembrance of the Japanese American internment

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Today’s readings give us a glimpse into God’s response to suffering. As Jesus looks out at the crowd with love, and sees folks who are poor, hungry, grieving, excluded, and hated, he calls them each blessed. Jesus also recognizes the systemic forces of oppression and sin at work in their world, and he announces the end to their power. With every “blessed are you” and “woe to you”, Jesus declares the total reversal of our tyrannical social order, and promises instead God’s kindom of justice and interdependence.  

Next Saturday, February 19, we mark the 80th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, which authorized the forced removal and mass incarceration of all Japanese Americans on the West Coast. This internment forced children and adults from our community to leave behind their studies, businesses, and homes, to live in makeshift camps encircled with barbed wire. Our Chapel is located on land which was historically Japantown. It is our own neighbors, and fellow Seattle U students and staff, that went through this horrific xenophobic incarceration.  

How do we wrestle with this history? Perhaps we can learn from the Catholic response to EO 9066, which was solidarity, resistance, and prophetic accompaniment. The Seattle bishop spoke out against the internment, and the Seattle University community tried to resist the deportation of its Japanese American students and staff. One story stands out: Queen of Martyrs parish and school, which was predominantly Japanese American, located nearby at 17th and Jefferson. In 1942, the Maryknoll priest and sisters who ran the school closed the school, and accompanied the parishioners in their imprisonment to Puyallup and then to Idaho, continuing to respond to the community's needs. Through their faith-filled actions, the Church was the Body of Christ– joining with Jesus in proclaiming the blessedness of the most vulnerable, and challenging the dehumanizing powers of oppression.  

This is not ancient history – survivors of this trauma, and descendants of detainees, are members of our community, and continue to work for civil rights and protection of all vulnerable people. In this country today we still face the evils of mass incarceration, family separation, immigration detention, racism, and anti-Asian xenophobic hysteria. How could we more courageously resist injustice, live in solidarity, and accompany the most vulnerable in our current context – and so live the beatitudes today? 

~ JoAnn Melina Lopez, Campus Minister for Liturgy 

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