The Catholic Register - Fr. Scott Lewis

Fr. Scott Lewis is an associate professor of New Testament at Regis College, a founding member of the Toronto School of Theology.

He is a past president of the Canadian Catholic Biblical Association.

God does the extraordinary through the most ordinary people

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Feb. 7 (Isaiah 6:1-2a, 3-8; Psalm 138; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Luke 5:1-11)

How would we react if we suddenly found ourselves out of our element and where we had no right to be? Fear, embarrassment and a sense of vulnerability all come to mind — and Isaiah experienced them all. No one could be in God’s presence and live to tell the tale — and there Isaiah was, in the midst of the heavenly court. This was a vision, not an actual physical journey, but no less powerful and frightening.

Success can’t be measured while on Earth

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Jan. 31 (Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19; Psalm 71; 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13; Luke 4:21-30)

The prophetic call from God made brave men quake. Most of them knew exactly what it could mean — hardship, rejection, persecution, failure and even death.

Don’t waste time rehashing the past

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Jan. 24 (Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 12:12-30; Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21)

The moment of true conversion of heart and mind should always be an occasion of rejoicing. Often people look back on their errant journey with shame and despondency, wasting a lot of time and energy on self-condemnation.

God blesses us when we undertake to do good

Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Year C) Dec. 27 (1 Samuel 1:20-22, 24-28; Psalm 84; 1 John 3:1-2, 21-24; Luke 2:41-52)

Hannah’s fervent prayer had been answered. During a previous visit to the shrine at Shiloh, she had stood before the shrine and prayed to God for a child. Her murmured prayers earned her an unjust rebuke from Eli the prophet, who accused her of drunkenness. Hannah promised that if God blessed her with a son, she would dedicate him in service to the Lord. Now she fulfilled her promise as she brought her son Samuel — who would grow up to be a great prophet — to Eli for training and instruction.

The sacrifice of self is all that Christ seeks of us

Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year C) Dec. 20 (Micah 5:2-5a; Psalm 80; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-45)

In biblical times Bethlehem was probably not a very impressive “city” — it was more like a small town. There was nothing visible that would hint at future greatness. Its glory was that it was the birthplace of its most illustrious son — David, the king of Israel. The city of David, as it came to be known, had great things in store for it.

In an uncertain world, God is present

Second Sunday of Advent (Year C) Dec. 6 (Baruch 5:1-9; Psalm 126; Philippians 1:3-6, 8-11; Luke 3:1-6)

Makeover shows are very popular on TV. The theme is always the same: an ugly, broken-down house is transformed into a beautiful dwelling. A shabbily dressed, poorly groomed individual is transformed into an attractive, even stunning, new person. Baruch prophesied the same sort of makeover for Jerusalem. We don’t know who actually wrote this work, and in fact, it is probably a compilation by several authors. It was attributed to Baruch the secretary of Jeremiah, but it was actually written much later, possibly in the second or first century B.C.

Jesus shows us the nature of true power

Christ the King (Year B) Nov. 22 (Daniel 7:13-14; Psalm 93; Revelation 1:5-8; John 18:33b-37)

Who hasn’t wished for some supernatural power to come from above and set the world right? In the chaos, fear and violence of our world it often seems that there is no way out. We are faced with numerous crises of every type — political, economic, environmental and religious.

The Lord’s teaching will outlast this world

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Nov. 15 (Daniel 12:1-3; Psalm 16; Hebrews 10:11-14, 18; Mark 13:24-32)

Many people have been convinced that they were living through the absolute worst time in the history of the world. The carnage and destruction of the First and Second World Wars, as well as the devastation of revolutions, plagues and natural disasters all vie for the top of the list of horrors. It seemed to those who were experiencing these things that the end of the world had indeed come.

God calls on us to forgo power, be a community of equals

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Nov. 8 (1 Kings 17:10-16; Psalm 146; Hebrews 9:24-28; Mark 12:38-44)

Fear is often the enemy of generosity and can choke off the better parts of our nature. Many people are unwilling to share from fear of not having enough rather than conscious selfishness.

Living the Beatitudes our only hope for a just world

All Saints (Year B) Nov. 1 (Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14; Psalm 24; 1 John 3:1-5; Matthew 5:1-12a)

What are we to make of the Book of Revelation in our own time? It is not a prediction of current events or a preview of the end of the world. It was written during a time of uncertainty and persecution, most likely to give hope and encouragement to struggling and persecuted Christian communities. This particular passage is filled with rich symbols, each one of them conveying an important message about God.

Faith means trusting in God’s goodness

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Oct. 25 ( Jeremiah 31:7-9; Psalm 126; Hebrews 5:1-6; Mark 10:46-52)

The words of this prophecy sound far too joyful and positive to have come from Jeremiah. His prophecies were known for bitterness, lamentation, misery and predictions of doom. This prophecy, on the other hand, is alive with joy and a sense of a bright and happy future for God’s people.

It is the humble servant who is the true disciple

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Oct. 18 (Isaiah 53:10-11; Psalm 33; Hebrews 4:14-16; Mark 10:35-45)

Suffering is bad; it is to be feared and avoided at all costs. This is the heartfelt attitude of most people. Even though this is understandable, it is incomplete. To be sure, needless suffering should be alleviated or avoided. Masochistic self-indulgence has no place in a healthy spirituality. But there is a sort of suffering that has value, and that is suffering borne freely and willingly for the sake of others.

The value of wisdom

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Oct. 11 (Wisdom 7:7-11; Psalm 90; Hebrews 4:12-13; Mark 10:17-30)

You must run for your life in the face of a natural disaster. If you could take only your most precious possession, what would it be? Your car or house? Perhaps your financial portfolio or family heirlooms? The author of Wisdom had definite ideas on the matter, and his answer might be surprising to many. All the precious and valuable things in the world pale in comparison to his prize — the gift of wisdom. He heaped up superlatives singing wisdom’s praises and demonstrating how it is superior to everything else, even power, glory, gold and precious stones.