Fr. Scott Lewis, S.J

Fr. Scott Lewis, S.J

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.

Baptism of the Lord (Year A) Jan. 13 (Isaiah 42:1-4, 5-7; Psalm 29; Acts 10:34-38; Matthew 3:13-17)

The careless and loose manner with which we use the word “Spirit” in everyday speech often obscures the sense of the Spirit’s dynamism and power.

Epiphany (Year A) Jan. 6 (Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72; Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6; Matthew 2:1-12)

The image painted of the world in Isaiah’s vision seems all too familiar. The peoples of the Earth are imprisoned in darkness and they stumble about in a spiritual and intellectual stupor. There is precious little light in our own time, but an abundance of hatred, violence and fear. And to compound the problem, the very existence of God is an open question to many and a settled one, in a negative fashion, to many others.

Holy Family (Year A) Dec. 30 (Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14; Psalm 128; Colossians 3:12-21; Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23)

So many of the teachings in both the Old and New Testaments are intended to preserve and enhance the quality of human community. Care and honour of one’s parents is an important element of that, for it is a concrete way of expressing gratitude for the gift of life. It also forms a firm link between past generations and a nation’s future.

Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year A), Dec. 23 (Isaiah 7:10-14; Psalm 24; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-24)

Great written works have many lives and this is especially true with biblical texts. The original audience for Isaiah’s prophecy was Jerusalem in the eighth century BC, and the sign of encouragement was meant for Ahaz the king. Jerusalem was under siege, and Ahaz was close to despair. Should he make foreign military alliances in order to lift the siege? The word that came through Isaiah was a resounding negative. All that was needed was trust in God.

Third Sunday of Advent (Year A) Dec. 16 (Isaiah 35:1-6, 10; Psalm 146; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11)

People can bear almost any negative situation if they believe that it will come to an end. And if they are being oppressed, this hope for deliverance is tinged with fantasies of revenge and retribution, especially at the hands of a heroic liberator.

Easter Sunday (Year A) March 23 (Acts 10:34, 36-43; Psalm 118; Colossians 3:1-4; John 20:1-18)

Peter’s conversation with Cornelius, so unexceptional to us, would have been stunning and even disconcerting to most of his contemporaries. Cornelius belonged to a different nation, ethnic group, religion and system of values. He was also a Roman officer — a member of the hated occupying army — and Peter was not only in his house but was relating to him the wonderful account of God’s power manifested in Jesus.

Passion Sunday (Year A), March 16, 2008 (Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22; Philippians 2:6-11; Matthew 26:14-27:66)

We can endure almost anything if we know that we are doing what is right and that our suffering has meaning. The Suffering Servant figure in Isaiah’s prophecy was one such individual.

Fifth Sunday of Lent (Year A) March 9 (Ezekiel 37:12-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:8-11; John 11:1-45)

The Spirit of God — the Divine Breath — first appears in the opening lines of Genesis. It is an instrument of creation as it blows across the chaotic primal waters. This same spirit (or breath, as the Hebrew word is the same for both) made humans into living beings. And as the psalms insist in several verses, if this breath were to be withdrawn for even an instant we would return to dust. So it seems that there has never been a time when we were without this spirit, and yet the readings seem to suggest that it is something new.

Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year A) April 13 (Acts 2:14, 36-41; Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2:20-25; John 10:1-10)

People are rightly outraged and upset when there is a grave miscarriage of justice such as a false accusation. But the most disturbing injustice of all is when an innocent person is executed.

Third Sunday of Easter (Year A) April 6 (Acts 2:14, 22-28; Psalm 16; 1 Peter 1:17-21; Luke 24:13-35)

How does one make sense of the absurd, tragic and senseless? The early Christians had their work cut out for them.