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.

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Aug. 3 (Isaiah 55:1-3; Psalm 145; Romans 8:35, 37-39; Matthew 14:13-21)

It would be difficult if not impossible to imagine a supermarket declaring that food and drink — including wine — was now available for everyone, regardless of ability to pay. The sudden run on the store would be overwhelming unless suspicion and cynicism kept people away. And yet God is doing exactly that.

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 27 (1 Kings 3:5-12; Psalm 119; Romans 8:28-30; Matthew 13:44-52)

We are all familiar with the stories of the genie in the bottle who grants the owner three wishes. It is amusing to think of what we might ask for: piles of money, everything we have always wanted, and then, goaded by a twinge of guilt, world peace. Solomon is in a similar position, but the one granting the wishes is not a genie but God.

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) July 20 (Wisdom 12:13, 16-19; Psalm 86; Romans 8:26-27; Matthew 13:24-43)

Patience, forbearance and compassion are often equated with weakness. It is far better to be strong and quick to punish, some insist, so that one will be respected and feared. And basing their views of God on the more ancient and undeveloped layers of the Bible they build an image of a God who is quick to lash out with punishments.

September 5, 2008

God is the antidote

Triumph of the Cross (Year A) Sept. 14 (Numbers 21:4-9; Psalm 78; Philippians 2:6-11; John 3:13-17)

As anyone who has ever been on a long journey knows well, there is nothing like heat, thirst and hunger to bring out the worst in people. The Israelites provide a good example of human fickleness and fear during their journey through the wilderness.

August 29, 2008

Love thy neighbour

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Sept. 7 (Ezekiel 33:7-9; Psalm 95; Romans 13:8-10; Matthew 18:15-20)

Ezekiel has a new job along with excellent incentive to do well. It is nothing less than an offer he can’t refuse: do your job as instructed or die. His assignment is stand as an intermediary between God and Israel. Additionally, he is to warn people when they have strayed from the path and call them back to the ways of God.

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Aug. 31 (Jeremiah 20:7-9; Psalm 63; Romans 12:1-2; Matthew 16:21-27)

It is easy to sympathize with the rather unwilling prophet Jeremiah. His proclamation of the “bad news” — violence and destruction — was not well received. Nothing had gone right, he was a laughingstock, his life had been threatened, and he wanted out in no uncertain terms. And he was angry with God — he accuses God of putting one over on him and even forcing him against his will.

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Sept. 28 (Ezekiel 18:25-28; Psalm 25; Philippians 2:1-11; Matthew 21:28-32)

People often shake their fist at heaven and lament the “unfairness” of God. Sometimes this can mean that God did not deliver the goods when they prayed for something. The apparent inequalities and injustices of life are another source of disappointment in the divine. Why do vicious, aggressive or dishonest people seem to get ahead?

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Sept. 21 (Isaiah 55:6-9; Psalm 145; Philippians 1:20-24, 27; Matthew 20:1-16)

Isaiah’s plea to seek the Lord while He may be found and call upon Him while He is near leaves one with the impression that God is going somewhere. But God is not about to check out or disappear.

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Oct. 12 (Isaiah 25:6-10; Psalm 23; Philippians 4:10-14, 19-20; Matthew 22:1-14)

Visions of redemption and hope are born out of suffering, pain and despair. Conquest, disgrace and exile had been the lot of the people of Israel and they asked the question asked by so many human hearts: when will it all end? Is this all there is? Is there any meaning at all in either our suffering or our lives?
September 26, 2008

It's God's vineyard

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Oct. 5 (Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80; Philippians 4:6-9; Matthew 21:33-43)

Many people can identify with God’s frustration in Isaiah’s parable of the vineyard. Perhaps they have given many hours of backbreaking work in a yard or garden with heat and blisters thrown in as a bonus. And when there are no results, when the anticipated flowers, trees or plants fail to grow or grow in wild and bizarre ways, there is only disappointment, frustration and anger. Why bother!