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.

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

 

Cosmic battles and rescuing heroes are usually the stuff of action movies and video games. But in the ancient world it was also the fervent hope and expectation of a brutally oppressed people.

The Jews of the second century BC were struggling with an oppressor bent on destroying the Jewish religion and culture. Antiochus Epiphanes was willing to use any method — however bloody and cruel — to achieve his goal.

November 27, 2009

Love illuminates the way

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

Clothes make the person — or so goes the old saying. But this very worldly principle is used often in the Scriptures to indicate something much deeper. Clothes in the biblical sense are indicators of one’s psychological and spiritual state — ways of thinking, worldview, values and personal identity.

1st Sunday of Advent (Year C) Nov. 29 (Jeremiah 33:14-16; Psalm 25; 1Thessalonians 3:12-4:2; Luke 21:25-28, 34-36)

It takes real courage and conviction to preach hope and redemption in the midst of disaster and suffering. Any politician doing so would be in serious danger of being thrown out of office after being accused of insensitivity, denial, political opportunism and a host of other political and social sins.

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

The road to motherhood was a long and painful journey for Hannah as for many of the “barren women” of the Bible. Not only did she have to deal with the disappointment at being childless but the shame and guilt as well, for childlessness was thought to be a punishment or curse from God. Not even Hannah’s prayer to God was without difficulty — she had to endure the snide and contemptuous accusations of public drunkenness from Eli the prophet. But she was a woman of intense faith and her prayers were answered.

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

One of the little (some translations say “least”) clans of Judea — not what a city would want to put on its promotional literature or web site. And yet who has not heard of Bethlehem? Great things definitely come from seemingly insignificant origins.

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Jan. 17 (Isaiah 62:1-5; Psalm 96; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; John 2:1-12)

We are all familiar with the cliché “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Cliché or not, most clichés bear an important truth. In this case we are warned about making judgments — either positive or negative — based on external appearances and popular values.

Baptism of the Lord (Year C) Jan. 10 (Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11; Psalm 104; Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7; Luke 3:15-16, 21-22)

It is difficult to read this passage from Isaiah without hearing the strains of Handel’s Messiah. These beautiful verses from Isaiah’s “book of comfort” fell on welcome ears — those of the exiles in Babylon. The suffering is over and done with; all of the negativity is in the past. No “blood and thunder” from God here, only tender speech and the image of a shepherd gathering and caring for the sheep. God has not forgotten them and God is not against them.

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

What does Epiphany mean in 2010? Epiphany has been celebrated for more than 2,000 years since the birth of Jesus but each year we must ask again what it means for us in our present situation lest it becomes just another feast on the liturgical calendar.

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

How do people react to traumatic or catastrophic events in their lives? There are many ways to react but one of the most common is the attempt to “remake oneself.” This can take the form of a complete change in values or lifestyle in an effort to make a complete break with the past and all of its associations. Sometimes the “new” person is difficult to recognize.

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Feb. 14 (Jeremiah 17:5-8; Psalm 1; 1 Corinthians 15:12, 16-20; Luke 6:17, 20-26)

Do we need God? That seems to be the question of our age, and for many the answer is a resounding “no.”

The humanist or atheist claims that religion is dangerous and retrograde. Humans can do quite well on their own and have no need of silly superstitions and childish beliefs. Human efforts will do just fine — far better to rely on science, technology and human reason.