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.

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Oct. 16 (Exodus 17:8-13; Psalm 121; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2; Luke 18:1-8)

In armies of the ancient world, the charisma and presence of the military leader made the difference between victory and defeat. As long as the leader stood tall and continued to fight, the warriors could take courage and continue the struggle.

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Oct. 9 (2 Kings 5:14-17; Psalm 98; 2 Timothy 2:8-13; Luke 17:11-19)

The prophet Elisha did not do a background check on Naaman the Syrian and neither did God. Naaman was a foreigner and an enemy, for he was the commander of the Syrian army. Neither God nor the prophet seemed to care. He suffered from leprosy, and an Israelite slave girl in his household urged him to go to Elisha. He was incensed when Elisha ordered him to bathe seven times in the Jordan. Naaman angrily declared that there were many rivers in his homeland — he needn’t have made the long journey. But urged by his servant, he did as the prophet ordered and was healed. He ecstatically offered a gift to the prophet, but it was promptly refused.

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Oct. 2 (Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4; Psalm 95; 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14; Luke 17:5-10)

“O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen?” In one form or another, this has been the lament of countless generations of believers. Even today, it is a telling accusatory question that is often leveled at God. Where was God during the war, the Holocaust, the earthquake, the plane crash and so on? There are no glib and easy answers, and those who attempt to explain the unexplainable merely deepen the gloom.

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Sept. 25 (Amos 6:1a, 4-7; Psalm 146; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31)

It is said that the opposite of love is not hatred but indifference — especially to the well-being and happiness of others. The northern kingdom of Israel had grown incredibly corrupt and unjust during years of prosperity. Some had grown obscenely wealthy and powerful, and they were dedicated to living the good life of luxury, comfort and abundance. The plight of the increasing numbers of poor people did not even enter their awareness.

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Sept. 18 (Amos 8:4-7; Psalm 113; 1 Timothy 2:1-7; Luke 16:1-13)

There is nothing new about corruption and collective sin. Amos decries the corruption of his day: folks for whom money and self-aggrandizement are more important than service to God.

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time,Sept. 11(Year C) Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14; Psalm 51; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-32

People can be unbelievably fickle and demanding. God had liberated the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, humbling one of the ancient world’s superpowers in the process.

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Sept. 4 (Wisdom 9:13-18; Psalm 90; Philemon 9b-10, 12-17; Luke 14: 25-33)

God does not think and act like humans, and we can be very grateful for that. Time after time in the Old Testament, people are chastised for imagining that they can figure God out or understand the divine will. Job discovered this when God spoke to him from the whirlwind (Job 38) and took him to task for reaching far beyond his capacity to know and understand.

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Aug. 28 (Sirach 3:17-20, 28-29; Psalm 68; Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-224a; Luke 14:1, 7-14)

Humility often suffers from a dubious reputation. It is accused of being instrumental in crushing people and denying them respect, dignity and the opportunity to grow. Often it is used to keep people in their place and to perpetuate inequalities and social hierarchies.

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Aug. 21 (Isaiah 66:18-21; Psalm 117; Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13; Luke 13:22-30)

What does the world yearn for most of all? Many would say unity and a sense of God’s presence.

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Aug. 14 (Jeremiah 28:4-6, 8-10; Psalm 40; Hebrews 12:1-4; Luke 12:49-53)

Speaking the truth to power is a dangerous and sometimes lethal undertaking. But that is the mission of prophets of God — to tell those in power and the people of the nation what they did not want to hear.