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.

Second Sunday of Lent (Year A) Feb. 17 (Genesis 12:1-4; Psalm 33; 2 Timothy 1:8-10; Matthew 17:1-9)

Most people have a great reluctance, even fear, of being vulnerable. We like to control events and our environment. We insulate ourselves with power, wealth and relationships and a host of other things to give us the illusion of security.

First Sunday of Lent (Year A) Feb. 10 (Genesis 2:7-9, 16-18, 25; 3:1-7; Psalm 51; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11)

The Garden of Eden story has inspired centuries of interpretation and reflection. Unfortunately, not all of the interpretations have been helpful, for they have generated several ideas of very questionable theological value. Among them is the persistent idea that women are the weaker gender and the source of temptation. It has been called into service to paint humanity as totally depraved and sinful and to consign unbaptized babies to a non-existent limbo. Most of these interpretations burden the story far beyond its original purpose and they were often forged in the heat of theological conflicts.

Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year A) Feb. 3 (Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13; Psalm 146; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; Matthew 5:1-12)

In the animal world there are many ways to impress and intimidate others: colourful plumage, the ability to inflate one’s appearance, displays of ferocity and various forms of body language. Human beings have their own ways of dominating and oppressing others: possessions, titles and marks of respect, fancy dress and ways of life, as well as power and aggressive competitiveness. The “bad” news is that God is definitely not impressed with any of this.

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A), Jan. 27 (Isaiah 9:1-4; Psalm 27; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17-18; Matthew 4:12-23)

It is very difficult to give hope and encouragement to those who have lost everything. What does one say to the victims of natural disasters or wars who have no homes to live in and only the rubble of their cities? Any words of comfort seem like empty platitudes.

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Jan. 20 (Isaiah 49:3, 5-6; Psalm 40; 1 Corinthians 1:1-3; John 1:29-34)

What is it like to be singled out by God for an important task? As any prophet or person of God can tell you, it is not always fun and games.

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.