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.

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 And as the psalms insist in several verses, if this breath were to be withdrawn for even an instant we would return to dust.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.

Second Sunday of Easter (Year A) March 30 (Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 118; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31)

What an ideal community — a veritable utopia! We might suspect that the early Christian communities were not quite as rosy as Luke paints them. Paul’s letters are certainly a dissenting voice. But even allowing for Luke’s often idealistic and enthusiastic portrayal of community life in the early days of the Christian movement, it is clear that it was something very exceptional.

Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) June 1 (Deuteronomy 10:12-13; 11:18, 26-28, 32; Psalm 31; Romans 1:16-17; 3:20-26, 28; Matthew 7:21-27)

What is most pleasing to God? Deuteronomy insists that loving and serving God alone, walking in God’s ways, brings happiness and gives life. The author defines loving and serving God as absolute loyalty and a refusal to incline one’s heart or mind towards other gods. Indeed, the Deuteronomist considers idolatry the worst of all possible sins, provoking God’s anger and punishment.

Body and Blood of Christ (Year A) May 25 (Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16; Psalm 147; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; John 6:51-59)

Meeting the demands of hunger and thirst is the most basic of human drives. Physical survival must be ensured before people turn to those things we consider of a higher nature: self-expression, society, culture, the quest for knowledge and so on. And yet there seems to be a problem right from the beginning of human history as recorded in the Bible. Humans allow hunger and thirst — the basic drives of life — to crowd out and obliterate their relationship with God.

Trinity Sunday (Year A), May 18 (Exodus 34:4-6, 8-9; Daniel 3; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18)

A sudden change in perspective or a new view of reality can be shocking and unsettling for many. Suddenly the conventional wisdom is no longer so wise, and reality is far more complicated than we ever imagined.