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.
Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) July 19 (Jeremiah 23:1-6; Psalm 23; Ephesians 2:13-18; Mark 6:30-34)

Despite the peaceful and idyllic image of the shepherd’s life it is anything but easy. Keeping wandering members of the flock together and searching after the wayward is itself a full-time job. But on top of all that, there is the constant and unwavering vigilance that must be exercised to protect the flock from predators that strike without warning. Little time is left for the shepherd who has little time to think of his own comfort and safety — at least in the case of a reliable and trustworthy shepherd. The shepherd must account for the safety and well-being of the entire flock to the owner.

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) July 12 (Amos 7:12-15; Psalm 85; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13)

The threats and bullying of Amaziah the priest of Bethel meant very little to Amos. Amos wanted no part in the role of a prophet. It was not something that he sought, nor does he belong to any of the prophetic guilds. He was gainfully employed as a tree dresser and was minding his own business.

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Aug. 2 (Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15, 31; Psalm 78; Ephesians 4:17, 20-24; John 6:24-35)

People often idealize the past and forget the painful struggles and difficulties that they experienced. Previous jobs or living conditions become the source of nostalgia and wistful longing when we face the difficulties and struggles of the present. In the years following the momentous changes of 1989, many cast wistful eyes back to the period of communist rule. Things were “better” economically and there was “law and order.” The terror and lack of freedom were forgotten.

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) July 26 (2 Kings 4:42-44; Psalm 145; Ephesians 4:1-6; John 6:1-15)

Many have attempted to separate the Old and the New Testament and even to build a barrier between them. But both testaments speak to each other for they both witness to the action of the same loving God. Each of the testaments is unique, as is each individual book within them. And Christians can in no way expropriate the Old Testament for themselves and claim to be its only legitimate interpreters.

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Aug. 16 (Proverbs 9:1-6; Psalm 34; Ephesians 5:15-20; John 6:51-58)

When we hear the word “banquet” it often triggers thoughts of rubber chicken and tedious speeches. Not so in the Bible: both Testaments employ the banquet metaphor to describe an invited encounter with a gracious God.

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Aug. 9 (1 Kings 19:4-8; Psalm 34; Ephesians 4:30-5:2; John 6:41-51)

Few would argue that life is easy. Each life brings its share of hardships, pain and disappointments, as well as blessings and joys. Even the lives of those who “have it all” are often visited by suffering and sorrow.

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Aug. 23 (Joshua 24:1-2, 15-17, 18; Psalm 34; Ephesians 4:32-5:2, 21-32; John 6:53, 60-69)

At some point everyone makes a fundamental decision that colours the quality and value of their entire life. They decide whom or what they will serve. We might protest that we are independent and serve no one, but in fact we are all caught in a web of social, personal and economic relationships that demand various degrees of commitment.

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Aug. 30 (Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8; Psalm 15; James 1:17-18, 21-22, 27)

Law and rule books are usually not our favourite reading and it is hard to think of them as something exciting or life-giving. And yet Deuteronomy is often quoted or alluded to in the New Testament and is even on the lips of Jesus as He resists the temptations of the devil in the wilderness. It is the core of the “great commandment” of love found in Mark 12. Fashioned in the seventh century B.C. during a time of reform and renewal, the book sought to bring the people into a sense of a partnership or relationship with God.

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Sept. 13 (Isaiah 50:5-9; Psalm 116; James 2:14-18; Mark 8:27-35)

The image of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah stands in stark contrast to the ideal images of heroes in our own culture. For so many the perfect hero is one who responds to rejection, persecution or personal attack with a dazzling display of power and violence. Contemporary films and TV programs hammer home the measure of a hero: body counts and explosions.

September 8, 2009

God will show us the way

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Sept. 6 (Isaiah 35:4-7; Psalm 146; James 2:1-5; Mark 7:31-37)

To those who have been uprooted and driven from their homes the world seems to have ended. In the past century more people were displaced than at any other time in history. That century also gave birth to wars, genocides and persecutions on an unprecedented scale. What words of comfort can we possibly have for the victims? What can we do to ease their inner suffering?