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.

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Aug. 24 (Isaiah 22:15, 19-23; Psalm 138; Romans 11:33-36; Matthew 16:13-20)

Scandal in high places — nothing new about that, is there? The setting is Jerusalem in the seventh century BC in the court of King Hezekiah. Shebna was a very high ranking official (master of the palace), signified by his possession of the "key of David." This was apparently a symbol of governing authority exercised in the name of the king. Shebna had committed an unnamed offence that dishonoured the name of his master the king. He was bounced from his position and demoted to scribe and Eliakim elevated in his place — end of story.

God will offer salvation to all


Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Aug. 17 (Isaiah 56:1, 6-7; Psalm 67; Romans 11:13-15, 29-32; Matthew 15:21-28)

A prophetic image from the long distant past can speak to us over and over again.

Faith in God will get us through life


Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Aug. 10 (1 Kings 19:9, 11-13; Psalm 85; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:22-33)

Many people think that we live in a world devoid of God’s presence — that God has receded from human concerns or that the world has become “disenchanted.” Perhaps we are listening and looking for the wrong signs.

The Lord provides for His people


Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Aug. 3 (Isaiah 55:1-3; Psalm 145; Romans 8:35, 37-39; Matthew 14:13-21)

It would be difficult if not impossible to imagine a supermarket declaring that food and drink — including wine — was now available for everyone, regardless of ability to pay. The sudden run on the store would be overwhelming unless suspicion and cynicism kept people away. And yet God is doing exactly that.

Our greatest treasure is found within


17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 27 (1 Kings 3:5-12; Psalm 119; Romans 8:28-30; Matthew 13:44-52)

We are all familiar with the stories of the genie in the bottle who grants the owner three wishes. It is amusing to think of what we might ask for: piles of money, everything we have always wanted, and then, goaded by a twinge of guilt, world peace. Solomon is in a similar position, but the one granting the wishes is not a genie but God.

Trust that God is capable, compassionate, just


16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) July 20 (Wisdom 12:13, 16-19; Psalm 86; Romans 8:26-27; Matthew 13:24-43)

Patience, forbearance and compassion are often equated with weakness. It is far better to be strong and quick to punish, some insist, so that one will be respected and feared. And basing their views of God on the more ancient and undeveloped layers of the Bible they build an image of a God who is quick to lash out with punishments.

True hearing means receiving, accepting, understanding


Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) July 13 (Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 65; Romans 8:18-23; Matthew 13:1-23)

The Word of God should not be confused with the written word. The latter is static and unchanging, while the Word of God is dynamic and never at rest until its mission is complete. We might describe the Word of God as God’s creative will and energy. It can be expressed in the created order — what we call nature — as well as in and through human history.

Be open to the spirit of God


Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) July 6 (Zechariah 9:9-10; Psalm 145; Romans 8:9, 11-13; Matthew 11:25-30)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a majestic and powerful hero would come and fix all of our problems? Terrorism, the economy, crime, unemployment, all these would vanish before this individual’s power and authority. Unfortunately, most of those who make such claims and promises have very different ideas, and they demand certain things in return — our freedom, for starters.

Those who overcome fear change history


Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year A), June 22 (Jeremiah 20:7, 10-13; Psalm 69; Romans 5:12-15; Matthew 10:26-33)

Jeremiah was not the most enthusiastic prophet in the Old Testament. When God called him the only response he had was a long litany of his unworthiness, youth and incompetence. This was the usual pattern for those called by God — few went eagerly or willingly.

God goes to great lengths for our salvation


Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) June 15 (Exodus 19:1-6; Psalm 100; Romans 5:6-11; Matthew 9:36-10:8)

Protectors, champions and warriors — so many ancient peoples compared their gods. Nations, peoples and tribes each had their own deities with whom they entered into a covenant. These gods were meant to protect a people, as well as defeat and destroy their enemies on the battlefield. Gods inspired awe and fear with their displays of power — natural signs such as thunder, lightning, plagues and famines. 

God seeks the lost, wandering


10th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) June 8 (Hosea 6:3-6; Psalm 50; Romans 4:18-25; Matthew 9:9-13)

Sometimes the limitations of human language can obscure the beauty and subtlety of the intended meaning of a word or phrase. Hosea chastises the people of Israel in God’s name, highlighting the fickleness and superficiality of their commitment to God. He ends his tirade with a warning: God will not be manipulated or bought off by behaviour common to religious people of all times and places. This is the attempt to placate God with sacrifices, rituals, acts of asceticism and the like, while protecting the core of one’s selfish personality. The assumption is that punctilious religious observance will persuade God to ignore or overlook the less admirable areas of our lives.