Fr. Scott Lewis, S.J
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Jan. 24 (Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 12:12-30; Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21)
The moment of true conversion of heart and mind should always be an occasion of rejoicing. Often people look back on their errant journey with shame and despondency, wasting a lot of time and energy on self-condemnation.
Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Year C) Dec. 27 (1 Samuel 1:20-22, 24-28; Psalm 84; 1 John 3:1-2, 21-24; Luke 2:41-52)
Hannah’s fervent prayer had been answered. During a previous visit to the shrine at Shiloh, she had stood before the shrine and prayed to God for a child. Her murmured prayers earned her an unjust rebuke from Eli the prophet, who accused her of drunkenness. Hannah promised that if God blessed her with a son, she would dedicate him in service to the Lord. Now she fulfilled her promise as she brought her son Samuel — who would grow up to be a great prophet — to Eli for training and instruction.
Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year C) Dec. 20 (Micah 5:2-5a; Psalm 80; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-45)
In biblical times Bethlehem was probably not a very impressive “city” — it was more like a small town. There was nothing visible that would hint at future greatness. Its glory was that it was the birthplace of its most illustrious son — David, the king of Israel. The city of David, as it came to be known, had great things in store for it.
Second Sunday of Advent (Year C) Dec. 6 (Baruch 5:1-9; Psalm 126; Philippians 1:3-6, 8-11; Luke 3:1-6)
Makeover shows are very popular on TV. The theme is always the same: an ugly, broken-down house is transformed into a beautiful dwelling. A shabbily dressed, poorly groomed individual is transformed into an attractive, even stunning, new person. Baruch prophesied the same sort of makeover for Jerusalem. We don’t know who actually wrote this work, and in fact, it is probably a compilation by several authors. It was attributed to Baruch the secretary of Jeremiah, but it was actually written much later, possibly in the second or first century B.C.
Christ the King (Year B) Nov. 22 (Daniel 7:13-14; Psalm 93; Revelation 1:5-8; John 18:33b-37)
Who hasn’t wished for some supernatural power to come from above and set the world right? In the chaos, fear and violence of our world it often seems that there is no way out. We are faced with numerous crises of every type — political, economic, environmental and religious.
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Nov. 15 (Daniel 12:1-3; Psalm 16; Hebrews 10:11-14, 18; Mark 13:24-32)
Many people have been convinced that they were living through the absolute worst time in the history of the world. The carnage and destruction of the First and Second World Wars, as well as the devastation of revolutions, plagues and natural disasters all vie for the top of the list of horrors. It seemed to those who were experiencing these things that the end of the world had indeed come.
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Nov. 8 (1 Kings 17:10-16; Psalm 146; Hebrews 9:24-28; Mark 12:38-44)
Fear is often the enemy of generosity and can choke off the better parts of our nature. Many people are unwilling to share from fear of not having enough rather than conscious selfishness.
All Saints (Year B) Nov. 1 (Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14; Psalm 24; 1 John 3:1-5; Matthew 5:1-12a)
What are we to make of the Book of Revelation in our own time? It is not a prediction of current events or a preview of the end of the world. It was written during a time of uncertainty and persecution, most likely to give hope and encouragement to struggling and persecuted Christian communities. This particular passage is filled with rich symbols, each one of them conveying an important message about God.
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Oct. 25 ( Jeremiah 31:7-9; Psalm 126; Hebrews 5:1-6; Mark 10:46-52)
The words of this prophecy sound far too joyful and positive to have come from Jeremiah. His prophecies were known for bitterness, lamentation, misery and predictions of doom. This prophecy, on the other hand, is alive with joy and a sense of a bright and happy future for God’s people.
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Oct. 18 (Isaiah 53:10-11; Psalm 33; Hebrews 4:14-16; Mark 10:35-45)
Suffering is bad; it is to be feared and avoided at all costs. This is the heartfelt attitude of most people. Even though this is understandable, it is incomplete. To be sure, needless suffering should be alleviated or avoided. Masochistic self-indulgence has no place in a healthy spirituality. But there is a sort of suffering that has value, and that is suffering borne freely and willingly for the sake of others.