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.

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Oct. 29 (Sirach 35:15-17, 20-2; Psalm 34; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14)

Life is not fair and the world is not a just place — or so it appears. We can think of countless cases of people appearing to slither, bob and weave through the justice system by means of sharp lawyers and legal contortions. Money and power is often the leverage that tips the scales in their favour. Often religious language is the icing on this disheartening cake. Small wonder that cynicism and disillusionment have taken up residence in so many hearts and minds.

Victory is ours with God on our side

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29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Oct. 20 (Exodus 17:8-13; Psalm 121; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2; Luke 18:1-8)

Moses had a formidable secret weapon at his disposal, one that generals throughout the centuries would have loved to have as their own. In this case, it was the staff of God held aloft in his hands. As long as his hands were held aloft, Israel prevailed against the Amalekites; when his hands become weary and drooped a bit, they began to lose. His assistants had a solution: they propped his arms up so the Israelites were able to emerge victorious from the battle.

We are all worthy of God’s mercy

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28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Oct. 13 (2 Kings 5:14-17; Psalm 98; 2 Timothy 2:8-13; Luke 17:11-19)

Faith almost always played an important role in biblical healing, even among those who belonged to another people and religion. There were countless instances of God’s grace being extended to those considered to be on the outside.

A faith-filled life should be our response to world

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27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Oct. 6 (Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4; Psalm 95; 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14; Luke 17:5-10)

How long, O Lord? When are you going to hear our prayers? When is all of this going to stop? This has probably been the reaction of many to the world that assaults us through the media each day. It seems like an endless flood of violence, hatred, corruption, suffering and the failure of institutions. Scenes like the slaughter of children in an elementary school or the massacre of shoppers in a Kenyan shopping mall can leave us numb. There is a temptation to turn away and get lost in distractions, or to become bitter and cynical, perhaps even ceasing to believe in anything.

Our time on this Earth should be lived ethically

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26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Sept. 29 (Amos 6:1, 4-7; Psalm 146; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31)

There isn’t much of a market for ivory beds today but many other symbols of luxury have taken their place. Amos wrote in the eighth century B.C. and addressed both the Northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. His stinging denunciations were meant to awaken the upper classes from their spiritual and moral lethargy.

We can’t serve two masters

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25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Sept. 22 (Amos 8:4-7; Psalm 113; 1 Timothy 2:1-7; Luke 16:1-13)

People are an expendable commodity. Unbridled profit should be one’s guiding principle. If this sounds heartless and shocking it should because it is — but it expresses the underlying mentality of too many people and it helps to fuel our institutions.

God is close at hand, offering His kingdom

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24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Sept. 15 (Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14; Psalm 51; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-32)

The Golden Calf is well established in our cultural tradition as a symbol of idolatry or chasing after false values. Several years ago a TV commentator referred to a particular luxury car as a “Golden Calf on wheels” — well said! Perhaps we should ask what motivates people to pursue such falseness — is it merely ill will or wickedness?

World of ‘spiritual pygmies’

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23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Sept. 8 (Wisdom 9:13-18; Psalm 90; Philemon 9-10, 12-17; Luke 14:25-33)

Is human reasoning really so bad? The author of Wisdom seemed to think so — he insisted that it is worthless! As we look around at our world of technological marvels and progress, our first impulse might be to take issue with his statement. But Wisdom seemed to have our own age in mind.

A healthy dose of humility goes a long way

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22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Sept. 1 (Sirach 3:17-20, 28-29; Psalm 68; Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24; Luke 14:1, 7-14)

Jesus offers no free pass

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21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Aug. 25 (Isaiah 66:18-21; Psalm 117; Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13; Luke 13:22-30)

The concept of a universal God was not a New Testament invention. The vision of the inclusion of other peoples and nations in God’s plan of salvation was firmly embedded in the third portion of the Book of Isaiah. The sojourn in Babylon had stretched the intellectual and spiritual horizons of Israel’s people. They encountered other belief systems and cultures more directly than in the past. Even in foreign captivity they saw God at work and their release from captivity was a gift of Cyrus the new Persian ruler, designated God’s anointed in Isaiah.

Like Jesus, we all have to do the heavy lifting

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20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Aug. 18 (Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10; Psalm 40; Hebrews 12:1-4; Luke 12:49-53)