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.

1st Sunday of Advent (Year A) Dec. 1, (Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:37-44)

The image of beating swords and spears into ploughshares and pruning hooks is both beautiful and painful. It is beautiful in that it represents the heartfelt yearning of humanity for millennia for a time when nations no longer resort to war. The pain lies in the realization that we are ever so far from this state of harmony and peace.

Jesus’ power is love, sacrifice

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Christ the King (Year C) Nov. 24 (2 Samuel 5:1-3; Psalm 122; Colossians 1:12-20; Luke 23:-35-43)

The historian Lord Acton observed that “All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” A thorough study of history or a perusal of the newspaper offers convincing proof. When human beings are in a position to exercise absolute power over others without accountability disaster usually follows. No one should have too much power or be untouchable.

Keep your mind, heart always in good order

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33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Nov. 17 (Malachi 4:1-2; Psalm 98; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12; Luke 21:5-19)

The world is not always noted for its justice or life for its fairness. Often it appears that the righteous suffer or lose out while the wicked thrive and get ahead. Hopelessness, frustration and disillusionment can make even compassionate and non-judgmental individuals at times console themselves with thoughts of cosmic justice and retribution. It would be nice to see the nasty and wicked of our world get their comeuppance. Of course there is always the assumption that we are not on that list!

The Lord remains faithful to us always

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32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Nov. 10 (2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 7, 9-14; Psalm 17; 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5; Luke 20:27-38)

Suffering, persecution and chaotic situations often give birth to new theological insights. The afterlife was not part of the belief system of Israel for the greater part of its early history. If one were faithful to the commandments and law of God blessings would follow in this life. After death a person lived on through their descendants and the memory of the community. Fidelity to the covenant led to prosperity, happiness and long life.

The humble will be welcomed by God

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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?