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.

Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year B) May 6 (Acts 9:26-31; Psalm 22; 1 John 3:18-24; John 15:1-8)

It was no wonder that Saul frightened the Christian community in Jerusalem. He had done nothing to inspire trust or openness; in fact, he had been their tormentor-in-chief for a number of years. He was responsible for the blood and the misfortune of many. His arrival in Jerusalem and his claim to be a follower of Jesus only aroused suspicion and anxiety.

Jesus took on for us a sacred responsibility and sacrifice

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Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year B) April 29 (Acts 4:7-12; Psalm 118; 1 John 3:1-2; John 10:11-18)

Without proof the proclamation of the Resurrection would have seemed to be nothing more than a wild tale or what we would call an urban myth. The apostles were quick to provide that proof — a crippled man was restored to health right before the eyes of the astonished crowd. The temple authorities did not deny that something marvelous had taken place. Since there are many spirits and powers in the world, they demanded to know the power and name by which the apostles had performed the healing.

True witness means experiencing both repentance and forgiveness

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Third Sunday of Easter (Year B) April 22 (Acts 3:13-15, 17-19; Psalm 4; 1 John 2:1-5; Luke 24:35-48)

Terrible things are often done not by evil people but quite ordinary ones who believe that they are doing the right thing. Peter confronted the crowd with the knowledge that they had rejected and killed God’s Holy and Righteous One — the very Author of life. These were very religious folks bent on preserving their traditions and the purity of their religion. The trouble is, zeal and fanaticism are no guarantee of clear understanding or moral and spiritual correctness. They are often a smokescreen for fear and uncertainty. We can point to countless examples in Christian history, and for that matter in the history of practically every religion.

We will find a little of Thomas’ doubt in all of us

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Second Sunday of Easter (Year B) April 15 (Acts 4:32-35; Psalm 118; 1 John 5:1-6; John 20:19-31)

There are many passages of the Scriptures that should have a more forceful impact on us but unfortunately do not. Perhaps we have heard them too many times or the countless compromises that we have made collectively with the demands of the Gospel have deadened our spiritual and moral awareness.

Christ died on the cross for all of us

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Easter Sunday (Year B) April 8 (Acts 10:34, 37-43; Psalm 118; Colossians 3:1-4; John 20:1-18)

The first Easter proclamation was rather simple. It spoke of a spirit-filled man who travelled throughout Judea and Galilee ‘doing good’ — healing, encouraging, challenging and inspiring all who were troubled or suffering. There was little reference to the content of his teaching or to complex theological issues. Shock and grief at his untimely end on the cross was evident but also wonder, joy and awe at the fact that God raised him from the dead.

Jesus showed us God’s perfect love

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Passion Sunday (Year B) April 1 (Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22; Philippians 2:6-11; Mark 14:1-15:47)

Simple words can encourage and give hope to those who are on the verge of despair and defeat. Careless, foolish or cruel words usually destroy, deflate and snuff out life.

The Suffering Servant figure in Isaiah was a person of the first approach. We have no idea who he was and it really doesn’t matter. Of prime importance is the way in which this individual was guided by God — his inner spiritual senses were attuned to the whisperings of the Spirit.

There is no new life without death

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Fifth Sunday of Lent (Year B) March 25 (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 51; Hebrews 5:7-9; John 12:20-33)

Human history is the story of broken promises. People break promises to one another; nations break covenants and treaties; and people let God down in very big ways. The result is shattered relationships and societies, and the most devastating of all, a sense of alienation and separation from God.

God is mercy and love

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Fourth Sunday of Lent (Year B) March 18 (2 Chronicles 36:14-17, 19-23; Psalm 137; Ephesians 2:4-10; John 3:14-21)

All written histories are interpretations of events rather than “cold, hard facts.” Historians have a lens through which they view the world and events. They usually seek to demonstrate their own ideas through the arrangement, selection and interpretation of events. For example, I and II Chronicles are theological reinterpretations of Israel’s history after the painful 70-year exile in Babylon and the return of the people to Jerusalem.

The cross is the door to the new temple

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Third Sunday of Lent (Year B) March 11 (Exodus 20:1-17; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 1:18, 22-25; John 2:13-25)

Are the Ten Commandments old-fashioned or obsolete? There are those who think so. Cynics have sometimes called them the 10 suggestions or have mused on what would happen if archeologists discovered a tablet with numbers 11 through 20 inscribed on them. But they are as valid today as ever.

Jesus Christ’s love for mankind holds nothing back

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Second Sunday of Lent (Year B) March 4 (Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18; Psalm 116; Rom 8:31b-34; Mk 9:2-10)

Can you imagine being asked to give away your most precious possession — a gift for which you had waited your entire life? And what if that prized gift was a beloved child?

We can be instruments of God’s reign

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First Sunday of Lent (Year B) Feb. 26 (Genesis 9:8-15; Psalm 25; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Mark 1:12-15)

What is the connection between a beautiful rainbow and the aftermath of a catastrophic flood? To our own minds, there is no connection at all. The flood is the result of natural forces — rain, wind and tides — and there is little or no meaning in it. A rainbow, as beautiful as it is, is caused by the sun being refracted through the moisture in the air. But if you are a person living in the ancient world, every manifestation of nature is the hand of God. Ancient people “connected dots” — event “B” occurred after event “A,” therefore “A” must have been the cause, with God as the ultimate connection between all events.