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.

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 it good or bad? We are appalled by the overwhelming amount of suffering in the world and we want to alleviate this suffering. At the same time, we speak of suffering in terms of a positive force with a redemptive value. Much depends on who is suffering and why.

We can experience the freedom of God's children

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28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Oct. 11 (Wisdom 7:7-11; Psalm 90; Hebrews 4:12-13; Mark 10:17-30)

Intelligence and wisdom are not the same — one can be a very educated and intelligent fool. In some of the most beautiful poetic prose in the Old Testament, the author of Wisdom paints a picture of something more valuable than power, fame, wealth or health. The marketers would probably love to get their hands on whatever it is — the ultimate luxury item. Unfortunately for them but fortunately for us it is not for sale and cannot be successfully counterfeited — no knockoffs! 

In suffering, struggle, Jesus was perfected

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27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Oct. 4 (Genesis 2:7, 8, 18-24; Psalm 128; Hebrews 2:9-11; Mark 10:2-16)

There are two different versions of creation in Genesis. This description of creation — the second — is expressed in a far more human and homey manner than the first. God appears more as an artisan in His workshop than the cosmic force in the first chapter who creates with the power of His word.

We can all belong to Christ

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26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Sept. 27 (Numbers 11:25-29; Psalm 19; James 5:1-6; Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48)

Spiritual power is not to be hoarded but shared. Unfortunately, possessiveness and the desire to have power over others neutralize so much of the work that God desires to do on our behalf.

Righteousness, peace the reward of opening up to God

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25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Sept. 20 (Wisdom 2:12, 17-20; Psalm 54; James 3:16-4:3; Mark 9:30-37)

What did the righteous and upright man do to deserve persecution, torture and death? Precisely that — he was upright and righteous. Those who lie in wait for him secretly desire what he has: inner peace, integrity and a close relationship with God. His goodness makes them squirm and feel uncomfortable. They feel the sting of what they could and should be and the reality of what they are. They could have all of those things if they would walk the same path that he does, but then they would have to let go of their own selfish ways.

Faith must come from within

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24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Sept. 13 (Isaiah 50:5-9; Psalm 116; James 2:14-18; Mark 8:27-35)

The image of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah stands in stark contrast to the ideal images of heroes in our own culture. For so many the perfect hero is one who responds to rejection, persecution or personal attack with a dazzling display of power and violence. Contemporary films and TV programs hammer home the measure of a hero: body counts and explosions.

God will show us the way

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23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Sept. 6 (Isaiah 35:4-7; Psalm 146; James 2:1-5; Mark 7:31-37)

To those who have been uprooted and driven from their homes the world seems to have ended. In the past century more people were displaced than at any other time in history. That century also gave birth to wars, genocides and persecutions on an unprecedented scale. What words of comfort can we possibly have for the victims? What can we do to ease their inner suffering?

Walking in God's way makes us partners with Him

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22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Aug. 30 (Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8; Psalm 15; James 1:17-18, 21-22, 27)

Law and rule books are usually not our favourite reading and it is hard to think of them as something exciting or life-giving. And yet Deuteronomy is often quoted or alluded to in the New Testament and is even on the lips of Jesus as He resists the temptations of the devil in the wilderness. It is the core of the “great commandment” of love found in Mark 12. Fashioned in the seventh century B.C. during a time of reform and renewal, the book sought to bring the people into a sense of a partnership or relationship with God.

Make the Lord your choice

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21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Aug. 23 (Joshua 24:1-2, 15-17, 18; Psalm 34; Ephesians 4:32-5:2, 21-32; John 6:53, 60-69)

At some point everyone makes a fundamental decision that colours the quality and value of their entire life. They decide whom or what they will serve. We might protest that we are independent and serve no one, but in fact we are all caught in a web of social, personal and economic relationships that demand various degrees of commitment.

Jesus lifts us above the ordinary

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20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Aug. 16 (Proverbs 9:1-6; Psalm 34; Ephesians 5:15-20; John 6:51-58)

When we hear the word “banquet” it often triggers thoughts of rubber chicken and tedious speeches. Not so in the Bible: both Testaments employ the banquet metaphor to describe an invited encounter with a gracious God.

Eternal life comes with being open to God

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19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) Aug. 9 (1 Kings 19:4-8; Psalm 34; Ephesians 4:30-5:2; John 6:41-51)

Few would argue that life is easy. Each life brings its share of hardships, pain and disappointments, as well as blessings and joys. Even the lives of those who “have it all” are often visited by suffering and sorrow.