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.

Third Sunday of Advent (Year B) Dec. 14 (Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-11; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28)

Isaiah’s words must have been music to the ears of the exiles in Babylon. They were going home — God was delivering them from captivity and granting them a future.

God works ceaselessly on our behalf

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Second Sunday of Advent (Year B) Dec. 7 (Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11; Psalm 85; 2 Peter 3:8-14; Mark 1:1-8)

It is difficult to speak to broken hearts and spirits. Affliction, disaster and pain often take their toll, leaving victims so dispirited that it is difficult even to imagine a future let alone prepare for one.

We must weather the storm in God's 'absence'

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First Sunday of Advent (Year B) Nov. 30 (Isaiah 63:16-17; 64:1, 3-8; Psalm 80; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:33-37)

Where is God? Is God angry with us? These are anguished questions that people have always asked. In our own time the first question seems to have even greater importance and it is often joined with doubt that God even exists.

True religion is caring for others

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Christ the King (Year A) Nov. 23 (Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17; Psalm 23; 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28; Matthew 25:31-46)

God’s disappointment and anger are evident when we read chapter 34 in its entirety. Those appointed as shepherds of the people have shown a shocking lack of concern for their welfare. Instead of tending to the needs of the people they used their positions to enrich themselves and increase their power.

Give the Lord more than we receive

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Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time (Year A) Nov. 16 (Proverbs 31; Psalm 128; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6; Matthew 24:36; 25:14-30)

A capable wife, who can find her? The same question could (and should) be asked of husbands.

God is closer than our heartbeat

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Dedication of St. John Lateran (Year A) Nov. 9 (Ezekiel 47:1, 2, 8-9, 12; Psalm 46; 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17; John 2:13-22)

Where does God dwell? To ancient people the answer was simple: In His house, where else?

God doesn't promise a free ride

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All Souls (Year A) Nov. 2 (Lamentations 3:17-26; Psalm 103; 1 Corinthians 15:51-57; Matthew 11:25-30)

How do we react when we experience loss and tragedy? Many act with shock and outrage, especially if they consider themselves religious. Why me? Am I not faithful to God? Haven’t I practised my faith diligently?

Disciples called to higher standard

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Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A), Oct. 26 (Exodus 22:21-27; Psalm 18; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Matthew 22:34-40)

Don’t ever forget who you were and always remember your own experience. This is good advice in any setting, but in this week’s Scripture readings it is a divine command rather than a suggestion.

God is the only valid authority

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29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Oct. 19 (Isaiah 45:1, 4-6; Psalm 96; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5; Matthew 22:15-21)

Cyrus would probably have been very surprised and even amused to discover that he was the Messiah of the Jewish people. After all, he did not share their culture or religion, and he was not a member of their nation at all. In fact, he was their enemy — the one who ruled them during the latter part of their exile in Babylon. But the Hebrew text of Isaiah is clear — Cyrus is called moshiach — messiah or anointed one.

We're all invited to God's Kingdom

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28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Oct. 12 (Isaiah 25:6-10; Psalm 23; Philippians 4:10-14, 19-20; Matthew 22:1-14)

Visions of redemption and hope are born out of suffering, pain and despair. Conquest, disgrace and exile had been the lot of the people of Israel and they asked the question asked by so many human hearts: when will it all end? Is this all there is? Is there any meaning at all in either our suffering or our lives?

It's God's vineyard

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27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Oct. 5 (Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80; Philippians 4:6-9; Matthew 21:33-43)

Many people can identify with God’s frustration in Isaiah’s parable of the vineyard. Perhaps they have given many hours of backbreaking work in a yard or garden with heat and blisters thrown in as a bonus. And when there are no results, when the anticipated flowers, trees or plants fail to grow or grow in wild and bizarre ways, there is only disappointment, frustration and anger. Why bother!