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.

Passion (Palm) Sunday (Year C) March 20 (Isaiah 50:4-7; Psalm 22; Philippians 2:6-11; Luke 2:14-23:56)

How do we make sense of catastrophe and disaster? We usually look for explanations and causes, or more often than not, someone to blame. 

Judgment and condemnation: we are all in need of mercy

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Fifth Sunday of Lent (Year C) March 13 (Isaiah 43:16-21; Psalm 126; Philippians 3:8-14; John 8:1-11)

The biblical witness is resounding — God is always compassionate and just, and concerned with the well-being and happiness of humanity. Freedom and redemption are expressions of God, and these qualities never wavered throughout Israel’s history. But in the mid-sixth century B.C., the people of Israel found themselves captives and exiles in Babylon. Jerusalem, along with its temple, had been utterly destroyed. This caused a crisis of faith among many people, and a collective search for the meaning of the disaster. Most blamed themselves for what had happened. Infidelity to God in so many ways could only end badly.

Fear not, for God is mercy

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Fourth Sunday of Lent (Year C) March 6 (Joshua 5:9a, 10-12; Psalm 34; 2 Corinthians 5: 17-21; Luke 15:1-3, 11-32)

Liberation is a long and painful process. Being set free from a negative situation is merely the first step in a continuing journey.

God is always faithful, merciful, compassionate

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Third Sunday of Lent (Year C) Feb. 28 (Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15; Psalm 103; 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12; Luke 13:1-9)

God often appears in the midst of the ordinary and mundane. Moses was only doing what he had done for so long — minding the flocks of his father-in-law. The bush that burned without being consumed was a flash of the transcendent and extraordinary.

Jesus’ followers are expected to journey along the same path

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Second Sunday of Lent (Year C) Feb. 21 (Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18; Psalm 27; Philippians 3:17-4:1; Luke 9:28b-36)

Sometimes the future looks bleak and it is difficult to believe in a happy or satisfying outcome. That is the point where many lose hope, and with the departure of hope, faith and love are endangered.

God does the extraordinary through the most ordinary people

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Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Feb. 7 (Isaiah 6:1-2a, 3-8; Psalm 138; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Luke 5:1-11)

How would we react if we suddenly found ourselves out of our element and where we had no right to be? Fear, embarrassment and a sense of vulnerability all come to mind — and Isaiah experienced them all. No one could be in God’s presence and live to tell the tale — and there Isaiah was, in the midst of the heavenly court. This was a vision, not an actual physical journey, but no less powerful and frightening.

Success can’t be measured while on Earth

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Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Jan. 31 (Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19; Psalm 71; 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13; Luke 4:21-30)

The prophetic call from God made brave men quake. Most of them knew exactly what it could mean — hardship, rejection, persecution, failure and even death.

Don’t waste time rehashing the past

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Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) Jan. 24 (Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 12:12-30; Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21)

The moment of true conversion of heart and mind should always be an occasion of rejoicing. Often people look back on their errant journey with shame and despondency, wasting a lot of time and energy on self-condemnation.

God blesses us when we undertake to do good

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Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Year C) Dec. 27 (1 Samuel 1:20-22, 24-28; Psalm 84; 1 John 3:1-2, 21-24; Luke 2:41-52)

Hannah’s fervent prayer had been answered. During a previous visit to the shrine at Shiloh, she had stood before the shrine and prayed to God for a child. Her murmured prayers earned her an unjust rebuke from Eli the prophet, who accused her of drunkenness. Hannah promised that if God blessed her with a son, she would dedicate him in service to the Lord. Now she fulfilled her promise as she brought her son Samuel — who would grow up to be a great prophet — to Eli for training and instruction.

The sacrifice of self is all that Christ seeks of us

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Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year C) Dec. 20 (Micah 5:2-5a; Psalm 80; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-45)

In biblical times Bethlehem was probably not a very impressive “city” — it was more like a small town. There was nothing visible that would hint at future greatness. Its glory was that it was the birthplace of its most illustrious son — David, the king of Israel. The city of David, as it came to be known, had great things in store for it.

In an uncertain world, God is present

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Second Sunday of Advent (Year C) Dec. 6 (Baruch 5:1-9; Psalm 126; Philippians 1:3-6, 8-11; Luke 3:1-6)

Makeover shows are very popular on TV. The theme is always the same: an ugly, broken-down house is transformed into a beautiful dwelling. A shabbily dressed, poorly groomed individual is transformed into an attractive, even stunning, new person. Baruch prophesied the same sort of makeover for Jerusalem. We don’t know who actually wrote this work, and in fact, it is probably a compilation by several authors. It was attributed to Baruch the secretary of Jeremiah, but it was actually written much later, possibly in the second or first century B.C.