St. Stephen
Walnut Creek, CA

Mass Schedule

Saturday: 5 pm
Sunday: 9:30 am
Mon - Fri: 7:30 am ( Rm 1 Chapel)
Holy Days: 7:30 am, 7:00 pm
Reconciliation: Sat. 4:30 pm

A message from our parochial administrator, Fr. Paulson Mundanmani:

Dear Friends,

Today we might be we wondering, why does our Catholic Church give us two Gospels today when on every other Sunday we only get one? What’s more, why read the Passion narrative today if we will read it later this week on Good Friday? Why not just hear about the entrance into Jerusalem?

I think the answer to this question comes to us if we look at what immediately precedes Jesus’ entrance to Jerusalem. As Jesus is approaching Jerusalem he passes a beggar on the street named Bartimaeus who calls out to him for help. The crowds following Jesus, however, rebuke the man. But Jesus stops, goes over to the man, and asks him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Master, I want to see.”

At that Jesus restores Bartimaeus’ sight, a true miracle. But one might argue that what happens next is the real miracle: Bartimaeus follows Jesus. This story makes a keen point, doesn’t it? Bartimaeus may have been blind, but he saw with clarity, while those who rebuked Bartimaeus had their vision, and yet, were blinder than he was. They were following Jesus, but they could not see where they were going.

Immediately after this miracle Jesus enters Jerusalem – the first Gospel we read today – and we can imagine Bartimaeus in the front of the procession leading the way with his palm branch. There is a part of all of us that wants to rejoice with him, for we know that our King is triumphant; he has conquered sin and death. And yet, we must pause, for to rejoice on this Sunday would be a mistake. The people of Christ’s time saw something in him; they knew that a special time was upon them. But they weren’t aware of the critical detail in God’s plan. Yes, Jesus would become their king, but how? Would he enter Jerusalem to stage a military coup to overthrow Rome? Would he reinvigorate the economy and bring financial prosperity? No, our second Gospel tells us how his kingdom would come.

“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

This is why we have two Gospels today, because we cannot understand Jesus’ kingship without his Passion and death. Jesus is a victorious king because he was, and still is, a merciful King, who invites everyone, even the beggars and criminals, to have an intimate relationship with him, despite our sin, despite our blindness. Jesus is a king who forgives his closest friends even when they betray and abandon him. He is a king that lays down his life for his people so that they might live. This is the king we wave our palms for; the king whose crown was thorns, and whose throne was the cross.

This takes a special kind of vision to comprehend. Not simply the vision of the eye, but the vision of the heart; the vision of faith. This vision – the kind Bartimaeus had – shows us that Jesus is inviting us to follow him, even through the roughest moments of life, because, as Fr. Timoney says, the victory is in the struggle. Jesus is a victorious King for us not in spite of His suffering, but because of it, and He wants us to be victorious as well.

So, as we begin Holy Week, and the journey to the Triduum, we ask ourselves, where is the Jerusalem – the Calvary – of my life; the place I must go to in order to carry my cross, to love, to serve, to lay down my life so that others can live? After all, it is because of the cross that we have Easter. We do not celebrate Easter because of a donkey, or cloaks on the road, or palm branches. It is from the cross that Jesus says, “today you will be with me in Paradise.” May this Holy Week be a special reminder to us of the good things that await those who seek to see and follow Jesus there.

God bless you,

Father Mario

Mission Statement: To Live and to Love in Christ
1101 Keaveny Court Walnut Creek, California 94597 USA
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