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:

The readings for this Third Sunday of Advent emphasize the joyous anticipation of the Lord's coming. That is why this Sunday is known as “Gaudete Sunday,” that is “Rejoice Sunday” or “Sunday of Joy.” You can’t miss the message as the words joy, rejoice, gladness, and exultation appear at least 15 times in today’s liturgy. The message is further reflected in the rose-colored vestments of the priest and the rose-colored third candle on our Advent wreath.

For many of us, the theme of joy is much needed in these days. There are so many disasters, so much suffering, so much discouragement, so much that seems wrong with our world. In the face of all this, how can we be joyful? Our Little Blue Advent Book answers that question this way:

We have two options. One is to see all these problems as fatal. The world is doomed to be forever unjust and tragic, so I should simply do my best to get the most I can for myself out of the situation. The other option is to see all creation as the recipient of the overwhelming power of God’s compassion and transforming love. When I look at the world this way, I believe that every struggle for peace and justice, however small, ultimately has an effect, and whatever energy I spend to relieve suffering is worth the effort.

Taking that second option is to live our lives in this world with hope and with joy in these “in-between times,” the time in between Jesus’s birth and the Second Coming of Christ.

In his apostolic exhortation The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis, in reference to the many invitations to us in the Gospels to rejoice, asks: Why should we not also enter into this great stream of joy? . . . I realize of course that joy is not expressed the same way at all times in life, especially at moments of great difficulty. Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved.

It is for this infinite, unconditional love and abiding presence of God in our lives that we should be always and forever joyful . . . and grateful. From this joy and gratitude flows generosity, compassion, and a desire to help those in need. And from this generosity comes a wisdom that recognizes helping others results in helping ourselves as well.

Archbishop Tutu of South Africa during a visit with the Dalai Lama offered this prayer which seems so appropriate for this “Sunday of Joy”:

Dear Child of God, you are loved with a love that nothing can shake, a love that loved you long before you were created, a love that will be there long after everything has disappeared. . . And God wants you to be like God. Filled with life and goodness and laughter—and joy. . . So, please, my child, help me. Help me to spread love and laughter and joy and compassion. And you know what, my child? As you do this—hey, presto—you discover joy. Joy, which you had not sought, comes as the gift, as almost the reward for this non-self-regarding caring for others.

How true this is. May we rejoice in the Lord always!

Jim Briggs

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