December 13, 2020 – Gaudete Sunday – Third Sunday of Advent

I.  REJOICE! Today has traditionally been called “Gaudete Sunday.” The Latin tag is derived from Paul’s appeal in the second reading to “rejoice always in the Lord.” The irony and paradox of this Christian joy is underlined by the fact that Paul wrote those words from prison. Even from jail, Paul could see the progress of God’s work in his people. 

     Is it obvious to us? We feel that this is not the time for joy when there is so much suffering and moral evil. It is interesting, then, that the first reading is from the prophet Zephaniah, who is almost exclusively concerned with gloomy visions of Judgment Day. Today the Church selects the only optimistic text in Zephaniah, in which the prophet has been touched by the spirit of joy.  

     This, we are assured on all sides, is “the season of joy.” Let us recapture that gift of the Spirit in our lives and reflect true joy to those who are joyless and gloomy.         

II.  Do You Need Patience? “God is not impatient like us, who often want everything at once, even in a relationship with others. God is patient with us because God loves us and so is able to understand, hope, and inspire confidence. Do not give up, do not burn bridges, be able to forgive” (Pope Francis). In Galatians 5:22, patience is listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit. If patience is a virtue, then waiting is the best (and often most unpleasant) means by which the Holy Spirit grows “patience” in us. We live in a culture of instant gratification, a culture that discourages patience. Patience is waiting quietly (see Lamentations 3:25–26). Patience is waiting eagerly (Hebrews 9:27-28). Patience is waiting until the end. Abraham waited patiently for God to lead him to the promised land, but remember that detour he took regarding the promise of an heir? Patience is waiting expectantly. Patience is waiting joyfully (James 1:2–4). Patience is waiting with grace for yourself. We need the Spirit’s help to grow patience in our lives. 

III. Hispanic Ministry Collection in Owensboro: since 2004, our Hispanic brothers and sisters have been welcomed at Sts. Joseph and Paul Parish where they are being ministered to sacramentally, spiritually, and physically. So, as not to burden one parish, ALL the Owensboro/Daviess County Catholic churches are taking up a collection near the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec.12), which will be used for our Hispanic sisters and brothers in the area. Flyers were in your bulletins last weekend regarding this important ministry. Be as generous as you can be!

IV.  We Want to Stay in Touch with You—have you made a change in the past month or so?  If you are moving, or have recently moved, please let us know at the parish office. If we do not have your correct wedding anniversary date, or birth date, or contact information, please let us know. Do you have a new cell phone or disconnected a home phone? Please let us know. If you have adult children that have recently moved out on their own, we would like to update the data base. 270/683-6525 or [email protected]

V.  Open House at Cathedral Rectory: you are invited by Fr. Sinoj and myself to raise a glass to toast our wonderful parish. It saddens my heart not a little bit that we will not be hosting a Rectory Open House which in the past celebrated the Christmas Season of peace, unity, and hospitality. Any Open House at the rectory this year will be virtual! Though the food and drink can be real! Not roasting, but toasting YOU is definitely in order!! 

VI.  End-of-the-year Giving: You may be eligible for tax advantages in making charitable contributions before the end of the calendar year. Some parishioners may soon need to take their annual minimum distribution from an IRA. I encourage you to keep your parish family in mind! If you are interested in donating stock or an IRA distribution, please contact our Business Manager, Eddy McFarland, in the Parish Office, 270/683-6525.

VII. Welcome Deacon Corey Bruns: in addition to the services of Deacon Richard Murphy, Saint Stephen Cathedral is blessed to have the services of Deacon Corey through the Christmas Season. As a transitional deacon, Corey will be ordained to the Priesthood on May 22, 2021 (the day before Pentecost Sunday). We are “deacon” blessed!

VIII. Planned Giving:  Our parish has been blessed in the past few years with several generous bequests. You might wish to consider and pray about Planned Giving, which helps ensure that your life will touch the lives of the faithful that come after us and help to build a legacy of faith for generations to come. Please remember Saint Stephen Cathedral in your will. Feel free to contact the Parish Office if you are interested or have questions.