Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Wedding Homily

This homily comes from a recent wedding. It was a great privilege to prepare this couple and to receive their vows. Names have been changed to protect the innocent...

Its a great privilege to preach the homily today and since I know the couple well, I'd like to start off how I've always wanted to: "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to join together this couple in holy matrimony!" Ah, that was nice. But it raises a question. What are we doing here today?

I wager our couple knows why they are here but do we know why they are here? Thankfully, I believe they left clues to WHY they are here and WHAT they are doing. So, the two of you can relax, take a nap, for the rest of this homily is for your friends. 

Our couple is here for a specific purpose. Marriage is obviously the why and what of this day but what sort of marriage is it? Why do they find it a good marriage and a good thing to do? Our couple left us three clues to find our answer. 

The first clue is in the first reading. Tobias names a purpose for his marriage to Sarah. We hear it in his prayer. "I do not take this women out of lust but for a noble purpose." Hat does Tobias mean? Is he sexually aloof in some way? Is he insulting the beauty of his bride? Neither. Tobias is saying that marriage and even the most personal action of marriage is related God and a larger purpose.

He is saying that marriage isn't about the two of them alone but what the two of them can and will do for others. If we know the rest of the story of Tobias we see how they become a source God's blessing for his chosen people. So the first answer is this: this couple's marriage isn't just for them but for you and the whole world.

Wedding Feast of Cana
The second clue is found in our Gospel. The wedding feast of Cana isn't just a story of wine and the ancient Rude Band. No. The Wedding Feast of Cana is a revelation of God's love in Jesus Christ. He is the center of the story, his love, his gift, and his miracle are at the center, we don't even know the couple's names! Jesus is the wine given in the miracle. Like this couple, we all know our own sadness, dryness, and difficulties. We all know of our need for the new and joy-filled wine of Jesus Christ. In this month of May, a month of Mary, we cry out for wine! Jesus, give me this wine!

This Gospel reveals Jesus Christ to the world in his first miracle. That is why it is a luminous mystery of the Rosary, because it reveals Jesus to us. This is our second answer: our couple's purpose of their wedding isn't just for them but for the whole world, why? So that like that anonymous couple in Cana they might reveal Jesus to the world, not just accidentally- from their poverty- but also from their deliberate cooperation.

Dear couple, those of us here turn to you like the blessed Mother turned to Jesus and we say, “We have no wine!” We are dead in sin and sadness and we need the wine of Jesus! We need you to show us the face of his love! We need you to bring Jesus to this world!

Our third clue from from the couple is in the reading from Romans 12. Here St. Paul exhorts the Church in Rome to not be conformed to the age but to be renewed by the Holy Spirit. This has been a challenge for all Christians; do not be conformed to the age. Think of the challenges to marriage in our own day, financial stress, culture of divorce, objectification and more. How much more are these challenges present for couples that purposefully wish to live their marriage as a revelation of Jesus?  If we ask this couple to bring Jesus to us then we must help them to receive Jesus as well.

This is our third clue: we must intercede and pray for this couple, not just today but throughout their married life. They want to bring Jesus to us, they want to bring the fight to Satan, and we must assist them. In a few moments, as they make their vows, you make your prayers. Pray from those deep desires of your heart, your own desire for the wine of Jesus Christ. In a few moments more, as we kneel at the foot of the altar, pray for them. At the foot of the altar, all of us, by the Holy Spirit are at the mystery of Calvary, let us pray for them their. Let us pray for them when they receive Holy Communion: the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, pray that they will always receive the Love and Life of Jesus to bring Him to us.

Dear couple, we know why you are here. You are here to bring Jesus to each other and to us in your married love. We need that wine of Jesus. We, your family and friends, promise to pray for you. Are you ready to make your promises? Then come forward with your wedding party. 

Cross posted at www.piusxiinewman.com