May 11, 2019
I had the honor of presiding at the marriage of Marisela and Quan yesterday. The following is the homily I shared with them:
I’d like to begin by talking about why all of you (the guests) are here today. You each have a role in today’s ceremony and a responsibility to Marisela and Quan. Parents – you are the foundation. You have provided your children with the love and support they have needed and I’m certain you will continue to do so in support of their marriage. They needed you growing up; they will still need you moving forward.
Family and friends – you may think you are only here to kill time until the mariachi band starts playing, and you can eat and drink at someone else’s expense. While I agree that free food does taste better, there is more to it. As much as you might like to sit in the pew and become part of the scenery, you cannot; you should not.
You were included on Marisela and Quan’s guest list. They thought carefully about who should be here today. You are here because they trust you. They will need your love and support, but they will also need you to hold them accountable. They are depending on you to do that. Listen carefully to the vows they exchange. They are going to look one another in the eye and promise to love one another – for better or for worse…for richer and for poorer…in sickness and in health…for the rest of their lives. Hold them accountable to those words; that’s why you’re here.
Marisela and Quan chose the three readings we heard today. In today’s Gospel from Matthew we heard the Sermon on the Mount. Blessed are the merciful, the clean of heart, the peacemakers, etc. Jesus was telling all who would listen – this is the way to live your life.
The Ten Commandments are the rules; they spell out what not to do. The Beatitudes, on the other hand, tell us what to do. They offer us practical application – it’s probably why Quan likes this gospel – it is very practical.
The beatitudes call us to do what’s right with intention. That means we set out to do the right thing. We plan to do right thing. We pray for the courage to do the right thing. When we do this continually over time, we will gradually experience a conversion of heart. Doing the right thing becomes second nature. It becomes who we are, not what we do.
It leads to a holy life. When you apply these principles to a marriage – when you love and serve your spouse with intention, it leads to a holy marriage.
Prior to presiding at a wedding ceremony, I give couples a few questions to answer in writing. Marisela’s response to the final question speaks to loving with intention so beautifully…with her permission, I’d like to share it in its entirety. Actually, I’m going to read it whether she gives me permission or not:
She wrote: My hope for our marriage is for us to love faithfully, unconditionally, and without hesitation. I vow to Quan: To respect you as a person, a partner, and an equal, knowing that we do not complete one another, but complement one another. To learn with you and grow with you, even as time and life change us both. To share with you all of life’s adversity and all of its joys. To listen with compassion and understanding, and to speak with encouragement. To create a family in a household filled with laughter, patience, understanding, and love. To support your dreams and to respect our differences, and to love you and be by your side in the days to come. It is my hope that in our marriage we will strive to commit daily to one another as we adventure through this life.
Marisela has written her own set of beatitudes for this marriage – her response outlines her willingness to do what’s right with intention. She is setting out to do the right thing. She is planning to do right thing. She will pray for the courage to do the right thing.
And she is confident Quan will do the same. It will lead to a holy marriage.
That’s good stuff…and it’s a great segue into my private conversation with Marisela and Quan.
Marisela and Quan – love is a decision. It is done with intention and planning.
Quan – that means every day when you wake up, you need to make the decision to love Marisela that day. You reveal that love not only by how you talk to her and treat her, but in how you interact with the world and how you treat others.
Marisela – that means every day when you wake up, you need to make the decision to love Quan that day. You reveal that love not only by how you talk to him and treat him, but in how you interact with the world and how you treat others.
Additionally, God, who is love, is revealed to others through your love. That gives you two responsibilities in this sacramental marriage – first and foremost, to love one another, but also to reveal God to others through your love.
This responsibility is increased if you are blessed with children. They will know God and learn to love by watching you. And all of this love we’re talking about is for the rest of your lives.
Understanding all of this, do you want move forward? If yes, I’ll see you at the top of the steps.