May 18, 2019
I delivered the following homily at a wedding at St. Pius X last night:
I want to begin by talking about why you are all here. You each have a role in today’s ceremony and a responsibility to Kyle and Amanda.
Parents – you are the foundation. Because of you, Kyle and Amanda have built their house on rock. You provided them with the love and support they needed, and I’m sure you will continue to do so in support of their marriage.
Family and friends – you may think you are here to kill time until the reception, where you will eat and drink at someone else’s expense. There is more to it.
You were included on Kyle and Amanda’s 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 also need you to hold them accountable. They trust you to do that.
Listen carefully to the words of their vows – during which they will promise to love, honor, and cherish one another for the rest of their lives. Hold them to those words.
Kyle and Amanda, you have a pretty big role too…but I’ll talk to you later.
After meeting with Kyle and Amanda early last week, I gave them some homework.
I asked them to respond to three questions. One of the questions read: What is your hope for your marriage?
Kyle wrote: My hope for our marriage is simple – lasting happiness. Amanda makes me a better person. I loved her when we started dating and I’ve loved her as our relationship has grown and changed. I look forward to seeing her when I get home from work. I miss her when I travel. And I don’t want any of that to ever fade.
From Amanda: Kyle is my best friend. I hope that throughout life’s ups and downs that we never forget that we are always there for one another. While I do not believe that any marriage is perfect, I do believe that Kyle and I will continue to work on making ourselves and our relationship better.
Their responses show a maturity and a realistic understanding of what marriage will bring — ups and downs, loving through the changes that occur, continuing to work at the relationship, making one another better people.
I also asked them why they wanted to get married in the church. Together they responded: Our faith has always been important to us, both as individuals and as a couple. It has always been a priority for both of us to get married in the church. One of the things we talked about early in our relationship was the importance of faith in our lives. It was at that point that we made a decision to go to church as a couple, so we could share that together. When we start a family, we will raise them in the church. It’s important for both of us to start our life as a married couple in the church.
This sentiment ties in very well with the gospel reading Kyle and Amanda chose for today. They chose the story of the celebration at Cana, the sight of Jesus’ first miracle. In addition to the obvious connection to a marriage ceremony – telling the story of a wedding feast – it also offers an important underlying message. That message? Great things, miraculous things, happen when Jesus is invited to the party!
That beautiful message is being lived out right before our eyes today. Kyle and Amanda chose to have their wedding here…in a church…in God’s house. They have invited Jesus to the party.
My wife and I occasionally lead engaged couples retreats and there is a sign we hang up that says: Jesus would like you to know: “The wedding was great. Now invite me to the marriage.”
Kyle and Amanda have extended that invitation. It is important to them that this be a Christ-centered ceremony. That was clear in the conversation I had with them; it was also clear in their written responses to the pre-wedding questions.
Before we begin the Marriage Rite, I want to be sure they still feel that way.
Kyle and Amanda:
The reason we celebrate this occasion in a church, and the reason that marriage is a sacrament, is that your union serves as an epiphany – it reveals Christ. With marriage comes the obligation to reveal Christ.
Kyle – each morning you wake up, you will need to make the decision to love Amanda. You are obligated to reveal Christ to her by the way you love her – the way you talk to her, treat her, and interact with the world around you.
Amanda – each morning you wake up, you will need to make the decision to love Jay. You are obligated to reveal Christ to him by the way you love him – the way you talk to him, treat him, and interact with the world around you.
Secondly, your marriage must reveal Christ to others. Others will see Christ in how you love one another and in how you, as a couple, interact with them. Your love is a lamp that gives light to all in the house.
Finally, if you are blessed to have children, you will be obligated to reveal Christ to them daily. Through your love and support, they will come to know God.
What I have just shared with you is serious business. A wedding is not a quick “I do” and some dancing; it is the beginning of a marriage. And with that marriage comes the challenging responsibilities I’ve described.
So, what do you say? With all this in mind, are you still up for it?