I was blessed to assist at the wedding of Cameron and Tara today and to preach the homily. They are a lovely couple and it was truly a privilege.
Readings: Genesis 2:18-24; Psalm 128; Ephesians 5:2a, 21-33; Mark 10:6-9
Good afternoon. It’s so good for us all to be here together today to celebrate Cameron and Tara being joined together in Holy Matrimony, one of the seven sacraments of the Church.
A sacrament is simply A VISIBLE SIGN OF AN INVISIBLE REALITY. This invisible reality, this sacramental grace, will be given to Cameron and Tara today. You might think of this grace as a special help from God to strengthen their sacred union and to bless their lives together as a married couple.
This extraordinary gift of grace will be given to them today when they make their vows to one another in God’s presence and receive the nuptial blessing from Him, through Fr. Hendershott as a priest of His Church. This is what is happening here today.
Tara and Cameron, In a few minutes you will enter into a covenant with one another. Unlike a mere legal arrangement, a covenant is so much more than a contract. This covenant of marriage between a man and a woman can not be broken. It is a permanent union made before God and witnessed by all of us here today. You will soon promise to be faithful to each other, loving and honoring one another until the time of your death.
You come here today asking for God’s blessing on your union so that you will be able to draw on his strength during good times and bad times alike. A holy, sacramental marriage is a reflection of God’s love for each of us. Promise each other today that you will always do your best to model this unconditional love in your life together so that when people look at you they will witness the love of God working in you and through you.
Soon you will be asked if you are prepared to participate in God’s plan for Holy Matrimony by accepting children lovingly from God, bringing them up according to the law of Christ and his Church.
While we can’t presume that you’ll be given the precious gift of children, you are promising to be open to receiving this gift and to not impede it through any artificial means.
Never yield to the temptation of counting the cost of raising children if you are blessed to have them. And for heaven’s sake raise them in the Church, teaching them to know and to love Christ. And if you don’t receive the gift of children, don’t despair. God has a plan. Just don’t artificially prevent them because you think you know better than He does when you are ready to be parents. Trust Him and accept with joy whatever gifts he may be prepared to give you, in His time, not yours.
From the second reading you selected, I can see that you take seriously the importance of giving yourselves completely to one another. The important takeaway of this reading from Ephesians is that we must always remember the true definition of love. The meaning of love is TO WILL THE GOOD OF THE OTHER.
Love is not a feeling or mere passion, it is a commitment to give yourself completely over to each other, for the good of your spouse. To submit yourselves to each other. This is only possible if you continually make sacrifices for one another and include God in everything you do. You can only do this well if you are PRAYING, praying with and for each other.
I can’t overstate the importance of prayer in your marriage. Pray together and pray by yourselves. Keep Christ in the center of your relationship by making a commitment to praying every day, even when you don’t feel like it. Include him in your decision making process by praying for his will to be done in all things.
Stay close to Christ by attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. Regular prayer and active participation in a faithful Christian community is how you will deepen your relationship with Christ and with one another. God will surely reward your efforts to grow in LOVE by living a holy, sacramental life together.
Remember the many blessings promised in today’s Psalm for those who fear the Lord, those who walk in his ways. Your life together will be blessed and fruitful if you stay close to him.
Now a few words for the parents, family members and friends gathered here today.
Parents, always remember that a man leaves his father and mother and becomes joined to his wife. Take to heart Jesus’ words in both today’s first reading and the Gospel reading where he says, “…a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”
Don’t try to control your son and daughter. Advise them, love them, but do not interfere in their marriage. They need to make their own way together…let them make mistakes, it’s how they will learn. And if they don’t do things the way you did them, don’t worry about it. It will be alright. Give them the space they need to grow in love and understanding.
And to ALL of you here, family and friends, let your presence and advice always help Tara and Cameron grow in their love…to never harm it. Be good examples for them and always encourage them to remain faithful and true to one another, even if you think one of them is not holding up their end of the bargain.
They’ll certainly need your support from time to time and they will count on you to help them remain faithful to the vows they are about to make. As Jesus commands us in the Gospel reading, “…what God has joined together, no human being must separate. Never attempt to come between them, never tear down their relationship, always build it up.
Cameron and Tara, you are about to be joined as one flesh and sent today into the world as a couple on a mission. God has a job for you to do that can only be done by you. Pray about what that job might be and then jump into it. God is counting on you, and on your willingness to embrace whatever that mission might be.
If you do this faithfully it will surely result in a lifetime of joy and fulfillment. And always remember the most important job God is giving you is the job of helping each other get to heaven.
So, Tara and Cameron, are you ready to embark on this amazing adventure? Are you ready to begin this exciting partnership and to journey together faithfully into your future?
OK then, let’s do this!
God bless you.