Today I enjoyed a rare moment of celebrating the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony with a lovely couple, Nicole Greff & Brian Dobbe, now Mr. & Mrs. Brian Dobbe!
I have thought of and prayed for this young couple much in the recent days leading up to this their wedding day. I thanked the couple for coming to the church to begin their married life together.
Within the celebration, it is easy to recognize that marriage is a holy calling and a sacred relationship of love. I asked them to always recognize the sacredness of their life together as husband and wife. Our culture today has lost a sense of the sacred, placing nearly everything on the level playing field ‘of the world.’
God sees things differently. God has a dream for each of us, and when married couples recognize that God brought them together, and that the grace of Jesus’ presence in their love, the worldly institution of marriage is elevated to something sacred, worthy of the fidelity and permanence it requires and deserves.
When couples live out the sacredness of their love, in the midst of the world, then the world is gradually improved, because it is being drawn deeper into the mystery of God’s love and Kingdom.
St. John Paul II loved saying often that the future of society depends on holy marriages and families!
The first reading today from the Book of Tobit (8:4-8) gives us the example of Tobiah and his wife, Sarah on their wedding night. They rose from their bed to pray, recognizing God’s holiness and God’s original design for marriage when he brought Adam and Eve together, and from their love arose the human family. In prayer, Tobiah and Sarah asked for God’s blessings and mercy in their marriage.
Still today, prayer is essential for married couples. It is in regular conversation with God that couples learn to seek God’s will over their own, and come to discover God’s plan and pathways that lead to fulfillment and true happiness. The psalm response today declares that the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. Indeed, one of the greatest signs of God’s goodness is the love of husbands and wives, for it is through their love that God continues to bring people not only into individual families, but into God’s family!
The Letter to the Philippians (4:4-9) invites us to rejoice, and more specifically, to find our joy in the Lord, Jesus Christ. This is a great reminder to all married couples and families, to grow in their awareness of the nearness of the Lord, and to find their joy in him. Sure, every couple and every family knows trials and difficulties, but it is when we embrace these inevitable realities of life in faith, aware of Jesus’ fidelity and nearness, that we are able to remain faithful, even joyful.
The Gospel chosen for today was the Wedding Feast at Cana, John 2:1-11. It was at a wedding that Jesus chose to perform his first miracle. In this place and time, he changed water into choice wine. He did so at the request of his mother, Mary. This miracle came about because ordinary servants followed the instruction of Mary: “Do whatever he tells you.”
Married couples today do well by seeking Mary’s prayerful intercession and keeping her words to the servants in their own lives: “Do whatever he tells you.” As strong as the love is between brides and grooms, when their lives are lived in close proximity to Christ and to the Church, their love is transformed into something even greater, just as Christ changed the water into wine. When married couples allow Christ to further bless and strengthen their love, they become a blessing to others.
Through faith and sacrament, we know and believe that Christ is present in marriage. We know and believe that married love is indeed sacred.
May our newly married couple, Brian and Nicole, and all married couples know the grace and presence of Christ in their lives. May they always respect and live in the sacredness of life that is theirs, raising families to know and love and serve Christ. Indeed, may the sacred marriages and families be the means by which our society today returns to God and advances in his Kingdom!