This weekend I have two weddings, a rare event.
The reason is that one couple had to move its wedding earlier, due to likely deployment of one of them to overseas military duty. That justifies making an exception about an evening wedding, and second in one day (hard on music director), which we don't otherwise do.
Here's a copy of one of the wedding homilies for this weekend, thought some might enjoy it, or have helpful comments:
We are all familiar with the beautiful reading
from St. Paul about love…*
We may think it’s about human love, but not exactly…
____, you may think that first reading
was referring to you as the “young stag”;
____, you may think it was calling you the dove…
But not exactly…
As the Gospel makes clear: the love we are talking about
is more than human—it is divine, God’s own love.
The Lover who crosses mountains,
in pursuit of his beloved, is Jesus Christ—
for it says, his “love is stern as death”;
the “blazing fire” of his love is the Holy Spirit.
So while everything tempts us to see this day,
And this ceremony, as all about this bride, this couple…
Again: not exactly.
This couple comes here, as baptized Catholics;
They come here—to God’s house, to the altar of Christ.
They come, not so much for a new, legal arrangement;
but for a new spiritual reality.
This is part of what we mean when we say
Christ raised marriage to be a sacrament.
Baptism is a sacrament:
in baptism, we are changed forever,
born again for eternity as members of Christ.
The Eucharist is a sacrament:
We receive Jesus that we may become Jesus,
As much transformed in ourselves,
as the bread and wine truly and fully become
our Lord and God, Jesus Christ.
And Christ made marriage a sacrament:
a couple presents themselves to each other and to Christ,
that their sharing of life and love may bear witness
to the world of how “stern” and unquenchable
is the marriage Christ has made with the human race.
I am very confident that at many times,
____ and ____’s hearts leapt like the stag,
or went seeking one another, just like that first reading.
Ah, but—there will be other times…!
That’s when we need this love to be more than human.
And that is when it matters that this marriage
was not brought to a courthouse, but to God’s house.
That’s when we are glad it isn’t “all about us”—
But all about Jesus Christ.
I usually tell the couple, as they prepare:
After you will bring yourselves to the altar,
To be transformed, to be made truly one,
Family or friends will bring bread and wine to the altar,
to be transformed into the true Body and Blood of Jesus.
You’ll be able to sit quietly and observe that.
In that bread and wine, see yourselves!
See Christ place you—now made one—on the altar.
Your task as a couple and a family is very similar
to what the bread and wine are expected to do:
to yield to the power of the Holy Spirit,
and the action of Jesus Christ,
so that they become Christ:
to nourish, to transform, and bring salvation, to others!
One difference: the bread and wine don’t get a choice.
But you do.
As Catholics receiving the sacrament of marriage—
becoming, in fact, a sacrament—
this is what your vows, in a moment, are all about.
* The readings were: Song of Songs 2:8ff; 1 Corinthians 12; and John 15.