- Boycott the Knights of Columbus
- A wedding sermon.
- An open letter to my parish community.
- How It All began
- Why was a college student in the car of drunken Archbishop-elect Cordileone at 12:26 AM, when Cordileone was arrested for a DUI?
- When the Church married Same-Sex couples.
- The Supreme Court’s Decisions and the New Mason-Dixon Line
- What the Vatican & American bishops DO NOT want you (and Politicians) to know.
- San Francisco in archbishop Cordileone’s sight
- The Morality of Sex, gay & straight.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
A wedding sermon.
Since Proposition 8 is intended to take away the right of same sex couples to marriage, it is important to consider exactly what marriage involves. I've decided to post a typical wedding homily which contains the matrimonial instruction required by the Church.
Francis and Lee, you've come here this afternoon in the company of your family, your relatives and friends to say what are arguably the most solemn and important words which you will ever speak. They are among the most solemn because, in a few moments, you will make vows to God. When such vows are made in true freedom and with full knowledge and consent, they touch our very souls and affect our eternal destiny. You are also about to exchange a series of promises with each other which will place your two lives on a parallel trajectory throughout the remainder of your lives.
Now, all of these people who know you, some of them from the time you were small children, could scratch their heads in wonder and ask: Why would anyone do that?!? Why would anyone make such vows to God or, make such life changing promises to another person?!? The answer that comes immediately to mind is, of course, love. The reason why someone would be so willing to make such a life commitment is love. But, what exactly is love? You find that word in the lyrics of almost every song, in great works of literature and popular novels. It is found in every culture, language and in every age of history. But, exactly what is love?
In our society, the most common understanding of love, is that it is a very deep and powerful feeling. The difficulty of this understanding of love, is that no one chooses their feelings. No one wakes up in the morning and decides: Today I'll be sad. Feelings are like the tide, that enters and recedes without any one's permission. And so, to predicate one's whole life based on a "feeling" would be crazy. Who is to say I'll feel that way in four months or five years?
It is true, there are very powerful feelings deeply intertwined with love; however, love is far more than merely a "feeling". Love is a choice. A choice made in freedom. To place another human being and his/her needs on par with your own and perhaps, even above your own. A beautiful example of this can be found in the persons of your parents who are here with you today. There were many times, during your infancy, when one of them got up out of a warm bed in the middle of the night to take care of your needs. There were countless times, when the alarm clock sounded and they got up out of bed and went to work so, that you'd have a plate at the table, a roof over your head and clothes on your back. That's love. Nothing fancy. Just ordinary people who chose to be there with and for each other. To help shoulder the burdens of life and, to share its joys and laughter. In the first letter of John (4:16) it states: God is love and those who abide in love abide in God and God in them. In the book of Genesis (1:26) it states that God made us in his image. When we chose to love, it is at precisely that moment, that we most perfectly reflect the image of God in our world. It is at that very moment when we are at our best, our most noble. It is no small thing that causes you to speak these words here today and to enter into marriage.
Just as there exist misconceptions regarding the nature of love in our society, so too, there exist misconceptions regarding the nature of marriage. One of the most common is that marriage is a partnership, a fifty/fifty deal. The absurdity of this concept can be seen when it is applied to other human relationships. Friendships, for example, are rarely a 50/50 relationship. There are times in a friendship when our friend needs our help. Sometimes that means an understanding ear. Sometimes it means a pickup truck and a day's work to move them. Sometimes it means money. The beauty of a friendship is, that when we are in need, our friends are there for us as well. If this is true of friendship, then how could it not be untrue of marriage, which is the most intimate relationship that two people enjoy in this life?
Your marriage will seldom, if ever be a 50/50 deal. There will be times and periods in your life where it may be 70/30. There may be a time when it is 100/0 if, you doubt that take a drive to a nearby hospital and realize that for every patient in that hospital, their other half is at home holding down the fort and paying the bills. There may come a time in your marriage, when you believe that more is being demanded of you than you can possibly deliver. If that moment should come, pause and take some time in prayer to God, to the one to whom you make these vows this day. In that time of spiritual communion, God will remind you of the words that Our Lord said in the Gospel (John 15:16): "It was not you who chose me, it was I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit." As people of faith we believe that about marriage. That God has called you Francis for Lee and you Lee for Francis. That as spouses you have a responsibility to each other and to God. To help each other achieve their potential in this life and in eternity. This means building each other up. It also will mean, at times, challenging each other with love and prudence. So that 25 or 50 years from now, when you look back at all of the trials and hardships of the years, they will evaporate like the dew before the glory of the morning sun and you will realize that you enjoy the greatest happiness that Divine mercy has bestowed upon us in this lifetime.