10 June 2013
Homily for the Marriage of John and Nicole Schupra
Today Christ visits your joy. Today he comes to help your gladness. Here, today, just as so many years ago at Cana in Galilee, he is present; and with him his holy apostles, eyewitnesses of his glory; and with him his most pure Mother, who sees your needs and intercedes for you.
John and Nicole, today he who joined our first parents, joins you together as husband and wife. You will notice that you speak no vows; we offer only prayers, and God himself does the work. And there’s a reason for that.
When a parent crosses icy pavement with their child, they don’t have the child take them by the hand, but rather they take the child by the hand. The parent’s outstretched hand holds better than the child could hold. Just so, today the risen Christ extends his hands to both of you. He takes your weak hands in his strong hand, and joins you together in one flesh.
Marriage is God’s work, his doing. We don’t get to define marriage, any more than we get to define day and night, sun and stars, seedtime and harvest. We receive it as a gift, his gift.
Today is all joy; but it won’t always be so. There will come times when your resources fail, times when you are at wit’s end. Perhaps it will be the shadow of disease, or too much month and too little income, or the challenges of parenthood—I am no prophet; I don’t know what challenges will come, I only know that they will come.
At those times you can rejoice that you have a swift defender and helper, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary. Just as she was present at Cana, so she is present in your marriage. Just as she saw the needs of that couple, and presented them to her Son, so she will present to him your needs. Don’t be shy to ask her prayers and intercessions. She will intercede with motherly boldness to her Son and God.
And at her prayers, he who made the water into wine, can and will turn the water of your struggles into the wine of his joy and gladness.
Did you notice, in the Gospel, that only the apostles got the whole picture? The servants who filled the pots, poured only water. The master of ceremonies tasted only the best wine. But the apostles saw it all, the water become wine, and they believed. When Christ God does his work, he hides it from most, and shows his glory only to a few.
For in the end, what is the point of marriage? Marriage is not simply an antidote to human passions, a divine cure for physical desires—though it is that. Nor is it simply companionship, having someone else to walk with together on the road to the cemetery. No; marriage is, most of all, a path of deification: a way we walk on the way to sharing God’s glory, his very life. You two are, in the words of St. Peter, “joint heirs of the grace of life.”
Someone has well said that God writes straight with crooked lines. In all the twists and turns, the things you cannot even imagine now, he will be writing. For us, it remains only to receive and cherish this gift God gives, this union he creates…to present to him your needs, to serve him and each other with body and soul, and, with the apostles, to be eyewitnesses of his glory.
Today, Christ visits your joy. Today he comes to help your gladness: in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.