*Real names are replaced with fictitious
The place where a couple chooses to get married tells much about how the couple views marriage. Certainly John* and Beverly* could have chosen a more picturesque place to get married than in a Catholic Church. I've seen on TV where couples choose the most beautiful spots on the earth, the most breath taking places to make their wedding ceremony memorable. Why is it that the Catholic Church asks the couple to get married in a church and in the context of mass? Perhaps the clue is in our readings from the Old Testament and the New Testament.
You notice that in this wedding ceremony all of us are oriented toward the altar. In the altar is the tabernacle where the Blessed Sacrament, Our Lord in his flesh, both humanity and divinity, resides. Also in the altar is the crucifix, where Jesus showed how much he loved us by sacrificing his very own life for us. It is before this presence of Jesus that John* and Beverly* stand, kneel, and declare their intention to imitate the self-emptying love of Jesus on the cross. In fact what John* and Beverly* are doing is praying before the Lord like Tobiah and Sarah. Before their marriage was consummated, Tobiah asks his wife to get up to pray to the Lord. "Sister, get up. Let us pray and beg our Lord to have mercy on us and to grant us deliverance." They first praised the Lord for His goodness, "Blessed are you, O God of our fathers; praised be your name forever and ever. You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve to be his help and support...You said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a partner like himself.' Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine not because of lust, but for a noble purpose. Call down your mercy on me and on her, and allow us to live together to a happy old age...And they said together, 'Amen, amen.'"
Tobiah and Sarah were asking the Lord to call down His mercy. Likewise, John* and Beverly* are here before the Lord to call down God's mercy upon them. What are they really asking the Lord for? They are asking the Lord to shower down the Holy Spirit upon them. In our Second Reading from the Corinthians, we hear the familiar, "Love is patient, love is kind." St. Paul is not talking about the kind of love we hear in some of the love songs on the radio. St. Paul is really talking about love as the spiritual gift of the Holy Spirit. He says, "Brothers and sisters: Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts." What is the greatest spiritual gift of the Holy Spirit? Charity or love. What does this gift of the Holy Spirit look like? This gift of the Holy Spirit enables us to be patient, kind, not jealous, not pompous, not inflated, not rude. This gift enables us not to seek its own interests, not to rejoice over wrongdoing, but enables us to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things. John* and Beverly* you can ask all the guests you have invited here whether in their own marriage they have failed to be patient, to be kind, failed to bear all things, to believe, to hope, and failed to endure all things. And their answer is resounding, yes. It is humanly impossible to live up to the call of charity. That is why St. Paul asks for all of us here to ask the Lord to give us this gift of the Holy Spirit daily.
Finally, John* and Beverly*, by having your ceremony here in this church, you have invited Jesus to your wedding just as he was invited to the wedding at Cana. Like the gospel where the wine ran out, in your marriage, things will run out--your patience, you kindness, your perseverance, your hope, and your faith. That is precisely when you need to seek Jesus. As He has performed a miracle of turning ordinary water into wine for all the guests to enjoy, if you seek Him daily when things run dry, He will fill you with charity, the greatest of the gift of the Holy Spirit.