Sunday, May 21, 2017

Homily for Wedding of Elise Pontious and Alex Foran

Homily for the Wedding
of Elise Pontious and Alex Foran
May 20, 2017
Tobit 8: 4-8
Ps 145: 8-10, 15, 17-18
Heb 13: 1-6
Matt 7: 21, 24-29
Holy Cross, Champaign, Ill.

“The Lord is close to all who call him, who call on him in truth” (Ps 145: 18).

Elise and Alex, you’ve been diligent in calling upon the Lord.  That’s probably a habit, a virtue, that you’ve practiced for as long as you can remember, something you probably learned from your dear parents Melissa and Bill (RIP), Tim and Lisa.  The Church always considers parents the 1st and best educators of their children.

Moms and dads are usually proud beyond measure of their kids, especially on occasions like weddings.  Grandparents also deserve some recognition for the priceless roles they play in loving and guiding not just their own children but also the grandchildren.  You, Elise and Alex, give added reason for parental pride and joy today because you’re beginning your life together by calling upon the Lord.  You recognize the truth that he is the source of our deepest happiness, that the greatest yearnings of our hearts only he can satisfy, that your ultimate goal isn’t a fine home, a comfortable lifestyle, a bunch of talented kids, even a long and healthy life—but eternal life with the One who created all of us to be happy and healthy forever in his home as part of his family.  The only “happily ever after” is the one with God, the Father to whom our Lord Jesus leads us with his sound teachings, the words and example on which you’re pledging to build your life together (Matt 7: 24-28).  Jesus is the sure foundation for contentment and happiness even in this life.
The Wedding at Cana
St. Ursula's Church, Mt. Vernon, N.Y.
In my 39 years (and 1 day) as a priest, mostly in high school and communications ministry, I haven’t witnessed a lot of marriages.  I think you’re the 1st couple who’ve chosen the OT reading from Tobit.  In that reading you join your prayers to the prayer of Tobiah and Sarah, calling upon the Lord to protect you and deliver you from everything that will inevitably test your marriage.  Not for nothing will your exchange of consent—by which you become the celebrants of this sacrament—not for nothing will you promise fidelity “in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.”  This is not to mention that by around week 3, Alex, you’ll discover that Elise is not a goddess but an imperfect human being like everyone else you know.  (Our parish DRE adds that you must remember:  even if she’s not a goddess, she’s still the boss.)  And Elise, you’ll make the same startling discovery about Alex’s imperfections.

But you’re here to call on the Lord, to celebrate the sacrament that makes our Lord Jesus a partner in your marriage and your family life.  You’re committing yourselves to be Jesus for each other:  Alex, to love, cherish, protect, and help Elise become the saint that God created her to be, as Jesus saved her to be; Elise, to love, cherish, protect, and help Alex become the saint that God created him to be, as Jesus saved him to be.

“The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid” was the last verse from your NT reading (Heb 13:6).  The Lord whom you invoke will indeed be with you and help you.  At times you’ll each stand in for the Lord.  Each of you will be the Lord’s agent in regard to your partner by the power of this sacrament.  Be Jesus in your love for your partner.

All of us who witness your commitment to each other and to God join with you, in the words of Tobiah and Sarah, in “calling down [God’s] mercy on” you, that you may live together happily to an old age (Tob 8:8); and going further, that you may live together with our Lord Jesus into eternal happiness.

May God bless you superabundantly all your days!

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