This past weekend, I once again had the opportunity to celebrate the sacrament of matrimony with a young couple. The experience remains foremost in my thinking in these days. I have found that my wedding homilies flow in a certain manner depending on the readings chosen by the couple. On occasion, I have concentrated upon Paul’s hymn on love in 1 Corinthians. Sometimes, I have spoken about the wedding feast of Cana and how Jesus is in our midst and blesses this gathering and this couple.
When I preach at the University, I always try to address myself to the students in a way that I hope will speak to their lives at this point. At a wedding, I address the couple but also their young friends. I want to talk to them about what it means to get married. I convince myself that they are particularly interested in that question at this time.
I most prefer to preach on the passage in which Jesus quotes the teaching of Genesis which emphasizes what happens in marriage:
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and cling to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one.”
And I insist that what can be said of the man, can truthfully also be said of the woman:
“For this reason a woman shall leave her father and mother and cling to her husband, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one.”
I am drawn to the use of the word “cling” in this context. We know what “clinging” means. It suggests wrapping one’s arms around the other and holding on until it hurts. Nothing can shake the one from the other. And this is meant to be more than romantic.
The reading could not be clearer: both a man and a woman must leave father and mother to be with the other. From this day forward, the most important person in the life of one is the other. Yes, the love of family of birth remains important, but on a wedding day the vows join a man and a woman intimately together without exception and forever. A new and unique family emerges.
During the service, I invite the community to pray with me that each member of the couple will always be the remedy for loneliness for the other, that they will be equal and supportive companions, that they will grow together in wisdom and grace through the whole of their married life, that their love will be constantly creative and new, and that they will teach each other about faith and fidelity.
To witness a marriage is a holy act for all who are present. I still feel the glow.
Tags: Griffin, Reflections, Vincentian Family, Vincentian View