Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
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A wedding homily: What happened at Cana ‘tells us something about what is
happening right now’
by Father Cornelius Verdoorn
(From the Jan. 18, 2001 edition of the Inland Register)
Almost 2,000 years ago in another town there was another wedding. That marriage is the first place our Lord took his disciples after calling them to follow him.
What happened there tells us something about what is happening right now.
You see, Christ cares about you just as He cared about that couple in the town of Cana in Galilee. It was their wedding feast, something like the reception you are going to have. Only it lasted quite a bit longer. A wedding feast back then might last a whole week. After all, would you walk 20 or 30 miles through a hot, dry wilderness just for a piece of cake and glass of punch? Not likely!
Back then, when life was rather bleak, a wedding was a festive time for the whole community as well as for the family. The couple would be the king and queen of that village during the week of celebration. Just as you hope all will go well at the reception today, so they hoped all would go well.
Only it didn’t.
They ran out of wine. You can imagine how embarrassing that must have been. The guests would have to be told to go home.
And so our Lord had six purification jars brought to him and he turned the water in them into the choicest wine. Now these were not little Mason jars! Each of those purification jars held as much as 15 or 20 gallons. And this after they had been celebrating for some time!
In a few minutes, we will come to the part of your wedding in which the two of you will make some promises. You are about to take on a very serious commitment. Marriage is not easy and the vows you are going to make are a reminder of that fact.
You are going to promise that you will be with one another in sickness and in health.
Be honest. Most of us are not a joy to be around. When we are sick, we are not thoughtful of others. We are a bit crabby. If this is the way it is when we have a case of the flu, think how difficult it is when there is serious illness.
You are going to promise that whether you are rich or poor, you will continue the relationship. It is not easy to give up creature comforts we are used to and enjoy. It may be true that two can live as cheaply as one, but not as well. As children come along, there will be many sacrifices. Again, this is a serious vow.
You are promising to be faithful to one another. In a world that flaunts sexuality and unfaithfulness, this is no easy promise. As time wears on you will begin to see in each other all the imperfections every human being has. You may go out the door in the morning after kissing someone who is in a grumpy mood, who has not showered. There will be days when everyone you meet seems more attractive than your mate. Yet you are committing yourselves to a life of fidelity.
Lastly, you are promising to remain together until you are parted by death. When you are young, it is hard to imagine that there will come a time when one of you must watch the other die. It is not a pleasant thought.
During these difficult times, think back to that wedding in Cana. Just as our Lord was concerned with that couple’s well-being, so he is concerned with yours. There is no problem too great or even to small that you cannot share with him.
One of the joys of being a Christian is that we believe that God became human. This has great practical significance for all of us, especially the two of you. You see, because Christ lived like one of us, yet did not sin, he understands what it is like to be human. When you worry about making ends meet, he understands. When you are worried about a loved one’s illness, he knows how you feel. Never be afraid or ashamed to share your need with him. In fact, the extent to which you are able to share with Christ will determine how strong a relationship you have with one another. Somehow, people often feel that faith is an individual thing, just something between me and God. Nothing could be further from the truth.
If God called you to be married, then it is through that relationship that you will come to know him best. It is your vocation, and our vocations are our means to holiness. Your marriage is your pathway to heaven. It may sound a bit corny but, from this moment on, you are expected to go hand in hand into eternity.
A great deal of effort has gone into making this day a very special one. The church has been decorated with flowers, special music selected, friends invited. Innumerable preparations made this day a reality. Each detail seems of the greatest importance, but we know in fact that they are secondary to our real purpose here. The preparations should never overshadow the commitment made to a lifelong marriage in the sight of God.
This day is special not because of its outward beauty, as wonderful as that is, but because a man and a woman are giving themselves to one another unreservedly.
We pray that God will give to both of you his grace so that the trust and love with which you have begun this day will permeate the remainder of your lives.
Grant, O Lord, that as their love for each other increases, their love for you may abound. Amen.
(Editor’s note: Father Roy Floch, pastor in Wilbur and Odessa, found this wedding homily in a drawer in Odessa; Father Verdoorn had once been pastor of that parish. Father Verdoorn died Dec. 24, 2000.)
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