Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday word, 15 Aug 2009

Meredith Nice-Andrew Barnett wedding (15 Aug 2009)
Rv 11.19; 12. 1-6,10; Ps 128; 1Co 12. 31-13. 8a; Lk 1. 39-56
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.

Meredith and Andrew, you give us an opportunity to appreciate together a mystery of Mary and the mystery you are becoming today in Christian marriage. By choosing today for your wedding, its Solemnity of the Assumption into heaven of the Blessed Virgin Mary allows us to consider destiny, very fitting as you begin your married life together. First, Mary modeling Christian destiny; then, you living it through Christian marriage.

Several are the ways to appreciate Mary’s assumption into heaven: as mystery; as her personal participation in her son’s resurrection; as dogma—an article of faith we cannot abandon and call ourselves Catholic; and as destiny.

Christian destiny is not that unwelcome, even cruel, reversal we name fate. Nor is Christian destiny predetermined, insulting human freedom to make life fruitless folly. No! Christian destiny is life with our triune God, as Jesus revealed it and as Jesus fulfilled it in his dying and rising.

The dead-and-risen One shares his absolutely new life in the Spirit with us! Jesus did not reserve it to himself, which is the conviction closing the first reading from the Book of Revelation: “Now have salvation and power come, and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed One.” Christian destiny is about being saved, that is, caught up in Jesus’ resurrection-life already.

Mary modeled the already of God’s saving power: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. ...the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his Name. She shared her joy by caring for her pregnant cousin.

Being saved, that is, being caught up in Jesus’ risen life at our every breath, fuels each one’s Christian life. Christians by their choices and actions grow in union with our Messiah Jesus and one another; living their union with Jesus affects others and the world, infusing the world with the effects of faith, hope and love/1/ and changing lives.

Faith, hope and love: the practical effects of our Christian destiny focus any description of it—like my opening remarks—on concrete action. You allowed St. Paul to remind you and all of us that abiding, mutual Christian love is practical. It will challenge you, at times with some surprise. Christian love, St. Paul reminded, is patient and kind, but sometimes lovers are not. Christian love does not envy or boast, but sometimes lovers do. Christian love bears...[and] endures all things, but sometimes lovers do not. Christian love does not insist on its own way but sometimes lovers do.

That last, Christian love does not insist on its own way, brings us back to the hallmark of Christian love: it’s mutual. Andy and Meredith, I want to affirm what you have allowed me to see: your desire to live a Catholic marriage. I also want to remind you that at each step of making one life together, Jesus accompanies you, drawing you and your love for each other into the mutual love, which his Father and Jesus and their Spirit enjoy—our destiny. You’ll never lack for Jesus’ companionship blessing your love with the love of the Trinity.

Your mutual compassion for one another will fashion you from today as a domestic church./2/ Your married life will help you save each other’s souls and welcome “children lovingly from God”/3/; your married life will also allow Jesus to work through you for the sake of the world. You will never lose your individual selves. In Christian marriage both of you will strive to make one life together.

Even more than the way you give love, the way you receive love from each other will allow Jesus to guide you on that still more excellent way, your mutual compassion. Jesus embodied and models compassion for you and for all, and continues creating you to be the man and woman God desires you to be for each other. Your married life, with its challenges and its privileged joys, will allow you to live your Christian destiny and help others to live it, too.

I mentioned joys and challenges. Joys are obvious, challenges need a word. Together you have already had your share of challenges, recently the death of Andy’s grandmother. Loss is always a challenge. Not as recent but still fresh is the challenge you negotiated when we began marriage preparation. You negotiated it well, and I remember how emphatic you were that marriage preparation could not have come at a better time for you. While challenges demand our attention and energy, challenges are not without opportunities. The opportunity of living faith, hope and love affects you as spouses by deepening your intimacy, drawing you closer and blessing us and the world with yet one more expression of Christian destiny.

Meredith and Andrew, I’m very proud of you and, I wish you every good thing. I congratulate you on behalf of the church. It is true that Jesus created you for one another. It is even more true that Jesus will create you each moment for everything ahead of you. Please remember that in pledging yourselves to each other you allow Jesus to work through you for our Christian destiny—the salvation of each other as well as our world. As you forge one life together Jesus begets something new: a new harmony to feel Jesus creating you and your mutual love for each other, and to help us and others feel Jesus recreating the world to taste his salvation and power.

1. See Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, 4, of The Second Vatican Council.
2. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 11, of The Second Vatican Council.
3. Rite of Marriage, Ch.2: 42.
Wiki-images by Jason Hutchins of exchanging wedding rings and by pabloendemico of Calceolaria cana are used according to the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license .

No comments: