This weekend (not coincidentally I think, the weekend closest to Valentine’s Day), we celebrate World Marriage Sunday. Lived out, Marriage mirrors the self-giving love of Jesus Christ for his spouse the Church. Indeed, one of the best ways to encounter God in this world is in the married love of spouses. We surround Marriage therefore with the beauty and grace of a sacrament knowing ultimately that God who is love is at the heart of these relationships, sustaining them and breathing his divine life into them. Knowing this, I want to take advantage of this opportunity to extend the invitation to those now preparing for their lives together to consider receiving this sacrament in the Church, or likewise for those who are married civilly to each other to have their marriage convalidated, or blessed, by the Church so that they can together more fully receive the presence of God into their lives.
It has been a privilege both to celebrate many weddings with couples, as well as, celebrate various anniversaries with couples over the years. Congratulations to you! And we send you these regards because we know that married life is not always easy. I also salute all those sacrificing and laboring hard to make their marriage work because they haven’t given up on each other. Mindful of this, I ask that we find ways to support couples through the difficulties of life, and this doesn’t need to be professional help or formally organized, but can be as simple as reaching out to your friends or family members.
In our weekend’s readings, St. Paul speaks of the resurrection as the foundation of our faith, for if there were no resurrection then our faith is in vain. Indeed, there are a lot of people whose lives here on earth are fixated only on the here and now. We can all fall into that trap from time to time. Jesus speaks of these things with his teaching known as the Beatitudes, which in Luke’s Gospel includes some sayings of woe for those who are satisfied with earthly things – later they will be empty. We have to remind ourselves that our final destiny is heaven and it is there that we will find the ultimate happiness we seek. Those reminders of the resurrection and that heavenly reality are breaking in all around us as we experience new life for ourselves even amid the meekness, hunger, sadness, and hatred that are part of life in this world. St. Catherine of Sienna says, “All the way to heaven is heaven.” As we move through our lives in faith, we can experience a foretaste of that heavenly reality in many ways: perhaps it is through the love of spouses – it’s the job of spouses to get each other to heaven after all. We could experience this in the joy of a new-born child, or in the satisfaction of a job well done, or a healing embrace, a moment of prayer, reception of good news, a lesson learned, time spent in nature, the beauty of art, a moving melody, a rest well-deserved, peace that only God can give… all reminders of the resurrection, reminders that we are not pitiable people, reminders of grace pointing us towards that day when we can rejoice and be glad for your reward will be great in heaven.