January 8, 2017 – The Epiphany of the Lord
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.” (Matthew 2:1-12)
Carol and I helped lead a Tobit Marriage Preparation Retreat this weekend for 22 engaged couples.
We try to make time to lead one of these retreats each year. While we certainly hope that the engaged couples benefit greatly from the experience, we have selfish motivation for leading the retreat as well.
First, it is wonderful away time for Carol and I. The time we spend together preparing for and delivering talks about marriage helps grow our relationship. Sharing stories from our 33 years of marriage warms our hearts and reminds us how much we love one another.
Also, in the engaged couples, we see the future of the Church. Good young people who take the sacrament of marriage seriously, and want to grow and nurture happy, faith-filled marriages. Spending time with them, talking with them, gives us hope and makes us proud.
Here is a brief summary of the homily I shared at the Mass we celebrated last night:
Today’s Gospel, detailing the journey of the magi, is one of several Gospels – along with the baptism of Jesus, the wedding feast at Cana, the transfiguration – that contribute to the epiphany, through which God reveals Himself to His people.
Take a moment to turn toward your partner and look into his or her eyes. This person you have chosen to marry also contributes to the epiphany. God is revealing Himself to each of you through the other.
As the two of you exchange vows on your wedding day, you will be revealing God to all of those in attendance. As you go out into the world, your lives as a married couple will reveal God to everyone who observes you living out those vows. If God blesses you with children, you will be revealing God to them.
Marriage is not a simple “I do” and done. As individuals, you each have the obligation to help get your spouse to heaven. As a couple, you have the obligation to contribute to the epiphany – to reveal God to His people – through the witness of your marriage.
These are intimidating obligations. However, if you have invited God to be a part of the marriage, if He is the focus of your life together, these obligations can be met through the course of your daily lives.