May 28, 2017
I had the honor of being the officiant of the marriage of Claire and Jay on Friday night at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Indianapolis. The following is the homily I delivered:
I want to begin by talking about why you are all here. You each have a role in today’s ceremony and a responsibility to Claire and Jay.
Parents – you are the foundation. Because of you, Claire and Jay have built their house on rock. You have provided them with the love and support they need, and will continue to do so in support of their marriage.
Family and friends – you may think you are here to kill time until the reception, where you will eat and drink at Bob and Janie’s expense. There is more to it. You were included on Claire and Jay’s list. They thought carefully about who should be here today. You are here because they trust you. They will need your love and support, but they also need you to hold them accountable. They trust you to do that. Listen carefully to the words of their vows, and then hold them to those words.
Claire and Jay, you have a pretty big role too…but I’ll talk to you later.
Carol and I like to do the marriage prep for couples I’ll be marrying. It gives me a chance to get to know them, flaws and all. It allows me the opportunity to highlight those flaws and poke a little fun at the couple in my homily.
The marriage prep provides me with several such opportunities: We had regular meetings with Claire and Jay. However, we didn’t get much from them, other than finding them to be very compatible, friendly, and mature. Mary (Claire’s sister) told us last night that Claire and Jay are “quirky and nerdy and fit together well.” I think that is an accurate assessment of the couple.
During marriage prep, couples take a “test” that measures compatibility and shines a light on potential work areas. The test usually provides me some good material. Not in this case. Claire and Jay scored off the charts and had virtually the same answers.
I also gave them a few reflection questions of my own. Again, this did not help me much. They basically gave the same answers, although as Claire is inclined to do, her answers were a bit more “out there.” For instance, in response to one question, Jay wrote: I look forward to raising our kids together. In responding to the same question, Claire wrote: I look forward to raising our goofy, awesome kids together.
Finally, there was the rehearsal dinner. This is always a source of good information, a great opportunity to get the inside scoop. Here are a few things I learned at the rehearsal dinner last night:
First, I’m not sure I needed to see naked pictures of the quads at bath time. (Claire is a quadruplet).
Next, I heard Janie described as “looking like a beached whale” when she was pregnant with the quads. I am sure that is something every woman dreams of hearing when she’s pregnant.
I learned that Claire’s family should not go out on tour as a singing group – keep your day jobs.
To Jay: everyone appreciates a man who thinks things through and carefully considers things before making a decision. But seven years? It took you seven years to propose?
Finally, as Claire was introducing her bridesmaids last night, I learned that she has apparently not made any new friends since kindergarten…and that’s kind of sad.
However, what I did see and feel last night was the love in the room. The focus and source of that love was Claire and Jay. The two of you were the light shining in that room last night.
It speaks to the words we heard in the Gospel moments ago: You are the light of the world…you do not light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others.
(Walking over to Claire and Jay) And that is what I’d like to talk to the two of you about.
I apologize that I am turning my back on the congregation, but what I have to say is for the two of you and it is important that I have your full attention.
The reason we celebrate this occasion in a church, and the reason that marriage is a sacrament, is that your union serves as an epiphany – it reveals Christ. With marriage comes the obligation to reveal Christ.
Jay – each morning you wake up, you will need to make the decision to love Claire. You are obligated to reveal Christ to her by the way you love her – the way you talk to her, treat her, and interact with the world around you.
Claire – each morning you wake up, you will need to make the decision to love Jay. You are obligated to reveal Christ to him by the way you love him – the way you talk to him, treat him, and interact with the world around you.
Secondly, your marriage must reveal Christ to others. Others will see Christ in how you love one another and in how you, as a couple, interact with them. You put your lamp on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.
Finally, if you are blessed to have children, you will be obligated to reveal Christ to them daily. Through your love and support, they will come to know God.
What I have just shared with you is serious business. A wedding is not a quick “I do” and some dancing; it is the beginning of a marriage. And with that marriage comes the challenging responsibilities I’ve described.
So, what do you say? With all this in mind, are you still up for it? Are you ready…or does Jay need another four or five years to think about it?
(The couple affirms they are indeed ready, and the Marriage Rite begins)