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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Helpers and partners

Here is the text of the homily I prepared for the celebration of the wedding that took place in our parish church today: some thoughts about God's call for married couples to be joyful witnesses of faith for the world as they strive to be helpers and partners to one anther and to all those they might meet.

Wedding homily for Ryan McDonald and Jennifer Mandaglio

Ryan and Jennifer have finally arrived at their wedding day.  This is one of the days that will remain forever as a milestone in your lives and we are all overjoyed to be here celebrating it with you.  We wish that Mitchell were here with us as well, but God had other plans, so he is celebrating with us from his place in heaven.

I believe that both the McDonald family and the Mandaglio family have deep roots in this parish community, so it is significant that we are here today to witness the moment when these two young people will join themselves to each other in the bond of marriage.

What you are about to do has very deep and meaningful significance.  The history of God’s people speaks of God’s love and care for us from the moment when he created us.  God was pleased when he created Adam, but even then, he knew that it is not good that man should be alone (Gn 2:18), so he created Eve, a helper and a partner for Adam.  This is an important distinction: God created Eve to be a helper and a partner for Adam.  With this understanding, we joyfully celebrate this moment in your lives.  In a few moments, Ryan and Jennifer will speak their wedding vows and be bound to one another – not in order to be servants but rather to be helpers and partners for each other along the road of life that lies ahead.

You are very lucky to have so many of your family and friends to help you, to guide you and to walk with you along this road, and you can also count on every one of the members of this parish community.  We have the special privilege of praying for you, and we promise to keep a place for you here, ready and waiting to help you if ever you should need us, but we need you too.  We need you to wake up every day ready to share the treasure of your faith in God and in each other with all those who are impoverished.  You never know when people will see you and recognize in you a sympathetic soul or someone who is truly concerned about making a difference, but if you begin each day with a whispered prayer for God’s help, he will place you in situations where he needs you to be and people will be quick to recognize your sincerity and your ability to be compassionate.

Remember always that God has set you on this path together.   When you walk out these doors, we will still see two people, each with his or her own personality, each with his or her own likes and dislikes, but there will be something different too.  From this day forward, God needs you and we need you to walk together, to be living examples of God’s tenderness, God’s joy, God’s concern for each one of his children and God’s desire to be close to us.  Speak these truths whenever they are called for, but remember always the advice that Saint Paul offers: even if I could speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clashing cymbal (1 Cor 13:1).

Speak always with love, act always in charity, and pray always for the gifts of patience and kindness.  Walk always beside one another, be the first to find ways to be helpers and partners to each other.  Then, together, you will be able to show others the great strength that comes from love: the ability to bear all things, to believe all things, to hope all things and to endure all things (cf 1 Cor 13:7).
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