Christ the Bridegroom and His Bride — The John and Megan Salm Wedding

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain. He sat down and his disciples came to Him. Jesus began to teach them, and his first teachings in this Sermon on the Mount were the Beatitudes we just heard. Blessed are the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemakers, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness. What do these things mean? How can we best understand them? Who best models these blessed paths for us to follow? Realize that Jesus’ Beatitudes are autobiographical. These Beatitudes describe Jesus himself.

Jesus is poor in spirit, relying upon his Father-God, and personally connecting with him every day through prayer. Jesus mourns because he loves and cares about us, our brokenness, our pains, our sorrows. Jesus is meek, not coming as a warrior on a warhorse imposing his will by force, but rather–for instance–entering Jerusalem humbly on a donkey, inviting the world and all people to freely accept his Kingdom and himself. Jesus is merciful, he forgives us because he loves us. Jesus is pure of heart, he loves with pure motives and true devotion. Jesus is the peacemaker whose peace is true peace. More than bread alone, Jesus hungers and thirsts for righteousness. And because of this, he is persecuted for the sake of righteousness, and blesses many through his self-sacrifice.

Jesus went up the mountain and his disciples came to him. There are many crowds in this world, but Jesus’ disciples, his Church, they come to him. And Jesus teaches us to imitate his own example. The saints give us excellent examples of how to be Christlike. As St. Paul tells the Corinthians, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” Get to know saints, those alive on earth and those alive in Heaven, and you’ll become holier, growing ever closer to the best version of yourself through their friendship. John and Megan, be saintly friends for each other to help each other, and your children, be saints. And meditate upon the relationship of Christ and his Church to guide you in your marriage.

Recall that Jesus calls himself the Bridegroom and his Church is called his Bride. Now every Christian is called to imitate Jesus Christ, and every Christian soul is spiritually his Bride. But just like the Holy Eucharist we celebrate today is not just a symbol or a memory of Jesus but his Real Presence among us, so the Christian Sacrament of Marriage you are about to enter makes present the mystical marriage of Jesus Christ and his Church between you and within you. John, love your wife, even as Christ loved the church, handing himself over for her, to bless and sanctify her. Megan, love and follow your husband, becoming fruitful and holier together with him.

Pray as a couple, with your kids, and individually on your own, stay close to the Lord’s Sacraments in his Church, relying on God to enrich your spirits, personally connecting with God every day. Have compassion for each other, mourning each others’ trials and consoling each other through them. Be meek toward each other, leading or following as is proper, but always inviting rather than imposing. Be merciful, forgiving each others’ faults in love. Be pure of heart, devoted to each other with pure motives. Be peacemakers, not merely content with an absence of conflict, but cultivating true harmony together. And be not content with just the pursuit of daily bread but hunger and thirst for righteousness, and be willing to suffer for righteousness, that your lives may be a blessing to many.

John and Megan, we are happy for you, we are excited for you, and we anticipate great things from the two of you together. May our Lord Jesus Christ, who has begun his good work in you, bring it to fulfillment.

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