Archive for the ‘Wedding Homilies’ Category

The Loving Communion of Persons — The Larry Feltes & Shirley Conibear Wedding

February 19, 2023

By Fr. Victor Feltes

For the story of humanity, God began with a single couple, Adam and Eve; a single family, the family of Abraham; a single people, the twelve tribes of Jacob; a single nation, the nation of Israel; and ultimately a single Church, a Church for all peoples and lands, the Church of Jesus Christ. Notice the trend of God creating a wider and wider circle of relationship.

This growth is all detailed in the Bible. God began with two in the Garden of Eden, later a family of seventy journeyed into Egypt, generations later hundreds of thousands came out of Egypt in the Exodus, until there was up to millions at the birth of the Church. These events are all recounted through personal stories, about people such as Joseph, Moses, Jesus and Mary and his friends, the Apostles. This was necessary for God’s purpose. Perhaps an angel could be engaged by a long list of statistics and historical dates, But human persons require personal stories of personal experience to come to know God.

God desires us to know him better. In the time of Moses, God commanded his people to worship no other gods. In the time of the prophets, God clarified for his people that there are no other gods. But in the coming of Jesus, God revealed for all people that God is a communion of Persons. Our God is not a solitary oneness but a unity of three, an eternally loving and blessed Trinity.

So why did God create us? Did he need us to do something for him? Was he incomplete without us? No, we are not the result of necessity. God is complete in himself, but his fullness overflows. Love likes to share. Our creation, our existence, is a gratuitous gift. And God desires and delights that we would be in personal relationship with him and in close personal relationship with one another through him.

Larry and Shirley, you are about to enter a holy covenant together. In a moment, you will exchange vows to be married, and we are all here to support you. But hypothetically, could you both survive without marrying each other? Sure. Could you survive without music, or sweet foods, or sunsets? Of course! You marry today not by compulsion, nor from necessity, but freely and overflowing delight. You both desire to be a blessing to each other; to be the blessing that a wife can be to her husband and the blessing that a husband can be to his wife in this holy communion of persons. He desires for you to have holy joys in life, to support each other through the inevitable trials ahead, and to sanctify each other, to grow each other as saints for Heaven with God.

Larry and Shirley, you both know that wedding days are full of many memories, but from this homily I hope you will remember this: at quiet times in days ahead reflect and see how Jesus has walked with you, leading you to this moment. And as you go forward together in marriage, grow in love with him. You, like all of us here, are created in love, made for love, and called to more perfect love, together with our Lord.

Valuable Lessons for Life — The Craig & Debbie Zwiefelhofer Wedding

June 22, 2021

Ring Heart Shadow on Bible

Craig and Debbie, today you are here in this beautiful church to freely give yourselves to each other in marriage. Christ’s Church has discerned and affirms that you are both free to marry, and we gather together to celebrate this day with you. The excellent Scripture readings that you selected, and which we all just heard, contain valuable lessons for life. May their inspired insights bless your marriage and every household which takes them to heart.

In our first reading, on their wedding night, Tobiah arises from bed and says to his wife, “Sister, get up. Let’s pray…” Sarah gets up and they start to pray, praising and thanking God, and asking for his help and blessings. And they conclude, saying together, “Amen, amen.” There are couples who have shared a bed for decades who have never shared their prayers like this. They may go to church on Sunday or pray before meals—and that’s great—but sharing prayer as a couple like this is a greater intimacy. You do not need to be eloquent. You can even pray together silently. On a regular basis, offer two or three personal things for your spouse to pray about for you, and ask your spouse to share two or three things you can pray about to God for them. You can pray silently for each other for even just a minute or two and simply wrap up with an Our Father and Hail Mary.

A couple that prays together, and for each other, will be more perfectly one. A life of prayer is also a cure for our anxieties and fears. St. Paul reminds us in our second reading, “The Lord is near.” Therefore, he writes:

“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
  by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
  make your requests known to God.
  Then the peace of God
  that surpasses all understanding
  will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

The world and my problems may be bigger than me, but God is bigger than them both. Pray often and God’s peace, even without your fully understanding what he is doing, will secure and calm your hearts and minds. St. Paul then goes on to teach the Philippians and us another lesson:

“[B]rothers and sisters,
  whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
  whatever is just, whatever is pure,
  whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
  if there is any excellence
  and if there is anything worthy of praise,
  think about these things.”

If you ask someone, “How you doing?” and they say, “I can’t complain,” they don’t mean it literally. Everybody can complain. Things to complain about are all around us. Even good things can be complained about for not being better. Anybody can complain because complaining is easy. But to focus on what is lovely, excellent, and praiseworthy is a choice. Highlighting the good in your everyday life will nurture peace within you, peace between you, and peace around you. Finally, we come to Jesus’ words in our Gospel. Jesus tells his disciples:

“This is my commandment:
  love one another as I love you.
  No one has greater love than this,
  to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Ahead of you are good times and trials, both joys and sufferings, Mount Tabors and Mount Calvarys. Choose to love through them all and your Good Fridays will lead to Easter Sundays. In conclusion, pray together, focus on what is good, and choose to love like Jesus loves you and you will be blessed.

Hearts Like His — The Nathan & Cassandra Hagenbrock Wedding

June 12, 2021

Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Sacred Heart of JesusNathan and Cassie’s wedding day lands upon this, the third Friday after the Feast of Pentecost, the eleventh day of June. God’s providence has arranged it that they be married on this special day – a feast day, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, during a month especially dedicated to Jesus’ Sacred Heart. You can see depictions of the Sacred Heart inside this church. There is the statue of Jesus behind me, here in the sanctuary, and presently another statue in our devotional corner in the back. In artistic depictions, you may see Jesus’ Sacred Heart resting upon his chest, or maybe he holds it in his hand offering it to you, and sometimes his heart is depicted by all itself. In every depiction it is a human heart, crowned with thorns, pierced on the side, with flames and a cross emerging from the top. What is the meaning of these things? What do they reveal about Jesus? And what do they mean for Nathan and Cassie and us?

The heart is the organ within every human being which is most associated symbolically with emotion, devotion, and love. Since becoming man through his Incarnation two thousand years ago, the Eternal Son of God, Jesus Christ, has possessed a literal human heart in himself. And Jesus has personally experienced human feelings as well. But Jesus and his heart are not merely human, but divine. This reality is symbolized by the flames. As at the burning bush in Exodus, these flames do not consume his heart, but coexist with it and glorify it. Jesus feels and loves with a divine intensity, and this love leads him to sacrifice for love. This love gives rise to the Cross, upon which he suffered for us. This love occasions the crown of thorns, which he wore for us. And this love led to Jesus’ heart being pierced, the event we hear about in today’s Gospel. Jesus’ Sacred Heart is human and compassionate, divine and loving, long-suffering and glorious. And it is the will of Jesus, meek and humble of heart, to make our hearts like unto his, that you may endure suffering, be loving, and be made glorious.

You can see that this world is broken. Other people are broken. And you know, Nathan and Cassie, that though there is a great deal to like about you both, neither of you is yet perfect. Know that in your marriage, you will inevitably encounter suffering; sufferings caused by the world, sufferings caused by other people, and sometimes sufferings caused by each other. But when these thorns and small cuts come, do not let the fire of your love go out. Choose to keep loving, willing the good of each other. This is how Jesus loves us, and how he calls us to love.

This persistent decision to love is essential, but it is not enough. To love beyond human strength requires God’s strength; divine fire burning in your heart. You must love with Jesus’ love by connecting with him; praying daily, worshipping weekly, and communing with him constantly (spiritually or sacramentally) as you are able. Love each other by the love with which he loves you.

Choosing to love with the love of Christ in marriage is now your calling. This vocation together is to be for your joy, fruitfulness, and glory in the likeness of Christ. May Jesus Christ make your our hearts like unto his Sacred Heart, so that you may endure suffering, be loving, and be made glorious, like Jesus Christ himself.

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

February 13, 2021

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.

Your Special Day: August 24th — The Aaron & Ciera Logslett Wedding

August 24, 2019

Aaron and Ciera, this date, August 24th, August 24th 2019, is a date you will remember (or else you will be reminded of) every year for the rest of your lives together. Today marks the beginning of your marriage covenant. This will henceforth be your special day. But are you aware of the past history of this date? Momentous things have occurred on August 24th.

1,940 years ago today, on August 24th, 79 A.D., an Italian volcano, Mount Vesuvius, famously erupted, killing thousands of people in the Roman city of Pompeii a moment. That’s why you picked today for your wedding date, right?

On August 24th, 1814, 205 years ago today, during the War of 1812, the British army invaded Washington D.C. and set fire to the White House. The President and First Lady, James and Dolly Madison escaped, but they lost their home and many personal possessions. But, it’s not only unfortunate historical events that mark this day. Positive things have happened as well.

110 years ago today, In 1909, the first of some 2 million cubic yards of concrete began to pour to create the Panama Canal. This project, connecting two oceans through Central America, is one of our country’s greatest engineering feats.

And 70 years ago today, on August 24th, 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization went into effect. The United States led Western nations in forming this mutual defense pact (called NATO) against the evil and hostile Soviet Union. Through this alliance, the U.S. and her allies would go on to win the Cold War.

Besides being interesting trivia, I mention these events from the past because they carry lessons for your future together.

This is a happy day, a day for great joy, but it is my duty to tell you, and my desire to help you, to enter the years ahead with open eyes. There will be enemies to your marriage. Hostile forces will attack your house that would burn it down. I speak of temptations and dangers from this broken world around us, your own weak flesh, and the very real devil. All of us must fight these battles. And there will be days in your marriage when unexpected disasters fall from the sky, crises and trials will erupt in your lives in ways you cannot now predict. I know this because the Cross comes to every person’s life.

But today, the two of you are entering into a new alliance, to stand and endure against these evils. It’s an alliance sealed with God and with each other; to be a good wife and mother like Sirach praises in our first reading, and a kind and merciful husband and father like our Psalm celebrates. Together, you can and will prevail. Today the cement of your marriage covenant will be poured and hardened. Today you have found your life’s calling, your vocation. Rather than taking a longer way around to this world to Heaven, your marriage is to be your straight path to holiness. Your marriage is to be your channel of God’s grace.

As St. Paul’s prayed for the Romans in our second reading, so we pray for you:

“May the God of endurance and encouragement
grant you to think in harmony with one another,
in keeping with Christ Jesus,
that with one accord you may with one voice
glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Today, Jesus preaches his Gospel message to you

“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments,
you will remain in my love…
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
and your joy may be complete.
This is my commandment:
love one another as I love you.”

Aaron and Ciera, remember these things in the marriage you are about to enter so that you may be blessed in this life and forever. Now, let’s make history.

United Hearts — The Kristopher and KayLee Schnitzler Wedding

July 4, 2011

Kristopher and KayLee, when you chose this day, July 2nd, to be your wedding day you were probably not aware that you were choosing an extra special date. We unite your hearts today in holy matrimony amidst Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Yesterday was the Solemnity of His Sacred Heart and today is the Memorial of her Immaculate Heart. We celebrate these two feasts so closely on the calendar, one after the other, because no two human hearts are so intimately united in a perfect love. I present them to you as role models for your love

Mary and Jesus were mother and Son. They were never married in the way we think of marriage, so how can they be role models for your marriage? In Jesus and Mary, we see the perfect man with the perfect woman, we see the New Adam together with the New Eve, we see the King and Queen of Heaven and Earth. Jesus is the Bridegroom and Mary is the flawless image of the Church, which is His Bride. By seeing how Jesus loves her and how Mary loves Him we can learn much about how men and women are to serve and love each other.

How does Jesus love Mary? For one thing, he listens to her. He is receptive to her wants and needs. It was true at the wedding feast of Cana, He worked a miracle to provide wine at her request, and it is still true now in heaven, where she continues to ask for good things for us. A good husband must be receptive to his wife’s wants and needs. On the other hand, in what manner do you think Mary asks things of Jesus? Mary does not nag Jesus, asking Him in plaintive tones. She doesn’t sit next to Jesus in Heaven and sigh, “I see you still haven’t taken care of the garbage down there.” Instead, I imagine she says to Him, “It would make me very happy if you would do this for me.” A good wife must allow pleasing her to be her husband’s joy, not his burden.

A good husband must die to himself in many ways for his family, and a good wife must support him through his sacrifices. Look how Jesus goes to the cross and offers Himself for the good of Mary and her children. He suffers for her and lays down his life for her. And how does Mary support Him? She is right there, at the foot of the cross, faithful and consoling. God gave Eve to Adam as a partner, to support him in the garden. Mary continues to be a helpmate to Jesus in His work of harvesting the vineyard of this world. A good husband lays down his life for his wife and a good wife must support him through his sacrifices.

From the cross, Jesus make Mary the mother of all Christians. He desired Mary to be the mother of many children, and now, Mary’s motherhood is perhaps her greatest joy. A good husband and wife must be open to children. This is the will of God for you and He will bless you with joy for saying “Yes” to Him.

The worship of God and following His will was at the center of the relationship between Jesus and Mary. Every Sabbath they came to join the worship at the synagogue (the Church of their day) and every day they said prayers and remained close to God. So too, God must be at the center of every good marriage. You must come to Mass every Sunday and pray every day. Good husbands and wives share the same mission in life, to assist each other and their children in getting to Heaven.

From earth to Heaven, Jesus led Mary through life with love, and Mary faithfully followed Him. A good husband must have the integrity not to phone it in, but to lead, and a good wife must have the courage to follow that lead. Kristopher and KayLee, May the hearts of Jesus and Mary reign in your homes. May you model their virtues on earth. And may you draw each other, and your children, to share their heavenly joy forever.

Two Becoming One — The Ann and Larry Feltes Wedding

January 12, 2011

Has the institution of marriage now passed its time? More and more people are not getting married at all. Has the time for marriage passed? Is marriage good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled under foot? No. Marriage is not old-fashioned, it is from the beginning. Marriage is not customary, it is foundational. Marriage, the sacrament of marriage, is needed today more than ever. The world looks around and wonders… “Can promises really be kept for life? Is self-less love really sustainable?” Yes. By the power of this sacrament, which Larry and Ann will henceforth be able to call upon whenever they have need.

What is the source of this sacrament’s power? Jesus, on the night before He gave His life for us, took bread and wine and said, ‘This is my body and blood, this is my very self. I give myself to you, lay myself down for you, and offer you a covenant. I love you, I want to bless you, and I want us to be one.’ Finally, He said, “Do this in memory of me.” This is what husbands and wives do in the sacrament of marriage.

Sacraments make present the realities they signify. The sacrament of marriage is not merely like the love shared between Christ and His Church, the sacrament really makes this mystery present. In your marriage, you can draw upon the love of Christ for His bride and upon the love of the saints for the Bridegroom. Stay close to the Eucharist, continue to pray together every day (as you do now,) and you will embody this mystery clearly for all to see.

On this day, it is natural for us to think of Jim and Mary; and it is right that we do so, for no one puts bushel baskets over shinning lamps. Mary and Jim are irreplaceable, and we would not try to replace them. Today, Ann and Larry enter this sacrament so that they may continue to enjoy and be blessed by the great goods contained in marriage. There may be challenges in melding two families together, but God’s grace will level any bumps on the path, and help the two become one. Every year, Ann writes a Christmas letter to her grandchildren. This Christmas she told them that this year would be special because they would be getting “a bonus grandpa.” Today I feel that I am receiving a “bonus aunt.”

When I asked Ann what she liked about Larry she said, “He’s a good man.” Later, when I asked Larry what he liked about Ann he said (and I paraphrase,) “In summary, in preponderance of all the evidence, and in conclusion… she’s a good woman.” Larry and Ann, because your marriage will be built on this powerful sacrament, with a shared mission (focused on God, family and the work of love,) I trust that people will see your good marriage, and glorify our heavenly Father, for many happy years to come.

The Great Marriage — The Nick and Laurel White Wedding

October 9, 2010

In the Gospel we just heard Jesus say that “from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female,” and “for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Jesus is quoting here from Genesis, but something about these words has always struck me as a little strange. Why did Jesus and Genesis mention that ‘a man shall leave his father and mother to be joined to his wife?”

We tend to think of the bride as leaving her family to join her husband. Traditionally, as we saw today, her father walks her down the aisle to give her away, and the bride changes her name to match her husband’s. Perhaps it was put this way (“a man shall leave his father and mother”) because for the man must go out in pursuit of his bride. If a woman in a relationship found out that her man was leaving it to her to pursue him she would be very disappointed.

There is, I think, another important reason for the choice of these words: these words speak of Christ. Jesus left His eternal Father’s house in Heaven to become a man, and then He departed His perfect mother’s house to begin His ministry, all in pursuit of winning a bride, His bride the Church. Jesus is the man who left His father and His mother to be joined to his wife.

From the beginning of creation, God had made us male and female. So when the Lord sought to be perfectly united with us, Christ became a human being. Jesus became one flesh with our humanity, so that we could become one with His divinity. He came as a man because a man, like God, pursues his beloved. He comes to us as a man in love, not out of lust, not to dominate us or for His own selfish pleasure, but for a noble purpose. Jesus comes to propose to us and to enter into a marriage between Heaven and Earth, between God and man, between Himself and His bride, the Church.

Nick and Laurel, the sacrament you are about to enter, the sacrament of marriage, connects you to this union between Christ and the Church. Don’t try to rely on you own resources alone, but connect to the power of your sacrament. Nick, ask Jesus to let you share the love He has for His bride. Then, empowered by this love, you will lay down your life for your bride, and cherish her and bless her as long as you both shall live. Laurel, ask Mary and the saints, to let you share the love they have for the Bridegroom. Then, empowered by this love, you will rejoice in your husband, and honor him and follow him as long as you both shall live. Remember, this sacrament you are about to enter is not merely a symbol the of love between Christ and His bride. It makes that love truly present in you.

For an Extraordinary Marriage — Wedding of Andrew and Laura Foreki

March 3, 2010

I would like to begin this homily today by sharing with you the extraordinary story of how this boy, Andrew, met this girl, Laura. Picture Andrew, walking one morning across the University of Wisconsin campus in the deep cold of winter. He is on his way to Chadborn Hall where a prayer group is meeting for their twice-weekly 7:30 rosary. 

He walks into the room where the group is meeting and casts his eyes, for the very first time, upon a drowsy-eyed coed named Laura. And can you guess what Andrew said to himself when his eyes saw Laura for the very first time? That’s right. He said to himself, “Oh, I don’t know who that is.” This reaction, of course, is to be expected, since Andrew and Laura didn’t know each other prior to being introduced a few moments later.

Now Andrew’s first impression is not what makes this an extraordinary story. Did you notice what was the extra-ordinary part? Here it is: Here we have two college students, getting up, out of warm beds, on a cold day, to pray a rosary, at 7:30 in the morning! Now, you have to understand, in College Student Time, this is like getting up at 4:30 AM. Your typical college student doesn’t get up any earlier than he has to, but these two got up… to pray. For this and a thousand other reasons, I think you will all agree with me, that we have here two extra-ordinary people, from whom we good reason to expect an extraordinary marriage.

Do you two want to ensure you share an extraordinary marriage together? Then there are three things that I, as an ordained servant of Jesus Christ, believe that you should do.

First, like Tobit and his wife Sarah in our first reading, you should pray together. Of course you must pray individually. And of course you must pray with your children once they come. But you also need to pray together. It doesn’t need to be anything complicated.  Just hold each others’ hands a few moments before you part for work, or stand, or kneel, at your bedside, like Tobit and Sarah did, and speak aloud from your hearts to God. Ask blessings for each other, and give thanks for all the blessing you have received, and close you prayer by saying, “Amen, amen.”

Some couples find this kind of prayer too intimidating, or too personal, to be attempted; for our prayers express our most intimate selves, our fears, our hopes, our pains, our joys, our deepest longings. If you pray honestly in this way, nothing will be hidden between you. Today you will vow to give yourselves completely to each other. Do you want to be truly and totally one? Then pray together. Through marriage you will share of one flesh, if but pray together and you will also share of one spirit. Pray together and you will share an extraordinary marriage as one flesh with one soul. So please, pray together.

The second thing you should do for an extraordinary marriage is to come to Mass. Come to Mass every Sunday and every holy day of obligation. Come, and be moved by the beauty of architecture and songs. Come, and be strengthened by the experience of Christian fellowship. Come, and be inspired by the eloquence of Gospel preaching.

No doubt some people hear this and think to themselves, “That sounds great… But our church is ugly and the songs are dumb and hard to sing. And our community is little more than a gathering of strangers. And our priest always gives the same boring homilies.” Which all boils down to saying, I just don’t get anything out of going to Mass. Then hear this, even if everything else is lacking at Mass, Jesus Christ is always here for us, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist. At Mass, the one sacrifice of Calvary and the Last Supper are made truly present to us for us to receive their power.

At Mass Jesus Christ shows us the perfect spousal love that He calls each of us to imitate. Jesus never called himself “the bachelor.” No, He joyfully called himself “the bridegroom” and eagerly seeks to unite himself to His bride. On the cross, naked without shame, He consummates this union with her, giving himself freely, fully, fruitfully, and forever… freely, fully, fruitfully, and forever. Do you want your union with each other to be free, fully, fruitful, and forever? Then come to Mass to learn the pattern of how Christ loves us and draw from the power He offers us through communion with Him. His is the pattern and the power for an extraordinary marriage. So please, come to Mass.

The third and final thing you should do for an extraordinary marriage is to be salt and light in the world. What does this mean? Being salt and light means that your Christianity should show. As Jesus says, “Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”

Your good deeds should stand out in the world. As St. Paul says in the second reading, “Do not conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” If the world never judges you to be radical in any aspect of your Christian life, then you’re not doing it right. Then you’re not yet living as salt and light–you’re not yet living like the saints. For example, everyone loves their friends, but who loves their enemies and prayers for them? Most people pray, but who spends a long time to be with God every day. Many people can give when times are prosperous, but who gives generously when times are tight? Such things as this are what it means to be the light and the salt of the world. Light is different than the darkness, and salt makes the ordinary flavorful.

Clearly, you two are salt and light already, for who goes on weekend retreats to know God better? Or who drives to Washington D.C. to march for life? Or who goes down to Louisiana to volunteer for Hurricane relief? Or who get up at 7:30 in the morning to pray the Rosary? So, please keep on being salt and light, and your marriage will be extraordinary.

Years from now, I don’t expect that you will remember much from this homily, but I hope you remember these three things: Pray together, come to Mass, and be salt and light and you will have an extraordinary marriage.

[Preached as a deacon for my sister’s wedding,  November 22, 2008]