Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Revisiting our wedding mass

Rob and I were married during the Easter Season of the Catholic Church - the time period immediately following Easter Sunday and Holy Week. It is a time of rejoicing in the church - we have been washed of our sins by the sacrifice of Jesus's death on the Cross.

For us, it meant we had great opportunities to select our readings. One of the important things for us was to have reading the were "us" and spoke of our commitment to each other.

Being Catholic, our choices were limited, but it didn't mean that our choices were any less rich.

Our first reading was from Sirach 26:1-4, 13-16. The irony of this reading is that it talks about a "clean home" which is what I strive for but often find it lacking. This was my reading selection

For our Psalm, we wanted something that was used in regular masses. As it is a traditional Lenten/Easter Psalm, Rob and I have been hearing a lot of it lately which makes me smile at him. Our selection was based on Psalm 42:3, 5; 43:3, 4. This most definitely isn't a typical selection for a wedding but because it was Easter, it was acceptable.

Rob selected our last reading from the Old Testament. In college, he had taken a class on Revelations and wanted to use that reading selection. It was Revelations 19:1, 5-9.

Finally, our Gospel reading probably took us the longest. We wanted something that spoke of us as a couple and some of the struggles we had faced. We picked this passage:

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 17:20-26

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:
“I pray not only for my disciples,
but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
so that they may all be one,
as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that they also may be in us,
that the world may believe that you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me,
so that they may be one, as we are one,
I in them and you in me,
that they may be brought to perfection as one,
that the world may know that you sent me,
and that you loved them even as you loved me.
Father, they are your gift to me.
I wish that where I am they also may be with me,
that they may see my glory that you gave me,
because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,
but I know you, and they know that you sent me.
I made known to them your name and I will make it known,
that the love with which you loved me
may be in them and I in them.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Commentary

Just before Jesus enters into his passion and death, he prays this prayer for love and unity. He looks up into heaven and desires that the glory of heaven will be made known on earth. His prayer draws upon the profound unity of the Trinity, where God the Father perfectly and fully loves God the Son and they dwell in each other’s love.

The Trinity has at times, been described in our tradition this way: The three persons of the Godhead are like a Lover, the Beloved, and the Love between them – corresponding to God the Father, who loves God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit who is the love shared between them. The seamless unity of the Father and Son (the Lover and the Beloved), is a metaphor for the unity that is desired through a sacramental marriage.

As Jesus mystically envisions heavenly glory, he desires that all in his flock are to share heaven with him. Married couples embark on a journey that is to culminate in heaven. They walk alongside each another in their earthly lives, and an indispensable part of life include a spiritual life and an eternal dimension.

This passage might be favored by couples who desire an intense bond, including a strong spiritual unity that can only come from relying upon the Holy Spirit in their relationship. Also, those who have struggled to reconcile differences between themselves, their families, or within their community of faith, might find this a useful passage. Jesus desires the same unity for them, the fullness of which will not be realized until eternity breaks through.

Unless the homilist is drawing from the phrase, “before the foundation of the world” little will be lost using the shorter form (below). It retains the Trinitarian image of unity, and preserves the vision that the community of believers is to be perfectly one.


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