The Valor of Love

Homily delivered in the Sacrament of Matrimony of Mrs. and Mrs. Gary and Irish Jabone
April 9, 2016
Our Lady of the Rule Parish Church

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April 9 is a red-letter day in the country for we commemorate the Fall of Bataan. Most of our forebears endured fatigue, hunger and tortured. Many offered their lives in the name of freedom.

This is a sad segment in the history of our nation. But we commemorate it just the same to remind ourselves of the courage and willingness of our Filipino forebears to sacrifice themselves to the point of death for the love of the country.

We rightly call it “Day of Valor.”

Our liturgy today, April 9, which celebrates the union of Irish and Gary equates valor or courage with love.

Come to think of it, despite the surging statistics of broken marriages, these two individuals in front of us, are courageous enough to exchange “I do’s,” to profess their love with each other, to celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony.

This Sacrament of Matrimony we celebrate at this very moment is the oldest human institution, and no less than God Himself instituted this Sacrament. We heard about this account in the first reading.

God wanted to have a suitable partner for man. And so, He created wild animals and birds to become a companion to the first human person.  Only to be frustrated when God realized that no one among these appears suitable for him.

But when God brought near the woman He fashioned from the ribs of the man, the man exclaims “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”

The reading concludes with a line I am sure that we are all familiar with: That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.

Irish and Gary, you have waited eight long years for this moment. And in just some minutes, your wait is over.  God will unite you.  And after this, you will not just be anymore two individuals. Once united, you will become one. Forever.

Last week, I had my silent retreat. Attending the daily Masses with the lay faithful in the chapel of the retreat house, one ageing couple caught my attention. They must have been  in their 70s. Both of they needed to be supported just to reach the chapel. They could barely walk, but just the same, together, they attended the daily Mass. The man continued his gentlemanly ways in securing his wife, in reaching for her things, in taking time to check whether she was feeling okay. That was a lovely sight, I told myself.

And for some few minutes, I entertained the thought of having a wife of my own. But I quickly banished the thought when I remembered that my ordination is already slated next month.

Irish and Gary, my point is this. Their bodies were evidently deteriorating. They must have been fed up with each other after being together for so many years. And yet, they have remained to be one. We heard it in the opening prayer–the bond of marriage is a holy mystery, which is a symbol of Christ’s love for His Church. Your marriage, as in all sacrament of marriage becomes a beautiful sign of the union of the Church and of Christ.

In the second reading, we heard one of the most beautiful and oft-quoted letters of St. Paul. In this letter, he helps us to grasp what love is–what real love is.

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

Irish and Gary, I ask you to remember these words. Please meditate on them. Let them accompany you. Allow them to haunt you. Make them your prayer in the coming days as you relish every single day of your honeymoon period.

And especially when the honeymoon period is over. When the love seems to be not as hot as it used to be. When the love tastes not as sweet as it used to be.

And if moments like this come, what to do?

It is in this regard that we turn to the Gospel for the answer. We heard Jesus telling us to remain. Irish, Gary: Remain in love. You can only do this if you are firmly connected to the Source of love Himself.

Let me offer an analogy. A cellphone is easily discharged if it is always in use. In order to continue using it, we need to be connected with a power source.

This is where the wisdom of Jesus lies: we need to be firmly connected with the Father. Relying on our patience, on our kindness, on our love, on our commitment alone but without God is risky. For we surely have a limited supply of these. They are bound to run out. God, on the other hand, has an abundance!

Relying on our patience, on our kindness, on our love, on our commitment alone but without God is risky. For we surely have a limited supply of these. They are bound to run out. God, on the other hand, has an abundance!

Let your life as a couple mirror the loving union between Jesus and His bride, the Church.  May your life become a beautiful visual aid for others so that they may be convinced that in this time where hatred and jealousy appear to rule, true love still exists after all.

On the eve of your wedding, Pope Francis released his letter, The Joy of Love, which reflects on the love of the family. I wish to share some of his thoughts, which I feel, will be of help to you Irish and Gary as you trace you initial steps as a married couple onward to starting your own family–and for all of us here who have our own families as well.

And I will end with this.

In family life, let us “cultivate that strength of love which can help us fight every evil threatening it … The Christian ideal, especially in families, is a love that never gives up” (AL, 119).

April 9 is the Day of Valor. And with the union of Irish and Gary, this day can also be rightly called a Day of Love.

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