Message: Let's ask the Lord to help us be the one who returns to give thanks.
When I came to St. Mary of the Valley in 2009 I inherited a lovely custom - the monthly blessing of those with anniversaries of matrimony. Since this is the weekend for those blessings I would like to say something about the new Order for Celebrating Matrimony. (show book) I have had three opportunities to use it since it came into effect on September 8. It has more accurate translations like we have in the revised Missal. The new Order for Celebrating Matrimony also has prayers for couples who choose to have coins, wedding garland (lazo) and veil - in addition to rings.
The new ritual has motivated me to set two goals. By September 2017 I hope to celebrate 25 marriages. I have already celebrated 3 so I will have to average two per month.
My second goal comes from the fact that the new Order not only has a matrimony ritual but a Blessing for Engaged Couples. I'd like to bless 25 engaged couples, not by September, but by the beginning of Lent.
That's five months so I am going need your help. Maybe you have a family member - a nephew or grandson - who should propose to his girl friend. They don't need to be members of St. Mary of the Valley and they don't have to plan on getting married here. All they need is a date and I will give them the special Blessing for an Engaged Couple. It's quite beautiful and will be a great help to the couple looking toward matrimony.
Today's Gospel has the key to taking that step: gratitude! It's not easy. Only one in ten returned to thank Jesus. Gratitude takes effort but it brings wonderful results.
I try to talk to young guys about this: Look, God has given you a beautiful girl. Thank God for her! She could give you wonderful children. What are you waiting for? You'll have a great reason to get up early and work hard. As we have been talking about in this homily series: boots laced!
Besides guys with a girl friend, I know other guys are looking for the right girl. Well, the Bible has something helpful. Nothing against the girl that look like a fashion model, but the Bible speaks about the "Hebrew woman." And how does the Bible describe her? One word: Robust! (Ex 1:19) It means "vigorous." Robust! If you want a great wife look for a Hebrew woman!
Gratitude is the key. I think of G.K. Chesterton. He's one of the people featured in the Pivotal Players videos we are showing. Chesterton approached life with an extraordinary spirit of gratitude. He was grateful for things most take for granted. Once he said, "If my children wake up on Christmas morning and have someone to thank for putting candy in their stocking, have I no one to thank for putting two feet in mine?"
We see that playful gratitude in a statement he made about marriage. "Keeping to one woman is a small price for so much as seeing one woman."* He married a lovely girl named Frances Blogg. In spite of his genius - or maybe because of it - he became deeply dependent on her. Her organization enabled him to live in the moment and sometimes lose track of his schedule. In one famous anecdote, he wired his wife, saying, "Am at Market Harborough. Where ought I to be?"
Humility, good humor and gratitude. These virtues can help a young person discover God's plan - in most cases the sacrament of matrimony and the formation of a family. Humility, good humor and gratitude are essential to get one's boots laced.
Next week we will see some little people who lived these virtues. I'll give a clue - they are about three feet high. That's for next week.
For today let's ask the Lord to help us be the one who returns to give thanks. "Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands: break into song; sing praise. Amen.
*Fuller quote: "Keeping to one woman is a small price for so much as seeing one woman. To complain that I could only be married once was like complaining that I could only be born once. It was incommensurate with the terrible excitement of which one was talking. It showed, not an exaggerated sensibility to sex, but a curious insensibility to it. A man is a fool who complains that he cannot enter Eden by five gates at once. Polygamy is a lack of the realization of sex; it is like a man plucking five pears in mere absence of mind."
From Archives (Homilies for Twenty-Eighth Sunday, Year C):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Bishop Bob Barron's Homilies
Fr. Brad's Homilies
Fr. Jim's Homilies
Fr. Michael White's Homilies ("messages")
Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru
Pope in Georgia blasts gender theory as the 'great enemy' of marriage
Review of Roe
KRA's & SMART Goals (updated October 1, 2016)