Why Get Married in Church Advent Homily
Dec 11, 2018
"Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on the splendor of glory from God forever:"
One of the sadder trends of our times is that fewer and fewer couples are opting to have their wedding ceremonies in a Church. Which makes me wonder…if they truly understood the magnificence and significance of getting Married in a Church…they might literally be beating down those Church doors to have it there.
The truth is…young or old…male or female, we are quite impressed with a no expense spared Wedding Ceremony.
The recent Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle case in point.
Almost 30 million people the world over watched that wedding…in a Church…where watching with them, because it was in a Church, so many Angels and Saints multiplied by the billions oohing and ahhing with the best of them.
Married in spectacular Saint George’s Cathedral in Windsor Castle, now imagine if they opted for a Venue Wedding…so much of the proper pomp and circumstance and awesome symbolism and significance of the wedding would have been lost…it is not just about them…it is about us…we are given a glimpse, a glorious one, of OUR DIGNITY.
That Royal Wedding…reminded us in stunning fashion not only of the hope that fairy tales do come true but there is such thing as happily ever as in forever after…this is the story of Christmas and the lesson that is meant to be conveyed by the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
What do Christmas decorations do…what is their purpose…what a wonderful thing it is to drive around at night seeing all those dazzling light displays…the decorations and lights are meant to draw more attention to the significance of the event celebrated.
I cannot imagine anything in this world which represents more putting on the splendor of God’s Glory than a wedding gown. This jaw dropping dress should remind us of the Incarnation…the robe of misery and mourning, is the filth caused by sin…can you imagine Meghan Markle walking down the aisle in a muddy sweat shirt and pants…the occasion demands a proper dress which accentuates the beauty of the event…the clothes are more than a fashion statement…it is a person statement…this is a ROYAL WEDDING that demands proper dress…puttin on the ritz so to speak…as in the Incarnation, we put on the Christ…our renewed human nature bridal gowned and robed in the splendor of God’s immaculate beauty.
All the Sacraments have Jesus Christ in COMMON…in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony what is being highlighted about Jesus Christ is His relationship to HIS BRIDE the Church…there is no greater respect paid to the royal dignity of a woman than this reference: a Bride who stands before a Church Altar reminds us that there is no one who is the focus more of God’s love than a woman…if that were not the case than why is it that today we celebrate the absolute highest honor God has ever paid to another human being…a woman…that of the Immaculate Conception?
The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Fullness of Grace…and grace is the beauty, life and love of God…fullness as in without limit…therefore, just as Jesus Christ is the Incarnation of God in human form…Woman is the Incarnation of God’s beauty in human form…and this is what all women have in common with Mary whose feminine nature and dignity they share in common with her.
Mary’s womb in fact is referred to as a bridal chamber where humanity at last throws off that robe of mourning and misery and wraps itself in the glory of God’s divinity…like the Christmas Hymn O Holy Night reminds us:
O holy night the stars are brightly shining It is the night of our dear Savior's birth Long lay the world in sin and error pining Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth
The soul felt its worth….we were not created for ugliness and misery but for love, light, joy and beauty…and nowhere is the worth of the soul…its glorious beauty more seen than in a Bride. Jesus Christ is human because of a woman…all his human characteristics are from that one source and one source only…that of a woman…in the face and person of Jesus Christ, the beauty of woman is magnified now by infinity…incredible.
Again, the occasion…no, the person demands a venue that is more in keeping with the dignity she has and who she represents…
Whether Saint George Cathedral or our wonderfully beautiful Church…the mind set is not so much what an incredibly beautiful Church this is…but what the Church represents by way of accentuating the more beautiful reality of the Bride getting married…
as awesome as brick, stone, paint and stained glass may be…they are merely the decorations highlighting the importance of who they represent.
As magnificent as the Jewish Temple may have been Jesus made the point destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up again…referring to Himself…later Saint Paul will say of us…do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit…glorify God in your bodies…again nowhere is that glory, splendor and beauty more evident than during a Church Wedding…all eyes in Heaven and Earth are drawn to the magnificence of the Bride…Her flesh and bone, heart and soul eclipse the beauty of the grandest religious structures in all the world…because no Temple is more Sacred than Woman with whom God shares His greatest power and demonstration of love…creating new life…
I Did a funeral some months back…and the daughter shared with me, that her mom requested that she be buried in her wedding gown…initially I was like…that’s a first…but when I thought more about it…there is nothing more appropriate than that
The last book of Scripture is called the Apocalypse…which means the lifting of the veil indicating that moment when at the end of the world…there will not be doom gloom and darkness…the complete opposite…what is described as the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.
Listen to this incredibly beautiful description which echoes the words we heard today and draws further attention to God’ s Masterpiece of beauty the woman, and why as a bride the most appropriate place for her to be married is in a Church…From one of the concluding chapters of the Book of the Apocalypse:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away.* 2I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem,* coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.b 3
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.c He will dwell with them and they will be his people* and God himself will always be with them [as their God].* 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, [for] the old order has passed away.”d
5The one who sat on the throne* said, “Behold, I make all things new.”
Never was a woman more prepared, more ready and more representative of God’s vision of Heaven for us than that woman who crossing over the threshold of death…took the hand of her husband once again who led her into no more till death do us part but happily forever after…
When the Bride walks down the aisle it represents more than just a walk-way to her Bridegroom…when they join hands and the veil is lifted and he beholds His Heaven in human form…where is it they next go? Into the sanctuary which is typically reserved for the Priest celebrating Mass…but now they occupy this sacred space and rightly so…one of the great traditions of newly married couple is when the Bridegroom carries His beloved Bride over the threshold…indicating the new life they have embarked upon…crossing from the aisle over the threshold into the sanctuary where Mass is to take place…where ordinary bread and wine will become the body and blood of Jesus Christ in Holy Communion…in Holy Matrimony in the communion of their two bodies and hearts into one…they have crossed over into the Heaven their relationship represents…which is that of Jesus Christ with His Bride the Church…as Scripture says:
For this reason a man shall leave [his] father and [his] mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.”x
32This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and His Bride the church.y
Never were words spoken with more truth then when a daughter, having lost her parents described their marriage as a marriage made in Heaven…and this is precisely the message that Christmas and Church Weddings are meant to convey about all of us.