It Always Ends Up in Church
Homily for the Nuptial Mass uniting Melissa Agnes Medroso to Hao Phuoc Doan
Preached on May 31, 2008 at Saint Mildred Catholic Church, Somerset KY
Readings: Genesis 2:18-24; Psalm 145: 8-9, 10, 15, 17-18; 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:8a, Matthew 19: 3-6.
There is an old Filipino saying that goes: Pagkahabahaba man ng prusisyon, sa Simbahan rin ang tuloy. However long the procession may go, it always ends up in Church.
Well, yesterday at the rehearsal, some of us who were not from Somerset got a little lost and made our own little ‘processions’ around this charming Southern town. We faced one-way streets and dealt with directions and GPS commands that did not make sense. Others even had their own police escort on their way here. But, however lost we got, we all ended up here in Church, albeit that some arrived later than others.
However long the procession may go, it always ends up in Church.
Hao and Missy, the two of you have had your own journeys as well. You have proceeded through life and have found yourselves in very different places at very different times. Hao went from Saigon to Ohio. Missy went from Somerset to Louisville to California to Cincinnati. Along the way, you have picked up friends that are now here as your other brothers and sisters for life. Then, as you walked on these journeys, your paths met and you began to walk together and that walking together has led you to this day in this sacred place. However long the journey went, it has brought you here in Church.
It is very important that you remember this, that you understand why you are here of all places, before me of all people, a minister of the Church, in the company of your family and friends, in this house of God. You are here because the Lord has led you here, because God who is Love put the spark of love that now burns in your hearts, a love that He will keep burning in your hearts for years to come. This is exactly what our readings from Sacred Scriptures remind you today: that the Lord our God has a purpose to all this, that this is part of His wise and loving design, that He has meant for you to be together now and for the rest of your lives as husband and wife. The Lord God has brought the two of you together. He will bind the two of you two together. He will keep you together for the rest of your lives.
Remember this, Hao, when you look at your wife now and for years to come because, just as the first husband, Adam, said of the first wife, Eve, “this one, at last is bone of [your] bones and flesh of [your] flesh” (Gen 2:23). Remember this, Missy, when you look at your husband now and for years to come and entrust to him your love and your life, your heart and your home. Remember St. Paul’s words, that “[love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor 13:7).
But, we all know that it is not always smiles and laughter, and that is why it is also important to understand what you are promising to one another: that you will be true to each other whether the times are good or the times are bad, whether you are healthy or you are sick, whether you are rich or you are poor, whether you are in your best or you are in your worst. When you proceed out of this Church to begin your married life, you will face many different roads in your journey. You will face roadblocks where only forgiveness and understanding will open up the way. There will be dead-ends and roundabouts. And just when you think that you are getting better at this thing called marriage, you will find yourselves making a complete u-turn. When that happens, do not give up. Walk on together. The storms will come and go but keep on walking together. This is the important word today and for the rest of your lives: together. You will be bound together. You will live together. You will rejoice together. You will overcome together. You will proceed together for what “God has joined together, no one can tear asunder” (Mt 19:6).
Hao and Missy, just a while ago, you processed separately down the aisle. But here you are now, together, in God’s Church. In a few moments, the Lord God will bless your union. The Lord God will sanctify your union. The Lord God will consecrate your union and you will “no longer [be] two but one flesh” (Mt 19:6). How fitting it is then that you are here before God’s altar where we will celebrate the Eucharist, where the Lord God will bless the bread and wine, the Lord God will sanctify the bread and wine, the Lord God will consecrate the bread and wine, and they will no longer be mere bread and mere wine, but rather the one Body and Blood of Christ. Here, before God’s altar, you will celebrate your holy union. Here, before God’s altar both of you will receive Holy Communion. Thus, shall your journey come to this point and proceed from this point, with God’s guidance, with God’s help, with God’s grace.
Pagkahabahaba man ng prusisyon—however long the procession may go–sa Simbahan rin ang tuloy—it always ends up in Church. God has brought you here, Missy and Hao. When you are ready, we can ask Him to lead you from here to a life together, and we hope and we pray that He may bring you together into the joys of His Kingdom.