Match Made in Heaven
Homily for the Nuptial Mass uniting April Lynn Broadus to Patrick Fitzsimmons Sword
Preached on August 2, 2008 at Mary, Queen of the Holy Rosary Church, Lexington KY
Readings: Genesis 2:18-24; Psalm 103:1-2, 8, 13, 17-18a; Colossians 3:12-17; John 15:9-12
Some of us here today know that this is a ‘match made in Bunco.’ But, do not get too excited now; I am just giving credit here where credit is due. Apparently, the idea of pairing up Patrick and April came from a group of Bunco enthusiasts who gather every so often to roll the dice in the Lexington suburbs. And so, I am told, that one of their first dates, if not their very first date, was at the annual Couple’s Night for this Bunco group. The rest, as they say, was history.
Bunco, as that group will tell you, is a game of chance. But, this ‘match made in Bunco’ has never been about chance or the run of luck. It is no accident that Patrick met April again years after graduating from Mary Queen School, that being together has made both of them happier than they have ever been in their lives, that they are now here to declare before God and His people their commitment to live as husband and wife from this day forward. While indeed this is a ‘match made in Bunco,’ it is first a match made in Heaven. But, I am just giving credit here where credit is due.
Patrick and April, this marriage did not just come about by a stroke of your luck; it is part of God’s plan for your happiness on this earth. This is what the story of the creation of woman from the Book of Genesis reminds all of us today. From the dawn of time, the Lord God had intended for the man to have the woman as his suitable partner. In fact, the Lord God created woman for man, and man for woman. And just as the first husband had said of the first wife, so should you, Patrick, say of your bride, April: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Gen. 2:23). This is the one who, thank God, will complement you, annoy you to no end, stand by you through thick and thin, at times boss you around the house or on the basketball court, care for you when you are sick, love you, complete you.
Here you are—the two of you who have left your fathers and your mothers—brought here by God to become one body (Gen 2:24). You have come here to God’s Church to stand before me, His priest, and this crowd, His people, and to acknowledge that indeed it is God who has brought the two of you together and it is God who will bind you as one for the rest of your days. You have come here to hear of God’s plan, indeed His commandment, for your marriage: “love one another as I love you” (Jn. 15:12).
Patrick and April, this is what it means for your marriage to be a sacrament: that you fulfill God’s plan for your lives, that you follow His commandment to love each other as He loves you. All of us live beneath the shadow of His love, the love that He manifested so tangibly and so graphically on the cross. See there on that cross the love of the God who never held anything back. Neither pain nor death, neither horror nor humiliation could stop Christ from proving to us the length and depth of His love. That cross is God’s “I love you” to the world. That is how God loves us and that is how all of us as followers of Christ are called to love one another. That too is the kind of love that He calls you as husband and wife to give to each other in this marriage: a selfless love, a self-giving love, a love that does not hold anything back.
This is a tall order, I know. But, as our Lord Jesus Christ said in the Gospel that you yourselves chose to be read for this Nuptial Mass: “I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete” (Jn. 15:11). Embrace the fact that your love is a sacrament of God’s love and God’s plan for your happiness will be fulfilled. Because if you love without ever holding anything back, then you will find that neither the better nor the worse, neither riches nor poverty, neither sickness nor health can separate you from each other. None of those odds will tear asunder what God has joined together (cf. Mt. 19:6).
Patrick and April, we know that you are a ‘match made in Bunco.’ But, we also know that this marriage is a match made in Heaven. Today and for the rest of your lives, this marriage will be a match bound by Heaven. Bet your lives in Christ and remain in His love (Jn. 15:9) and this marriage will be a match destined for Heaven.