A Sacrament of the Commandment to Love
Homily for the Nuptial Mass uniting Ianne Avillon Galang to Segundo Tecson Chavis, Jr.
Preached on November 7, 2010 at Saint Monica Catholic Church, Converse TX
Readings: Tobit 8:4b-8; Psalm 34:2-9; 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:8a; Matthew 22:35-40
Both of them had lived in Angeles City, but they never met there. Instead, they met at a birthday party right here in San Antonio. It was at that party that Jun first heard Ianne’s resounding laugh; it was there that Ianne first encountered Jun’s sense of humor. Neither one of them could have predicted that they would be married before a judge within three months, or that they would be exchanging their vows in this Church nine years later.
These things remind us that our lives do not always follow a linear trajectory. None of us would have known that Jun and Ianne would meet and fall in love halfway around the globe; none but God whose plan it was from the beginning. We have come to know that God’s plan does not quite make any sense along the way, yet we are assured that it is a loving plan of salvation. According to this plan, the Lord blesses us with His many graces, and the singular grace we need to give life to our existence is love. So Saint Paul reminds us through his letter to the Corinthians that the gifts of tongues, prophecy, faith, and material things do not amount to a whole lot without love (1 Cor. 13:1-3). Without love, he tells us, we are nothing (1 Cor. 13:2). Life is about love from start to finish: “love is our origin, love is our constant calling, love is our fulfillment in Heaven” (cf. Preface 3 for Marriage). Love is our beginning, our present, and our future. Even the greatest commandments urge us not just to believe and trust and hope, but more so to love God and our neighbor (Mt. 22:37-39). To love the greatest Someone and to love somebody give meaning to our lives.
This is the gift of married love that God gives you, Jun and Ianne. Now that you sit right next to each other, you realize that your past has prepared you for this, that the present all makes sense, and that the future is something that you could look forward to. Now that you have each other, you can “bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things” (1 Cor. 13:7) because you know that it is all worth it. Now that you belong to each other as husband and wife, you are given a sacrament, a way to fulfill the greatest commandments. You see, in the same way that you, Jun and Ianne, are married to each other, so are the love of God and the love of neighbor united; neither those two commandments to love nor your marriage can be torn asunder. This is what it means for marriage to be a sacrament of the commandment to love: the love for our God whom we do not see is manifested in the love of our neighbor whom we do see (cf. 1 Jn. 2:20-21), and you will find no neighbor closer to you in this life than your spouse. And in this marriage, let it also be said that the love of God whom you do not see is experienced by you through the love for your spouse whom you do see. Jun and Ianne, love each other as Christ has loved us (cf. Jn. 13:34), and then you will know that just as Holy Communion gives us a taste of Heaven here on earth (cf. Ps. 34:9) so will your holy union give you a glimpse of the face of God.