Same-Sex Marriage and the Wedding at Cana
A Homily on Defending God's Plan for Matrimony
HYANNIS, Massachusetts, JAN. 25, 2004 (Zenit) - To put the debate over same-sex "marriage" in pastoral perspective, Catholic Online is publishing a long excerpt from a homily delivered Jan. 18, the Second Sunday in Ordinary time, by Father Roger Landry of the Fall River Diocese.
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Doing What Christ Tells Us About Marriage
By Father Roger Landry
Today we are present at the most famous wedding of all time ... one in which we do not even know the names of the bride and groom.
It's the one that took place in Cana in Galilee, and it's the most famous wedding because Jesus Christ was there --and what happened at that wedding has been remembered by Christians ever since.
The liturgical remembrance of the wedding of Cana causes us to remember what Christ has done for marriage. God created this institution in the beginning as one of the greatest blessings a human being could share, and like everything in creation, God pronounced it good.
But Christ did something more during his earthly life. He took this institution, good and created by him from the beginning, and raised it to the dignity of a sacrament, something that would also confer his own life, and bring us closer to him, closer to happiness, closer to holiness, closer to heaven.
Through the sacrament of marriage, which Christians can receive, Christ remains with the couple just as assuredly as he was with the couple in Cana. Marriage is part of God's plan for creation and part of God's plan for our salvation and we must treasure marriage and defend it whenever it comes under attack.
We are now in the midst of a heated debate about what marriage is. For God, it is very clear what marriage is. When Christ was asked by a lawyer about whether divorce was possible, Jesus gave a clear teaching about the real meaning of marriage that is as relevant to the debate about whether homosexuals can marry as it was to the subject of divorce-and-remarriage.
If Jesus were to testify up on Beacon Hill before our legislators about the meaning of marriage, I think he could use the very same words that he used in St. Matthew's Gospel. Listen to him with fresh ears: "Have you not read that in the beginning God 'made them male and female,' and said, 'for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."
In this teaching of Jesus -- who is the Truth incarnate, who is our Creator and knows how and for what the human person is made, who loved all of us enough to die out of love for us -- we see four things that are relevant to our debate:
a) "In the beginning, God made them male and female." There is great meaning to our masculinity and femininity in God's plan. God didn't clone Adam, but made Eve, who was equal to him in dignity, but complementary.
b) "For this reason a man shall leave his mother and father and cling to his wife." God's plan is not that a man leave his parents and cling to whomever he wants, but to cling to a wife.
c) "The two shall become one flesh." This refers more than merely to their sharing a bed together and temporarily joining their bodies physically in the act of making love, because that act is just temporary. God wanted from the beginning a more permanent union, "so they are no longer two, but one flesh." The way this occurs is in a child, who is the perduring union of the flesh and the man and the woman and blessed by God with the infusion of an immortal soul. This one-flesh union in children "made in love" is for Christ, our Creator and Savior, part of the essence of marriage.
d) "What God has joined together, man must not divide." This refers not just to a particular couple joined by God in marriage, but to the union planned by the Creator for a man and a woman in marriage. To try to divide man and woman in the institution of marriage by opening marriage up to two men or two women is clearly contrary to God's plan for marriage and for man and woman.
God created marriage in a particular way from the beginning for our own happiness as well as for our salvation, to teach us how to love according to the nature he gave us. But he also had something else in mind in creating marriage the way he did.
He wanted to use marriage as an analogy to communicate his own love for us his people. We see this in the first reading from Isaiah: "As a young man marries a young woman, so shall your builder marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you."
God's love for us is likened to a husband's love for his new bride. When Jesus came, he took this image of ...
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