Published October 17, 2013
JOHNS CREEK—Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory celebrated the 2013 wedding jubilee Mass on Oct. 5 at St. Brigid Church, Johns Creek. Following is the text of his homily.
In our contemporary world of the smart phone and the tablet, those annoying pop-up notices may appear several times during the course of a single week: “Updates Available.” For many of our jubilarians that notice means they will have to call their 15-year-old grandson to come over again to assist them with downloading these newest updates—unless of course that little rascal has managed to train his grandparents on how to perform this procedure all on their own. This world of constant technological improvements is not limited however to our phones and computers. We have all grown accustomed to the short-lived life expectancy of appliances of all types. Many things simply don’t last as long as they once did or were supposed to have lasted—and the list of those things grows longer each month.
We live in a dispose, modernize, improve, enhance everything-kind-of world. Today’s celebration is all about something that stands in stark contrast to the tempo of that world. We honor and applaud those couples who have made commitment, fidelity, endurance and stability the virtues that we once all admired. We need to highlight our jubilarians today because they are living reminders for the entire Church and for our secular society that human relationships are never old-fashioned or obsolete. The only Updates that our jubilarians have consistently downloaded over the years were those that reminded them of the promises that they made to each other 50 or 60 years ago—in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, I will love you and honor you all the days of my life! Today their children and grandchildren, neighbors and friends rejoice with them and loudly proclaim—so far, so good!
Our jubilarians are our living examples of the best vintage of love that has only grown better with each year of their promises. They have aged and matured like a fine wine over time. While the headwaiter in today’s Gospel was surprised that the bridegroom had reserved the best wine until later, nonetheless our jubilarians would certainly disclose that their love has grown and deepened because of the many trials and challenges that they have faced together in Christ. Truly great love like fine wine takes time to mellow and to develop those qualities that places it apart from those mediocre vintages.
Our jubilarians have weathered the early years of raising a family, enduring multiple job relocation events, facing serious illnesses, overcoming various disagreements, and managing to establish a household. These difficulties have strengthened them and allowed them to develop those virtues that can only come with time and life experiences. I dare say that the Mother of Jesus has also spoken to Her Son repeatedly on their behalf in order to provide the graces that helped them to conquer even the most difficult moments in their lives.
The Sacrament of Marriage is always intended to be a feast of unselfish love, and thus did Jesus begin His ministry at the Wedding of Cana where He and His Mother mingled with the other guests. They obviously must have known the couple and no doubt shared in the joy of the moment. However, their presence was intended to be more than a mere social gathering. They were present to begin Jesus’ mission of salvation that started at a festive event where circumstances brought a young couple to the verge of embarrassment.
However, marriage is infinitely much more than a solitary wedding day celebration; it must always outlast the best-planned reception, the incredible dances, the exquisite banquet, the stunning invitations, and the numerous well wishes. The sacrament of marriage takes place in that first home; it outlasts the first arguments and disagreements; it is stronger than the tears and far more precious than the reconciliations that follow those tears. Marriage is rewarded in the new lives that fill a home with laughter and confusion, with pride and sometimes even worry. We honor those marriages today in the lives of these wonderful jubilarian couples.
Jesus chose to reveal the first Sign of His mission by changing water into wine in the village of Cana, and His disciples believed in Him because of the power of this Sign. Thanks to all of our anniversary couples for being the signs of His continuing ministry and presence in our world today. You update our faith because of your fidelity and love for Jesus and all of us each day.