Wednesday, May 01, 2013

 
Wedding Mass of Raymond & Grace
Melting, Moulding & The Matrimonial Bond

Readings: Genesis 1:26-28, 31; Lk 1:46-55; Ephesians 4:1-6; Jn 2:1-11
Picture: cc Boudewijn Berends

Raymond and Grace, dear friends, imagine for a moment that, for some reason, you want to join two metal pieces together? What would you do? Well, one thing you could do is to apply some kind of adhesive between the two pieces. You could use Super Glue, for example. Or maybe something even stronger. Once applied, the adhesive holds the two pieces together. But this kind of bond depends for its strength only on the substance–the glue–that has been applied externally. The metal pieces themselves remain unchanged. Which is why such a technique is really only quite temporary, isn’t it? For a much more lasting, far stronger bonding, to take place, a different method is needed. The two metal pieces have to be welded together.

And we know what welding requires. We know why it produces a far stronger bond. Welding involves the application, not so much of an external adhesive, but of intense heat. The kind you get from the flame of a blowtorch, for example. The heat melts the edges of the metal pieces. And when they are pressed together, their boundaries are blurred. So that what was at first separate comes to be united. What was at first two becomes joined into one. And not just joined externally, by the application of some super adhesive. But joined from within, by the melting and moulding brought on by fire.

Melting and moulding brought on by fire. This is what needs to happen when you want to join two pieces of metal permanently. But not just metal. Something like this also needs to happen when what is to be joined are two human persons. And this, my dear friends, as you know, is really what we are gathered here today to pray for and to witness. The joining together of two human hearts. The bonding of two separate lives. In the words of the prayer that we recited earlier, we are asking and wishing that Raymond and Grace may be joined together in a bond of inseparable love. That they may be united in a covenant of Marriage.

And the scripture readings that Raymond and Grace have chosen for us today help us to deepen our understanding of what this kind of bonding requires. The first reading takes us back to the first chapter of the first book of the Bible. Back to the very beginnings of creation. Reminding us that the marriage bond we are celebrating here today has its origins, not in human initiative alone, but in God. For we’re told that God created us in the image of himself. In the image of God he created him, male and female he created them. And those of us who are familiar with the creation story in the Bible will know that it goes on to tell us how this unity between male and female comes about. As you may recall, in the second chapter of the book of Genesis, we’re told that, having made man fall into a deep sleep, God took a rib out of man and fashioned woman. Which is really just another way of saying God blurred the boundaries between man and woman. Joining them together by first melting them in the intense fire of God’s love.

Melting and moulding brought on by fire. This is what happens when two human hearts are welded together by the love of God. But that’s not all. In the Christian understanding, the welding that takes place in the marriage bond doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We gather today not just to celebrate the bond between husband and wife. Between Raymond and Grace. For the first reading also reminds us that the joining together of man and woman takes place against the background of other bonds. The bond between humanity and its Creator. And the bonds among all the created things of the earth. For not only does God create man and woman in the image of himself, God also blesses them and entrusts the whole of creation to their care. Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all living animals on the earth.

Melting and moulding brought on by fire. This is what creates the bonds that bind a man to a woman. This is also what binds the human being to the rest of creation. And, ultimately, to the Creator himself. All of which should help us to understand a little better what is being described in the gospel reading. Here, we find ourselves at a wedding reception encountering a major crisis. They ran out of wine. A crisis that Jesus averts by miraculously changing water into wine. But that’s not all. There is actually something deeper happening here. For the gospel story is not just about the marriage of an anonymous couple. It is really about a deeper reconciliation. A re-joining of another couple. A couple that had been married earlier, but had since drawn apart. An estranged couple. A separated couple. The story of the Wedding at Cana is really about the joining together again of God and God’s people. And notice how this takes place.

Melting and moulding brought on by fire. First, the mother of Jesus cares enough to notice the crisis. The fire of love prompts her to mediate between her son Jesus and the servants. To her son she simply says, They have no wine. To the servants, Do whatever he tells you. And then the miracle happens. Jesus changes his mind. Although his hour has not come yet, he gets involved. For their part, the servants obey Jesus’ instructions. Egos are melted. Boundaries are blurred. Water is changed into wine. And those of us who are Christian will see something deeper. What is being described here is also the melting and moulding that joins humanity once again to its God. A joining brought about when Jesus allows himself to be melted on the Wood of the Cross. And then raised to life on the Third Day. A joining that we Christians celebrate every time we obey Jesus’ instruction to come together to listen to the Word of God, to share in the Bread of Life, and then to go forth to proclaim God’s love in word and deed to all whom we meet.

Melting and moulding brought on by fire. This is what we celebrate today. The coming together of Raymond and Grace in the bond of holy matrimony. A bond that joins not just man and woman, but also God and humanity. Creator and all of creation. A bond that binds us–each of us gathered here–to one another. A bond of love and friendship. Of care and support. And we must be careful not to forget that this kind of bonding is not to be celebrated only in the course of a single day. This kind of welding, this kind of melting and moulding, needs to take place in every single one of the days ahead. As the second reading reminds us, each of us needs to lead a life worthy of our vocation, our calling.  This applies especially to Raymond and Grace surely. But also to each of the rest of us. We need to do all we can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds us together. And, for us who are Christian, we do this by continually remaining in the fire of love poured out upon us in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ our Lord. A love that moves us to continue caring and sharing. To continue being patient and kind. To continue allowing ourselves to be melted and moulded. To continue having our ego-boundaries blurred. Even long after the festivities and excitement of the wedding day have passed.

Melting and moulding brought on by fire. This is what we are gathered here to celebrate today. The welding together of human hearts. The bonding of separate lives. The joining of disconnected selves. Raymond and Grace, my dear friends, even as we rejoice in the marvellous love that has brought us together on this beautiful wedding day, what can we do to remain in its unifying and reconciling, its melting and moulding, fire in the days ahead?

2 comments:

  1. O Lord, before I could internalize this homily to appreciate its spiritual gems; someone came to offer me some "challenges" - to consider again about the "truths" of the Catholic Faith...and whether I am following a "blind" faith..

    Somehow, this gesture only led me to pray as follows:

    " O Lord, to whom can I go for YOU ARE LIFE ETERNAL & only in YOU can I find my life's fulfilment?"

    Lord, please WELD and MOULD me onto Yourself - adhere me closely onto the community wherein I am to belong...

    Never let me be parted from Thee, my Lord, my God and my All.

    Amen.

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  2. What a great analogy - melting, moulding and the matrimonial bond. I suppose this is why it's hard even after all the legal paperwork of a break-up is done. How to separate parts that have been welded together? Must meltdown again. And just like marriage, faith also changes us and our relationship with God needs to be nurtured and mature.

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