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The Lord Is My Chef Wedding Recipe by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II Homily at the Wedding of Ms. Gracie Rivas & Mr. Chino Orig, 08 February 2023 Don Bosco Chapel on the Hill, Bgy. Cahil, Calaca, Batangas Tobit 8:4b-8 ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*> + ><}}}}*> John 15:12-16
My dearest Gracie and Chino:
Congratulations on this most joyous day of your lives. Finally, after much prayers and waiting, following so many detours in your lives, you are now before the altar of the Lord to exchange vows in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
I am sure you must have heard so many things on being successful and fruitful in marriage. In fact while praying over this homily since last year (yes, believe me), a lot of things have also come to my mind that I felt very important so you may grow and mature in your married life. But, as I prayed more, I realized lately that while there are many ways to be successful and fruitful in marriage, there is only one sure way in order to fail as husband and wife.
Stop believing in God.
Live as if there is no God.
Do not pray. Do not celebrate the Sunday Mass.
Forget God. And you will surely fail in marriage.
Without God, Gracie and Chino, you cannot truly love each other because the only true love we must all imitate despite our weaknesses and imperfections is the love of Jesus Christ poured out on us there on the Cross. He said it so clearly today in our gospel, “This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. There is no greater love than to offer one’s life for a friend.”
Remember, Gracie and Chino, human love is always imperfect; only God can love us perfectly.
Here lies the great mystery and joy of human love, of marriage: God willed from the very start that man and woman be united in marriage. When his Son Jesus Christ came to the world, he not only reminded us of this wonderful plan of the Father for us but also elevated marriage into a sacrament, a sign of the saving presence of God.
In sharing his life with us, we are able to love like Jesus that is why he tells us too that it was him who chose and called you, Gracie and Chino, not you who chose him. God willed that on this day, Gracie and Chino that you get married. It was also part of his plan that you met during the COVID pandemic when we were locked down and when many weddings were either postponed or cancelled.
Very clear, Gracie and Chino, it was God who designed your marriage! Do not disregard him. Invite him daily into your lives in the same manner you invited him on this day of your wedding.
Let me warn and remind you, Gracie and Chino, that a wedding nor a sacrament is not everything. Love is difficult because love is not just a feeling but a decision we renew daily. You must have heard how some couples ran out of love that eventually, they split up and separated and failed. When we have that deep faith, fervent hope and unceasing charity and love of God, you will never ran out of love, Gracie and Chino, because God is love.
Keep that in mind. If you want to remain in love, love God. That is what marriage is all about: in loving your wife, your husband, you are actually expressing your love to God who is after all our very first love. That’s what Tobias realized when he married Sarah in our first reading. Tobias went to a far away land not only to look for a wife and a cure for his father Tobit’s blindness but also for God! When he found Sarah, he also found God.
Is it not the same thing happened with you, Chino. upon meeting Gracie? It was not love at first sight but more like the experience of Tobias when God revealed by silently speaking into your heart Gracie is the woman whom you shall marry. In a flash, you felt so certain about it, Chino, and despite your distance from each other, you felt this love growing deeper every day.
There is no perfect marriage, Gracie and Chino, but every couple is surely blessed by God. Cooperate with him, do whatever he tells you as the Blessed Mother told the waiters in the wedding at Cana where Jesus transformed water into wine. Imagine, the first miracle by Jesus Christ was in a wedding just like this!
You know why? Because love is most truest when there is forgiveness and mercy. As I have told you, human love is imperfect, only God can love us perfectly. Without God, it is impossible for us to forgive and move on with life. Without God, it is impossible for us to say sorry and ask forgiveness too. It is God who gives us the grace to be sorry and to be merciful and forgiving like him.
When couples become hardened in their hearts as they keep tabs of each other’s sins and mistakes and misgivings, they get tired and fed up with each other and then separate.
With God, we are able to clean our slate, delete our memories and restart/refresh our programs like the computer to begin anew each day.
Without God, the festering anger within us gets worst and soon, everything crashes. That is when we fail because we do not have God as our foundation and root.
If ever you quarrel, Gracie and Chino, remember that whoever has more love to give, that one should be the one to make the first move for reconciliation. That is a grace God gives every couple to be like his Son Jesus Christ, empty of self to be able to love without measure. When we are filled with ourselves, with our pride and ego, we cannot have that space for others and for God too to work in us.
Try seeing it this way: human relationships are like two hands together.
Without God, they are like interlocking fingers where the partners are both so good, so bilib in themselves, filling each other’s needs that soon, they get filled with themselves. Like interlocking fingers that get painful, they eventually breakaway or separate from each other because love has become a demand than a gift, sex an obligation than an offering, with each one becoming more an object to be possessed than a person to be loved.
With God, human relationships are like two praying hands. Very flexible. You keep your identities and personalities intact, growing together, maturing together in love as you both create an empty space for each one’s shortcomings and most especially for God to have a place in your lives.
Like Tobit and Sarah in our first reading, pray always. Handle your lives with prayer, Gracie and Chino. The more you pray and believe in God, the more you will love him, and the more you will believe each other too and hence, love more each other too! Keep God in your life as husband and wife. Whatever you do to each other, that you do first to Jesus who is always between you.
You see, Gracie and Chino, there are so many ways to be fruitful in marriage for as long as you are rooted in God. Take away God and you will surely fail as an individual and as a couple.
My prayer for you, Gracie and Chino is that today may be the least joyful day of your lives. Live in God through Jesus Christ with Mary our Mother. Amen.