What a Wedding Day! 20 Marriages, 1 Pope
Pope Francis was the celebrant and homilist at a Nuptial Mass where 20 couples were married on September 15th, 2014, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome.
During the Mass, the Holy Father’s homily drew upon the first reading of the Feast and related it to the Sacrament of Marriage. The reading from Numbers recounted part of the Israelites’ journey out of Egypt, during which the people became impatient and weary and began complaining to Moses and God. As a result of the people’s complaints, God sent saraph serpents to punish them. After the people had been bitten, they returned to God and repented. God then instructed Moses, “Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and if any who have been bitten look at it, they will live” (Num 21:8). Moses did as God asked, and whoever looked at the serpent was saved.
Pope Francis reflected on the Israelites’ journey, remarking that it was a journey of families, and that their journey reminds us of the journey of the Church today and of all the families that make up the Church. Families today too “become impatient on the way,” the way of conjugal and family life. The struggles and hardships of marriage cause spouses to experience interior weariness: “they lose the flavor of matrimony and they cease to draw water from the well of the Sacrament.”
Just as God instructed Moses to raise up the serpent to save the Israelites, he raised up His only Son on the Cross to save married couples. Pope Francis said, “The cure which God offers the people applies also, in a particular way, to spouses who ‘have become impatient on the way’ and who succumb to the dangerous temptation of discouragement, infidelity, weakness, abandonment… To them too, God the Father gives his Son Jesus, not to condemn them, but to save them.”
When married love becomes wearied, the love of Christ can sustain and renew it. This love can restore joy to the life of married couples and help them continue on the journey together. The Holy Father reminded the couples on their wedding day that the path is not always smooth. Marriage can be demanding and difficult, but the Lord is always present to the husband and wife to help them move forward.
Marriage is “the Sacrament of the love of Christ and the Church, a love which finds its proof and guarantee in the Cross.”
Read Pope Francis’ entire homily here: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/homilies/2014/documents/papa-francesco_20140914_omelia-rito-matrimonio.html