On Saturday, February 11, 2023, Bishop Jaime Soto celebrated the World Marriage Day Mass at Good Shepherd Parish in Elk Grove. Below is his homily from the Mass:
En cada Misa, el sacerdote da echo a las palabras de Jesús indicando el motivo principal de su muerte dolorosa en la cruz: “Éste es el cáliz de mi sangre, sangre de la alianza nueva y eterna, que será derramada por ustedes y por muchos para el perdón de los pecados.” Estas palabras, ofrecidas en cada Misa, nos ayudan entender la íntima comunión entre la Eucaristía y el Matrimonio. Los dos sacramentos nos hablan de la misma realidad mística, la eterna alianza y perpetua comunión entre Cristo y el pueblo de Dios, la Iglesia. El mismo amor de Cristo es comunicado sacramentalmente por las dos obras.
El sacrificio de Cristo se revela en los sacramentos, en la Eucaristía bajo la apariencia de pan y el vino, en el matrimonio por el testimonio cotidiano del esposo y la esposa. En la vida matrimonial los dos – el hombre y la mujer – se hacen una sola cosa. Esta comunión matrimonial enseña a toda la iglesia lo que Jesús lleva acabo en la Santa Misa. Por la santa communion llegamos a ser una sola cosa con Cristo. Somos parte del cuerpo único de Cristo.
Por eso, nuestra celebración de la jornada mundial del matrimonio nos ofrece un testimonio para entender mejor la armonía esencial entre los dos sacramentos de Matrimonio y la Eucaristía. Pidamos a Dios que nos conceda durante el avivamiento eucarístico un mejor aprecio y reverencia para estos dos grandes sacramentos porque Cristo está realmente presente en los dos. A través de los dos, el Señor Jesús santificará y revivirá a toda la Santa Iglesia de Dios.
In the gospel of John, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared only twice. Mary was at the wedding feast of Cana when Jesus turned water into wine, as we heard in the gospel this morning. She was also at the foot of the cross when her Son suffered and died. Both instances seem to be completely unrelated events. Both stories are very much connected. The presence of Mary at both events helps us see the connection.
The wedding feast of Cana was the first sign where Jesus revealed himself to the disciples. Jesus, who came as a guest to the wedding feast of Cana, revealed himself as the bridegroom who would wed himself to his people, bringing the new wine of the kingdom of God. Mary is the image of the Church, telling the disciples to do as her Son instructed.
At the end of the gospel, Mary was present at another wedding feast. She was present for the wedding feast of the Lamb. Jesus was the bridegroom who loved his spouse pouring out his own blood for her, the new wine of eternal life. Mary, the mother of the Savior and the mother of the Church witnessed her Son’s marriage covenant, foretold at the Feast of Cana, then sealed by the blood flowing from the bridegroom’s side, and forever celebrated at the eternal wedding feast of the Lamb in heaven.
The presence of Mary helps us see this wonderful, life-giving connection. Mary represents the Church who continues to give witness to the divine marital love of Jesus through two beautiful sacraments: the Sacrament of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Marriage.
The Book of Genesis described the first wedding between Adam and Eve saying that both man and woman, the two of them became one flesh. In the Sacrifice of the Mass, Jesus is the bridegroom of the new creation who offers to us his own body and blood so that together with him we might become one flesh. In the Eucharist, we are no longer two but one flesh, we are part of the one mystical body of Christ. The sacrifice of Calvary is the beginning of the New Covenant, the marriage covenant between Christ and his Church.
Listen to the words of Jesus echoed by the priest in every Eucharistic Prayer: “This is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal Covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. The presence of Mary for the wedding feast of Cana at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and then her sorrowful presence at the foot of the cross as both water and blood flowed from his pierced side signified the harmony of these two events revealing Jesus as the bridegroom of the eternal wedding covenant with the Church.
Every Christian marriage participates in this same sacramental mystery. All the sacraments always lead us to Christ. The Eucharist unites us in a mystical communion with the glorified body of Christ. Christian marriage unites the couple to this same mystical communion. St. Paul taught us this when he wrote to the Ephesians saying, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her.” (Eph. 5.25)
Mary’s testimony in the gospel of John brings our attention to this holy harmony between the communion of the Eucharist and the matrimonial communion of husband and wife. As we celebrate World Marriage Day during the Eucharistic Revival, understand that the revival of our devotion to the Eucharistic covenant also calls us to a revival of the Marriage covenant. Both sacraments help us understand our communion, our oneness in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
The real presence of Christ under the appearance of bread and wine is part of the real lives of husbands and wives and their families. The real presence of Christ is also powerfully revealed through the sacrifices and joys, struggles and blessings of the family. The harmony of these sacraments we honor today in the testimony of the many couples who celebrate the many years of sacramental communion around the altar of the Eucharist, the great wedding feast of the Lamb of God. The mercy and charity of Jesus flows from this altar into the lives of the many disciples of Jesus who, heeding Mary’s instructions, have brought the gospel of the Lord Jesus into their homes.
All the Church rejoices with married couples because your lives have made the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist a real, life-giving presence in the world. Through you, Jesus continues to reveal his glory so that more of his disciples may come to believe in him.