The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Homily for a wedding

‘Tis the season. Wedding season, that is. This Sunday, I’ll be assisting at a wedding mass. Below is my wedding homily.

I wish I could tell you some words of wisdom from the homily given at my own wedding, 22 years ago. But I can’t. I can’t remember a word of it. Chances are, you won’t remember this one, either.

There’s something that happens on your wedding day. Your shoes are usually too tight, and it cuts off the circulation to your brain. Amnesia sets in. You get up in the morning, put on your shoes, and the next thing you remember, you have icing on your chin and someone is videotaping you doing the bunny hop.


But let me share a few thoughts anyway.

This is a moment of great beauty – and great meaning. It goes beyond the flowers, the music, the dress. You may find this hard to believe, but the most precious part of this day is even bigger and more elaborate than the party that will come after.

The best news is: it doesn’t cost anything. It’s probably the only part of today that doesn’t have a fee attached.

So let me tell you why this day matters so much.

It’s because this embraces two sentiments that are central to our humanity, central to our faith.

Love. And hope.

Human beings are the only creatures on earth who feel these things. We’re the only ones who have the capacity to truly love one another, to cherish one another – and to hope with one another. And because of that, those two feelings carry a spark of the Divine. It’s God leaving his signature within us. He’s given us the ability to love…and the capacity to hope. It’s one reason, among many, why what we celebrate today is a sacrament – a sign of God’s grace.


And it’s why this means so much.

Because by marrying one another you are saying more than just ‘I do.’ You are saying ‘I do love.’ And ‘I do hope.’

You are affirming the mystery of that, and saying that you care for one another…and will care for one another…no matter what. You are saying that you believe that your future together will be brighter because this other person is a part of it. You are saying: we are part of a chain, a story stretching back to the beginnings of time, and we want to continue the story. You are saying that you will continue that story by becoming a family to one another, and welcoming children, and letting God continue His creative work in the world.

If that isn’t love, and that isn’t hope, I don’t know what is.


You are expressing with your presence here today something that poets have been trying to put into words for centuries. It’s a small spark – that spark of the Divine that I mentioned – a light that you today promise to nurture. A light that you’ll protect from the wind, and the rain, and the cold. In the gospel you just heard Jesus tell us to be the light of the world. You are promising to do that…with your love, with your hope.

Shortly after he got married, the writer Matthew Lakona, wrote: “I believe marriage is the best chance I have to love my neighbor as myself.”

Whether you realize it or not, you aren’t just going to be husband and wife. You’re going to be neighbors. Very close neighbors. Remember that. Be good neighbors to each other, as well as good spouses.


I’d like to say something to the other neighbors in your life – the friends and relatives who are here today.

Most of us are familiar with the beautiful words of St. Paul we heard a moment ago – his clear and eloquent letter about love. We hear that reading often at weddings. But St. Paul wasn’t talking about marriage. He was writing to the Corinthians about how to live together as a community. And so I’d ask all of us here, this community, to take those words to heart, to make of them a prayer — and then to give them back, as a kind of gift, to this couple.

I’d ask all of us to strive, very simply, to be the very definition of love for this couple.

To be patient with them. To be kind to them. Rejoice with them. Bear with them. Believe with them. Hope with them. Endure with them.


This is what Paul asks of the Corinthians – and, really, it’s what Christ asks of us. If we truly live this way – with this couple and with one another – we will give this bride and groom gifts more valuable than any on their registry. They are gifts that won’t tarnish and won’t wear out. Gifts that this couple is already eager to share with one another. But they are things you can never have too much of.

I’m speaking, of course, of Love. And hope.

It is my prayer that you will always give those gifts pride of place in your home. And it’s also my prayer that those are gifts that will be returned…again and again.

If you do that, the spark will spread. The light will grow. And the story will go on.

Photo: by Don Ptashne, LAPhotoPro

Comments read comments(2)
post a comment

posted May 26, 2008 at 9:16 am

very lovely, deacon…I love the line about allowing God to continue his creative work in the world.Actually a good pro-life message, too.

report abuse

steve p

posted May 27, 2008 at 9:34 pm

Beautiful, Dcn. Greg. Part of my favorite part was that you tied together the married couple with the community. That this sacrament doesn’t happen in a vacuum.We’ve helped lead a couple of marriage retreats with my spiritual director, a Capuchin priest. He gives a great talk about how affirming married couples are to his celibate life. That they are indeed a visible sign of the love that God has for us as his people. He stakes his life choice on the premise that God can love us for better or for worse, no matter what. Therefore he finds hope in every husband and wife he sees who do just that. In his opinion, that is why the Church recognizes matrimony as a sacrament, but not celibacy.It’s very edifying for us as married lay people, to see our vocation with such dignity, and so important to the life of the Church.Again, keep up the great work.

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz ...

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives! ...

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below. ...

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The ...

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy. ...

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.