Vanity of vanities, what a way to start readings for a wedding Mass. These are certainly not the readings we are used to hearing at a wedding Mass, but since this Mass takes place on a Saturday evening, and this Mass counts for your Sunday obligation, we are instructed to use the readings for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time. And while on the surface these readings may seem odd for a wedding, if we listen closely, I think they may, in their own unique way, fit perfectly into the context of today’s wedding Mass.
While the union of a husband and wife in the sacrament of marriage is certainly an occasion to celebrate, if this marriage is simply about today’s festivities, then it truly is vanity. St. Paul, however reminds us in our second reading that we are called to think of what is above not what is on earth. Isn’t that the beauty of this wedding Mass? Before we go off to celebrate with an elaborate party, we gather here in this beautiful church which draws our eyes heavenward, as Dane and Margaret stand before Christ and promise to give themselves totally, faithfully, and fruitfully to each other for as long as they both shall live. Meanwhile each of us join them in looking up to heaven asking God to shower them with His grace so that they may live out their wedding vows all the days of their lives.
This evening as Margaret and Dane exchange their vows, promising to each other before God, to be faithful in good times and in bad, in sickness and health and to love and honor each other for as longs as they both shall live, our Gospel, aptly puts the purpose of those vows into perspective. These vows, after all, are not made so that they will solely experience earthly blessings. No, in fact these vows expressly state that you predict both good and bad moments. These vows are focused on something far greater than immediate earthly happiness, the eternal happiness of heaven. Afterall, the teaching of Jesus in today’s gospel is clear, it is foolish to store up earthly treasures when we should be focused on storing up treasures in heaven. As we look heavenward, we pray that the graces of this sacrament of marriage will give you the strength to store up treasure in heaven by becoming witnesses in the world of God’s charity so that the afflicted and needy who have known your kindness may one day receive you joyfully into the eternal dwelling of heaven.
Tonight, as we gather here in this church, to witness this exchange of vows, we look heavenward, keeping the finish line of heaven in sight. Margaret and Dane, today you lay down your lives, for each other, entrusting your lives to each other. Your lives will now belong to each other and in belonging to each other you belong to the whole world. In loving each other sincerely and faithfully, you will be a reminder to the world that true happiness is not found in earthly treasures, but rather in the true love, that last forever.
So tonight, we are invited to think of what is above. We give thanks to God for bringing Margaret and Dane together in the sacrament of marriage and we ask God to shower them with His graces so that they may be faithful in this life, storing up treasure in the heavenly kingdom. Tonight, we look heavenward recalling that the true purpose of this life is to ensure that all of us are gathered together again at the great wedding banquet in heaven.