In celebrating the day in which, through the sacrament of marriage, couples united their lives through the indissoluble bond before the Lord, attendees at the Archdiocese of San Antonio Anniversary Mass on Feb. 20 confirmed the promises they made to each other for the gift they have received in their spouse.
Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, celebrated the evening liturgy at St. John Neumann Church, and he prayed that the Lord would keep the couples all the days of their lives. “May he be your consolation in adversity, companion in prosperity and may he pour his abundant blessings upon your household.”
“It is not good for the man to be alone,” God says in the Book of Genesis in the first reading at the Mass. He creates a suitable partner, forming both women and men in the image of the Creator. The Bible says: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
This cleaving to one’s spouse, Pope Francis points out in the original Hebrew, bespeaks a profound harmony, “a closeness both physical and interior, to such an extent that the word is used to describe our union with God.”
The Holy Father has stated that “the couple that loves and begets life is a true, living icon…capable of revealing God the Creator and Savior. For this reason, fruitful love becomes a symbol of God’s inner life … The triune God is a communion of love, and the family is its living reflection.”
Archbishop Gustavo acknowledged that not all married couples are able to beget children. “But the fruits of their marital love are manifest when they enlarge the circle of their love to help their neighbors, especially the weak and the vulnerable, the poor and the needy, the neglected children and the elderly,” he added. “Love begets love. It builds up the kingdom of God.”
In the Gospel reading at the liturgy from John, at the Last Supper Jesus prays for unity and harmony among all his disciples — especially married couples and families.
“Jesus wants to be a part of every home, living within us and among us so that others will be drawn to the Lord because our lives demonstrate the love that God has planted in our hearts. We celebrate that love in your wedding anniversaries – and every day!” the archbishop exclaimed. “You are to show God’s mercy and compassion. You are to strive for justice and peace. You are to seek reconciliation where there is alienation, unity where there is division, unity amid the diversity of the people we encounter in our lives.”
Pope Francis has said that three phrases are necessary to keep a marriage faithful and loving, and the San Antonio prelate stressed that they should be repeated by each spouse to the other each day. They are: Please, may I? Thank you! I’m sorry!
The Missionary of the Holy Spirit concluded his comments at the joyous occasion by thank God for bringing the spouses together and strengthening their bond as the years pass by. “Thank all of you for your witness! Thank you for showing us what God is like!” he emphasized. “May Our Lady of Guadalupe always have a place in your home and your hearts!”