Posted on January 7th, 2018
The Marriage of Grace Link and Andrew Egger
December 30, 2017
“On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee.” Every word in Holy Scripture is significant. And there’s more going on than meets the eye. “On the third day there was a wedding,” just like on the third day He rose again from the dead.
Rising from the dead is the shape of marriage, because marriage is a kind of death. At some level our groom already understands this, as he reflected on these solemnities via Twitter: “super excited to get married this weekend and enter once and for all into adulthood,” I say to myself as I spot a gobstopper on the floor of my car and immediately eat it.
The bride can handle a room full of kindergartners, so I imagine she can handle this challenge as well. But the meaning of marriage is not in the maturation of manners. Something much deeper has to die in you. Marriage propels you into an arena where all your selfishness, all your disordered desires are manifest. Marriage continually summons you to death, so that you can learn to live for others. Dying to self, you live for your wife, your husband, and the children God gives you.
“On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.” Marriage creates a new family, but this new family doesn’t live in isolation. The mother of Jesus was there, possibly as the mother of the bride. Andrew and Grace, the families you came from remain forever important, as does our common family the Church. “Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.” Your wedding in the Church means that you also have done just that. Your marriage will be blessed as each day Jesus is continually invited to be the head of your household. When you are worried about your spouse, when you are apart, and especially when you have difficulties, that is when you invite Jesus anew to the wedding.
And problems will come. Some of those problems will be of your own making, and some will happen to you. This wedding in Cana was threatened by inadequate preparation. The lack of wine symbolizes a loss of joy. And the day will come when your joy runs short. You will disappoint each other. Perhaps you will yell and say horrible things; perhaps you will cry; perhaps you will seethe in silence. I pray none of these are the case – but sin is a powerful thing, and rare is the marriage untouched by trouble.
When the wine runs out, when the joy runs out, what does the blessed mother of Jesus say? She points the servants to Jesus, and says, “Do whatever he tells you.” “Do whatever he tells you.”
She doesn’t know how the problem will be resolved. She doesn’t know what can be done. She knows one thing only: We look to Jesus for all of our help.
And His help is more than advice or counsel. This holy Christmas season we reflect on the mystery that is at the heart of marriage. The two become one flesh in marriage, analogous to the union of God and man in the womb of the virgin Mary. God doesn’t just visit mankind. He joins Himself to us, so that He says of us what Adam said when he saw Eve: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”
The one-flesh union in marriage is for having children, for finding delight in each other, and for sharing in each other’s troubles. That’s what Jesus does in the incarnation – He says, “Your sickness becomes My sickness, your sorrow becomes My sorrow, your sin becomes My sin, and everything good I have I now share with you.”
By God’s grace, He does all this for you, and now in marriage He begins to do this through you. Thus you say to each other, “Your troubles are my troubles, your joys are my joys, and with my body I honor you, serve you, protect you.”
Your marriage, Grace and Andrew, will find its greatest joy in the mundane things, even the unpleasant things, precisely because God transforms them into opportunities for loving sacrifice and communion.
“On the third day there was a wedding.” On the third day Jesus rose from the dead, and in Him your marriage cannot die.
“Jesus was invited to the wedding.” He promises to be present and to be your Lord in sickness and in health, for better, for worse.
“Do whatever he tells you.” For in Him you will live, in Him will you die, and His shall you be forever. +INJ+