December 25, 2007

Feet on the Ground

Wedding of Rojean Caharian and Alwin Macalalad
San Lorenzo Ruiz Chapel, Cagayan de Oro City
December 21, 2007
Luke 24:13-35: The Walk to Emmaus

One Sunday, Andres visited his grandparents. The grandfather was delighted to see his favorite grandchild. In his excitement, grandpa shouted, “Honey! Honnneeyy, your favorite grandson is here!” Andres smiled, “Grandpa, you are very sweet, at the age of 76, you still call grandma honey!” His grandfather wink at him, “Ssssss…keep quiet. I’m calling your grandma honey because I forgot her name!”

We may be laughing or smiling now. But there is a reality in the story. Some marriages are on the rocks because couples who promised to hold each other’s hand and be faithful to each other’s “till death do us part” have forgotten their wedding promise. In our gospel, too much expectation blinded the two disciples; they thought Jesus will be their superman to save Israel against the Romans. On the other hand, disillusioned couples are blinded by romance, unfulfilled dreams and high expectations to each other. Like the two disciples who ran away from Jerusalem, couples are running away from their own marriage vows. The magic is no longer there. They fell out of love.

Today, as we witness this celebration of love unfolding in our midst. Alwin and Rojean, allow me to walk you through this “walk to married life.” Learn from the two disciples, too much expectation can be blinding. Do not be blinded by the Hollywood and Regal film’s love stories, where most love stories end in “kissing and ringing of bells.” The End. But in marriage, real love stories begin when your own “movie like” love story ends up in saying YES to marriage. For Alwin and Rojean, it is when Alwin proposed marriage in Talisay Batangas and Rojean said yes to it. Let me quote from your own movie:

Then Alwin said, "Be with me." Everything jarred into place. Rojean couldn't speak; she was silently crying, tears of joy. She just nodded. Then Alwin slipped the ring into Rojean’s finger. They hugged and rested quietly for awhile in the veranda overlooking the Taal Lake and its volcano. THE END. Nope, it is not the end but the real beginning, where your love will be challenged. This is more exciting.

All feet on the ground, Alwin and Rojean. Face the reality, so that you will not be disappointed and disillusioned. More unfolding of self to behold and to enjoy as you walk together and build your own family. The beauty of married life is in journeying together. It is in your journey you will experience different moments of falling in love, falling out love, and choosing to love. Married life is a roller coaster ride, it has ups and downs, but do not be afraid, just open your eyes because God is journeying with you. This is the promise of the sacrament of matrimony.
The two disciples’ walk to Emmaus is teaching us something. The journey may be blinding sometimes because of the challenges of raising a family. But when you know you are journeying together with God, like the disciples, you will say too, “Where not our hearts burning while we journey together with God.” – burning of hearts means falling in love everyday! To fall in love everyday and to choose to love is the secret of a happy and lasting marriage.
In their journey, the disciples found seven virtues that led them to see Jesus – to see, to hear, to feel, to talk, to think, to walk, and to live. Learn from the disciples. To see – The two disciples understand everything when they saw everything in the eyes of Jesus. Learn to understand each other in the eyes of love. But to understand, you must learn how to listen to each other. To hear – The two disciples humbly listen to Jesus’ words. Learn to humbly listen to one another. There are still so much to learn from each other, to listen is to understand. Conflicts of ideas may still arise, listen and learn from one another. To feel - The two disciples were sensitive enough to offer Jesus to stay with them for it is nearly evening. Anything you can feel, you can heal. Learn to be sensitive to the needs of each other and healing will take place. Console each other when crunch time comes and share each other’s joy. To talk – the two disciples were conversing and sharing stories when Jesus came. Learn to share stories to one another, even the mundane and boring stories. You cannot fight someone when you know their stories. The problem with us now is we don’t want to listen to stories of others. To think – the disciples’ decision to return to Jerusalem is the fruit of their discernment. Find time to stop, discern and pray together, maybe a short talk in the morning before a cup of coffee or before hitting the bed? What you decide together will determine the quality of your family life. To walk – the two disciples decided to walk back to Jerusalem together. Always walk and work together. When you are married, dream together. Everything you do from now on is a “family project.” No more “I” but always “us” and ‘we.” To live – the disciples upon arriving Jerusalem joined their community and rejoiced in the resurrection of Jesus. Enjoy married life. It is not just raising a family. It is still you Alwin and Rojean. It is unfortunate that many couples forgot their friendship when married. Once in a while find time to do things you love to do together. Read books together. Watch movie together. Return to Talisay and enjoy Taal Volcano the way you enjoyed it. Eat isaw, fish balls and other street food together. Go to the beach. Swim. Sing your favorite “we wish you a mericano and a happy negro” when you feel like singing it."Do it again once in a while but without your future children! Even in family life, there are things that are exclusive to husband and wife. Your friendship is too beautiful to forget. Relish your friendship always. Do not forget the basics. Do not be like Lolo. After all, your friendship is the foundation of your married life.
Alwin and Rojean, learn to choose to love and fall in love everyday. Desire and choose it everyday. And before you know it, someday you will see yourselves being embraced by your own children, and thanking you both for giving them a loving parents and a wonderful family.
It is true that not all marriages are made in heaven. But with your constant love and remembering to see, to listen, to feel, to talk, to think, to walk, and to live together, every moment of your married life will be like Taal Volcano – a beauty to behold in awe.

- Fr. Willy Samson,SJ

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