October 20, 2008

A Piece of Heaven

Homily for the Wedding of Marissa Gallego and Jobert Delos Reyes
John 15:9-13

One Sunday, Pedro visited his grandparents. His lolo was delighted to see his favorite grandchild. In his excitement, lolo shouted, “Honey! Honnneeyy, your favorite apo is here!” Pedro smiled, “Lolo, you are very sweet, at the age of 80, you still call lola honey!” His lolo smiles and winks at him, “Ssssss…hush! Keep quiet. I’m calling her honey because I already forgot your lola’s name.”

We may be laughing or smiling now. But there is a pinch of 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 “till death do us part” have forgotten their wedding promise. If there is a global economic meltdown, there is also the crisis of “marriage or family meltdown.”

In your chosen gospel for today, Jobert and Marissa, the Lord is exhorting you to remember the following words: REMAIN IN MY LOVE (John 15:9-13). It is also one way of saying, REMAIN IN EACH OTHERS’ LOVE. When a new couple is married, sometimes we have so much expectation from each other. But be aware that love will have a different color and expression after the wedding. Your marriage will be tested to its limit, but if you genuinely love each other and you have accepted one another, your marriage will stand and survive the test of time.

Today, as we witness this celebration of love unfolding in our midst. Jobert and Marissa, allow me to walk you through this “walk to married life” and spare you from possible marriage or family meltdown. Don’t forget our gospel for today: REMAIN IN GOD’S LOVE… REMAIN IN EACH OTHER’S LOVE. Too much expectation from each other can be blinding. Do not be blinded by the Korean and Pinoy tele-novela love stories, where all love stories should end in “kissing and ringing of bells and they live happily after.” The End.

In marriage, real love story begins when your own “movie-like” love story ends. For you Joebert and Marissa, we know that fate brought you together in Yubengco Mall through the courtesy of SMART’s “Text a Friend Promo.” Smart’s job is done.
When Joebert said, "Will you marry me?" last April. Everything falls into place. Marissa said yes and everything went so fast. Now both of you are here. Ready to tie the knot. THE END. Nope, it is not the end but the beginning of something more real and profound – two unique souls becoming one.

All feet on the ground, Joebert and Marissa. The Smart Love Promo is now over. You need to do your own promotion now ….Promote your married life now. Face the reality, so that you will not be disappointed. Marriage life is like having a cell phone… sometimes you don’t have enough load, sometimes you don’t have enough money or resources. Sometimes it seems there’s “no signal,” then move and do something, find your signal and communicate. Sometimes its low bat … then time to recharge your marriage … returning to your wedding day promise today … for better or for worst, till death do us part. 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 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 and blessing of the sacrament of matrimony.
Your journey together as married couple may not always be “a walk in the cloud.” There are lots of challenges in married life and in raising a family. But God is journeying with you, like the Emmaus disciples, you will also say, “Where not our hearts burning while we walk together?” – 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.

If Stephen Covey has “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” allow me to share my own “Seven Habits of Highly Happy Marriage” It’s a way of life on how to REMAIN IN EACH OTHER’S LOVE and avoid marriage meltdown. The Seven Habits of a Happy Marriage are: to see, to listen, to touch, to chat, to pray, to walk, and to live.

To see – Learn to see each other by understanding each other in the eyes of love. Try to see the “You and I” each other … that from now on, in married life, you are forever united and cannot be separated. You are one flesh.

To listen – Learn to humbly listen to one another. There are still so much to learn from each other. To listen is to know and to know is to understand. Conflicts of ideas may still arise but listen and you will survive any trials of your married life.

To touch – Be sensitive enough to each other and spend time together. Anything you can feel, you can heal. Learn to be sensitive to the needs of each other and you will heal and forgive each other. Console each other when crisis comes and celebrate each other’s joy in times of victories.

To chat – Learn to share stories to one another, even the mundane and boring stories. Marissa, listen to Joebert how he plants and harvests vegetables. Joebert, listen to Marissa how to run after and trap stray cats in Ateneo campus for Biology students’ use. The problem with married couples now is they don’t know how to listen to each other’s stories. There are lots of “us” to know in the ordinary stories of life.

To pray
– Learn to pray together. What you decide in prayer together will determine the quality of your family life. Remember to consult God. If there is a third party allowed in married life, it is HIM. Remember that old sayings, the family that prays together stays together.

To walk – Always walk and work together. After this wedding ceremony, everything you do is a “family project.” There’s no “I” in married life but always “us” and “we.”

To live
– Enjoy married life. It is not just raising a family. It is still you Joebert and Marissa. It is unfortunate that many couples forgot their friendship when already married. They are so caught up in raising their children. Once in a while find time to do things you love to do together. Watch movie together in Mindpro or attend Mass at Ateneo together. Go to the Cawa-cawa at sunset and eat balut. Swim to Bolong beach together. Do things you enjoy doing together even if you have already kids. Your friendship is too beautiful to forget after today’s ceremony. After all, your friendship is the foundation of your married life.

Learn to choose to love and fall in love everyday. Remain in each other’s love and in God’s love. Say YES to each other everyday. And before you know it, years from now, your children will come and embrace you, 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 and unwavering love and by remembering to see, to listen, to touch, to chat, to pray, to walk, and to live together daily, you will make your marriage and your home, a piece of heaven here on earth.

- Fr. Willy M. Samson,SJ
Our Lady of Perpetual Parish – Guiwan,, Zamboanga City
October 18, 2008

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