Saturday, May 16, 2015


The Wedding of Patrick Collins and Hilary Yates
May 16, 2015

Tobit 8:5-7
1 John 4:7-12
Mark 10:6-9

            Wow! What a joyful day!
            What a great joy to gather together this afternoon and celebrate the love shared by Pat and Hilary.
            What a great joy to witness the lifelong commitment they are making to each other – and to promise that we will support them in their married life in good times and not so good.
            As you might guess, I go to a lot of weddings but this one is especially joyful because it’s a first for me.
            As some of you know, before I became a priest I was a high school history teacher and this is the first time that I have the honor of officiating at the wedding of one of my former students.
            A couple of months ago when I heard from Pat, first I thought maybe he wanted to dispute some long ago grade I had given him – or maybe he wanted some essay or test of his that I had never gotten around to returning.
            But no, of course he wanted to let me know about Hilary.
            He wanted to let me know about today.
            And, over the past couple of months I’ve had the privilege and joy to get to know this couple. And I’ve learned what you already know.
            These are two very fine young people – bright, level-headed, at ease with themselves and each other, sharing a quiet but oh so deep love.
            I also learned that they are both fortunate enough to earn a living doing what they love.
            At one point I asked them how much swimming stuff was going to be in their wedding, thinking maybe everyone would receive little souvenir goggles or life preservers or something like that.
            They both looked at me with that look – some of you know the look I mean – and said, no, they wouldn’t push the swimming metaphors at their wedding.
            But, it’s just so hard to resist, isn’t it?
            After all, today Patrick and Hilary are taking the plunge – they’re diving into married life, they’re swimming into uncharted waters…should I go on?
            Probably not. I’m going to get that look.
            Now, I admit that I don’t know anything about swimming, unless floating around a pool in a tube counts.
            But, as I’ve reflected about these two swimmers I’ve thought about the need for stamina in the pool.
            For swimmers that stamina comes from practice – from being physically fit – and sometimes maybe from being cheered on by the crowd.
            And, I suppose married life is not so different, really.
            Just like swimming, it takes stamina to make - and especially to keep - a lifelong commitment.
            Where does that stamina come from?
            In part it comes from practice – the day in, day out practice of loving each other, of being kind and considerate to each other.
            In part it comes from being cheered on by us – supported by the family and friends who care about these two so much – that’s why we’re here today promising to support Pat and Hilary’s married life.
            But, ultimately, the stamina comes from God – from the Source of all love, from the God who is love.
            God is love – and so the beautiful love shared by Patrick and Hilary is a bottomless gift from God.
            Their – your – love is a reflection of God - and is sustained by God.
            So, today is a joyful day for Pat and Hilary, for me, and for all of us – a joyful day when we celebrate the love shared by Patrick and Hilary.
            But, it’s also a joyful day because their love gives us all a glimpse – a reminder - of God’s sustaining love for all of us – God’s gift of stamina for us all –in the deep and often treacherous waters of life keeping us afloat.