Bishop's Homily for Marriage Jubilee Mass 2017


(Print Version)

 The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge delivered the following homily October 15, 2017, 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, at Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church in Potomac Falls during the Marriage Jubilee Mass.


(Gen. 2:18-24; Colossians 3:12-17; John 15:9-12)


At the reception following a Wedding Anniversary Mass I celebrated a couple of years ago, I remember asking a couple how long they have been married. The husband said: 62 years. The wife said: “I am going right to heaven.” Pray God that is true------that is what husbands and wives are called to do: with God’s grace, they try each day to grow in holiness and to help each other get to heaven.  


Dear jubilarians, that is the beautiful vocation the Lord has entrusted to you. And today, we, your children, grandchildren, family members and friends thank you for your faithful living of that vocation for 25 years, for 50 years, and for the years to come.  


Today, all in our diocese also honor your vocation which is a sign of the love that Christ has for His Bride, the Church. Whenever we look at a married couple, we should be able to say: “Do you see how they love one another...that is the same way Jesus loves us. Thank you, dear jubilarians for reminding us that God’s love is permanent, faithful, and fruitful.


Recently, I was speaking with a couple married 50 years who was meeting with a couple preparing for marriage. The woman married 50 years asked the bride-to-be: “Why do you want to marry your fiancé?” The young woman said: “Because he fulfills me in every way possible.” The woman married 50 years responded: “Then, step away. That is impossible He can’t. You will end up disappointed and will try someone new. Do not do this to each other. Only Jesus can fulfill and sustain you in every way possible.” That is the truth Our Lord  proclaims in today’s Gospel: “Remain in my love and your joy will be complete.”


Dear jubilarians, in a day and age that permanent commitment seems to be a struggle for so many people, I am sure you are frequently asked: “How do you do this? How do you stay together for so many years.” No doubt, you respond: “Only in Jesus!” You are believers who trust that the Lord who, in His divine and mysterious plan, called you to become one body is the same Lord who promised to give you the grace to live your marriage vows. Perhaps today you are reflecting upon how God has remained true to that promise throughout your 25 and 50 years of marriage. Perhaps you recall how God has sustained you through the good times and bad and helped you to live the virtues St. Paul highlighted today: kindness, humility, patience and the ability to forgive one another. No doubt, you have and will continue to find the strength you need in and through your daily prayer and the reception of Sacraments, most especially the Holy Eucharist, the source of our consolation and joy.


Dear jubilarians, more than ever the Church and our world need to see a love in imitation of Christ, a love that is permanent, faithful and fruitful. And today provides the beautiful opportunity to renew that commitment.


In our diocesan newspaper when introduced as the new bishop, I publicly and somewhat humbly acknowledged that I like listening to country music. My family often gives me a hard time on my taste—can you imagine? But I know you won’t. So, in the spirit of renewing your commitments and promises today, I refer you to a song and video (which you can find on You-Tube) called “I Do” by Mark Wills. I know you echo the words in your heart: “I do, cherish you for the rest of my life, you don’t have to think twice. I will love you still, from the depths of my soul. If you are asking do I love you this much, I do....Oh, I do.


Dear friends, through the intercession of Mary and Joseph, may your yes to the Lord; your “I do” to one another and the love you share grow stronger with the passing of each new day so that you will strive daily to help each other get to heaven and to live with God forever and ever. Amen.