Bishop Barron on the Sacrament of Marriage


well this a few weeks ago I had the

great good pleasure of presiding at the

wedding of my niece Brenna and her

husband Nelson and it was a great joy

because of course I've known Brenna all

her life and she's always been a great

person full of joy and cheerfulness and

goodness and then Nelson have I known

now for a couple years a very good man

and also took the courageous step to

become a Catholic in advance of this of

this day so the two of them are a great


everyone in the church was exalting in

their and their goodness and just to see

this young couple love terrific but the

point I made in my homily was we're not

here because here's this beautiful young

couple and love because any romantic any

secular romantic could look in and see

the same thing we were gathered in

church because we saw them with the eyes

of faith and that means we saw them as a

hint or a sign or an echo of God's love

of Christ's love for the church you know

it's a peculiarity of Catholic

sacramental theology that a married

couple don't so much receive a sacrament

as they become a sacrament I just tell

people when I was doing a parish work

full time and I was working with young

engaged couples at the time we were all

about the same age I was in my like

upper 20s at the time but I would always

ask them at some point how come you guys

want to get married in church and they'd

usually say some version of well because

we love each other and I would say well

that's great I'm delighted you love each

other but that's not reason to get

married Church to be one love to get

married under on the beach in front of

the justice of the peace you get married

in church when you're convinced that God

has brought you together for His

purposes so the people gathered the

other day for my niece's wedding would

say this young couple did not come

together just by dumb chance but rather

they were brought together by God's

providence for God's purposes and that's

what we were celebrating that day

in church now to get a clearer sense of

this I suggested in my homily that we

should look with fresh eyes at the great

story of the wedding feast at Cana so

famously in John's Gospel the first sign

the first miraculous sign that Jesus

performs is not the raising of a dead

it's not the comedy of a storm at sea

it's not the healing of a blind person

the first sign he performs is providing

wine at a local wedding reception now

every one of his brother has commented

over the centuries how wonderful how

charming that Jesus you know Stoops to

do this very simple thing to help this

distressed couple and sure I mean I

won't deny that but I think we have to

look a lot deeper because what we see

there is this great motif of Jesus the

bridegroom Jesus who is the God of

Israel made flesh comes as the

bridegroom to marry his people now to

get that fully take a step back into the

Old Testament look in the prophet Isaiah

Isaiah relays this extraordinary line if

you look in the history of religions and

religious philosophy you won't see

anything quite like it it seems to me

when the God of Israel says or Isaiah

says of him your builder wants to marry


now again I think spend a little time

even in prayer with that line your

builder meaning the Creator the one who

designed you and created you God wants

to marry you now I mean every religion

and religious philosophy will talk about

God will talk about our relation to God

following the demands of God all of that

but here we've got the distinctively

biblical approach that God wants to

marry us that means to share his life

with us in the most intimate life-giving

faithful way possible when they were

looking for the great metaphor for this

faithful life-giving intensely personal

love they reached for the metaphor of

the wedding of the marriage

your builder wants to marry you God

wants to share his life utterly with us

now press it in that same prophet Isaiah

we hear that when the Messiah comes

there'll be this great banquet the

beautiful description on the holy

mountain there'll be these fine meats

served and then pure choice wine will be

served and indeed we hear there'll be so

much wine that the very hills will run

with it okay okay

against that background look again at

the wedding feast of Cana you don't just

have you know Jesus being a nice guy and

helping out this young couple he is the

God of Israel made flesh and he presents

himself in his first sign as the

bridegroom of his people mind you it was

the responsibility of the bridegroom at

a wedding reception to provide the wine

which is why the steward when he taste

the water made wine comes to the

bridegroom he says hey what are you


most people serve the the good wine

first then when people have drunk a bit

they serve the bad wine you've gone

ahead and served the good wine last

Jesus in other words is the definitive

bridegroom come to marry his people

another step we hear John gives us the

details how much wine was made he said

there were six stone jars each one

holding about thirty gallons of water so

Jesus makes a hundred and eighty gallons

of wine what we're meant to see is the

Isaiah prophecy has come true that when

the bridegroom comes the Messiah the

very hills will run with wine this is

the full meaning it seems to me of the

wedding feast at Cana and this is

exactly what we're meant to see now in a

married couple that's why we come into

church we see them as a hint a sign a

sacrament of that love just one last

observation I mentioned how Jesus first

great sign is turning water into wine

now it's

ordinary wonderful that is how

symbolically resident it is but then at

the wedding mass so after I finished the

homily we move into the Liturgy of the

Eucharist which culminates in what not

just the transformation of water into

wine as marvelous as that is but now the

transformation of wine into the very

blood of Jesus which will now be poured

out on behalf of the people gathered

there and even more extraordinary

wedding banquet is being hosted by the

Son of God right so every mass is not

you know Robert Barron presiding at

something it's Christ I'm acting simply

in Persona Christi in the person of

Christ its Christ hosting a banquet at

which he is serving his very body and

blood acting as the bridegroom come to

marry his people that's what we see

that's what we see whenever two people

get married in church and that is reason

to celebrate