Be Imitators of Me, as I am of Christ

Some of my faithful readers have wondered where I have been. No, much to the consternation of the devil, I’m still alive and preaching.

I had the honor and privilege of making a rare public appearance to, technologically mediately, preach at the nuptials of one of my cousins. Which here follows:

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

These words come from St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. It inspired me in what to say today, but not in a prideful way, but in a way that acknowledges what you can plainly see. I, like St. Paul, have been given a great cross to bear, and so in a humble way I want to encourage you Jordan and Paige, to imitate Jesus the Messiah by imitating me.

I think most of you have been to enough family weddings to know the basic message of my marriage homilies. But in case you need a recap, it comes from the book of Ephesians where St Paul reminds Married couples that it is the husband’s role to love his wife in the way Jesus did, on the Cross, by dying for his wife so that through the husbands dying to self he may present his bride pure and undefiled to God on the day of her death.

In short, it is your job Jordan, to get your beautiful bride Paige, no matter the cost, to heaven.. And when I say no matter the cost, I mean it.

Since I last preached at a family wedding, I have learned a lot about suffering and what it means to give everything for the sake of the Beloved.

I don’t normally preach about myself at weddings, but I think I am an example, even though a poor one, of what it means to give everything for the sake of the bride.

You see, we priests are married in a way too. On the day of our ordination, we symbolically lay on the cold, hard, floor of the cathedral. It’s a symbolic gesture that we are laying it all down for the sake of our bride, the Church. Like you Jordan, on that day I committed to the Cross. I committed to do whatever it takes to get my bride the Church, to heaven. And I meant it. I pray that you do too. I hope you mean it even, if God forbid, you suffer from a debilitating disease, you offer it all for your bride, that she will appear, because of your cross, before God spotless and undefiled.

But it means that you will encounter the Cross. The Lord has given me a particularly hard, yet beautiful Cross to offer for the salvation of my bride. I choose it, like you should choose whatever Cross comes your way for the salvation of your bride, even if it takes away your ability to walk, talk, eat, and breath. All for the bride! All for the one we love! All for the salvation of the bride!

I pray that God spares everyone this disease, but if not, I pray that they offer it willingly for their bride.

This is why I say be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

Christ suffered much more than me, but my suffering is no walk in the park. You Jordan, will have, I pray, lesser sufferings, but no matter what it is, it must be for your bride. And you Paige, your job is to receive the love Jordan offers you. Whether it means laying down his literal life like I am called to do for my bride, or something more simple like taking out the trash or giving a foot rub. There are many ways to die for your bride. But if you want to get her to heaven, then die you must. It’s not optional.

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.