What I find profound and insightful about the icon is that it shows Mary and Joseph as young people. Usually he is presented more as a grandfather looking after his pregnant granddaughter rather than a young man who was in love with his bride, isn’t he? But when you read the Gospel carefully you discover that God waited with sending the Archangel Gabriel to Mary until she met this man - Joseph who fell in love with her and when she fell in love with him. Than the Archangel announced to her that she would give birth to God’s only begotten Son Jesus Christ. We know that it happened in Nazareth but we should also treasure that it happened in the context of Mary and Joseph preparing themselves to take this step towards a loving, committed, lifelong relationship between man and woman which in one word is called MARRIAGE.
My Dear Sisters and Brother. Last year Pope Francis published a document on ecology Laudato Si. What does come to your mind when you hear the word ecology? The Earth, the environment, the nature, plants, animals etc. However in a very prophetic way the Pope speaks also about human ecology. He wrote: “Human ecology also implies another profound reality: the relationship between human life and the moral law, which is inscribed in our nature and is necessary for the creation of a more dignified environment.” Some months earlier the Pope spoke of “Complementarity of Man and Woman”: “The crisis in the family has produced an ecological crisis. For social environments, like natural environments, need protection. And although the human race has come to understand the need to address conditions that menace our natural environments, we have been slower to recognize that our fragile social environments are under threat as well, slower in our culture, and also in our Catholic Church. It is therefore essential that we foster a new human ecology.”
Today we join Mary, Jesus and his disciples at Cana Galilee. What tis happening there? A party? Much better, a wedding! With Jesus, Mary and other guests we celebrate a loving, committed, lifelong relationship between a man and a woman, which in one word is called MARRIAGE. Again like in Nazareth the marriage becomes a context for God to reveal himself. After 2000 years every marriage is still an icon, a window into heaven, because as we could hear in our first reading when God wanted to tell his people how much he loved them, how much he was committed to them, he was searching for the right words and the best words he could use were: “Like a young man marrying a virgin, so will your God who build you wed you, and as the bridegroom rejoices in his bride, so will your God rejoice in you.”
Could I ask the wives in this church, when was the last time you addressed your man as husband? A similar question for the gentlemen: When was the last time when you addressed your sweetheart as wife? Please don’t be shy to use this beautiful and profound vocabulary, especially in public. Our young people do need to hear that.
To finish this homily I want to leave you with another picture of a man kissing a woman. I don’t have the picture to put it on the screen so you will need to use your imagination. A couple of years ago my grandfather passed away. When he was being taken for the surgery from which he never woke up my grandma was walking by his side. He said to her: “My wife please kiss me.” They were married for 61 years. When I recall that moment which was reported to me by my siblings I find that it always brings new strength to my own faith. Dear wives and husbands! Your marriage is a great service you render not simply to each other, not only to your own family but also to our Catholic Church and the wider community.