(Editor’s note: Archbishop Gomez kicked off National Marriage Week USA with a special World Marriage Day Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Feb. 10. He celebrated the renewal of marriage vows for nearly 40 couples. In his homily, adapted here, Archbishop Gomez talked about marriage as a vocation, a response to the call of Jesus Christ.)
God is the author of every marriage and marriage is part of his beautiful plan for creation. Through your love, until death do you part, God is calling you to share in his mission, to renew the face of the earth by your love.
So today, we pray for you, my dear married couples. We pray that you grow in holiness as husbands and wives and we pray today in a special way to strengthen the institutions of marriage and the family in our society.
Marriage is an act of faith, an act of discipleship. Marriage is about following Jesus. In entering into marriage, the husband and wife are each responding to the personal call of Jesus Christ.
Jesus calls spouses to join their separate, individual journeys into one new path that Jesus now calls them to walk together with him. As you know in your own lives, marriage is a journey of love, a journey of friendship that grows and deepens day by day.
Marriage is a vocation, a calling from God.
The Lord calls the prophet Isaiah in the first reading today — and he calls each one of us personally: “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?”
And we all want to respond, just as the prophet did: “Here I am, send me!”
The Lord’s call is an invitation to share in his mission. He is sending all of us into the world to be witnesses to his love.
We carry out our mission by working with the grace that he gives us. And we know that he will do great things through us, no matter what our weaknesses and failings.
What Jesus asks of every one of us is faith. In the Gospel today, St. Peter is really frustrated. He has been working hard, fishing all night and he has nothing to show for it.
But Peter has faith in Jesus, he trusts God. So, when Jesus tells him to go to deeper water, to lower his nets again, Peter does just what he is told. Not because he thinks it “makes sense” but because he has faith that Jesus goes with him.
As long as we stay faithful to Jesus, to what he asks of us — he will do the rest. Trust him. Believe in his love for you, personally. Hold fast to the Word of God. Never give in to discouragement. He is really with us!
We need that confidence Peter has, to keep putting out into the deep, keep going deeper in our commitment to Jesus, to the mission he gives us. No matter what happens in life, we need to say as Peter did, “But at your command, I will lower the nets.”
God knows that we have weakness, that we are not perfect. We should never be afraid of the call of Christ! He does not choose us because we are “ready” or because of any great gifts we have.
It is true, sometimes we feel we cannot do it. Isaiah tried to run away from God. He feels he is not worthy, not holy enough to stand in God’s presence. St. Peter does the same thing. He tells Jesus, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
This is the beautiful truth about God. He calls us to follow him and serve him — even though we could never be worthy.
Jesus does not reject us because we are sinful. He does not turn away because we are unclean or unholy. He draws closer to us. He speaks our name. He invites us to be purified and to share in his holiness. He invites us to be holy as he is holy.
If we trust in him and believe in his love, he will give each one of us every good grace to accomplish your mission in life.
For us, this is impossible. But for God everything is possible!
So my dear married couples, Jesus wants to work miracles in our lives, in your marriages. Little miracles of everyday love, of everyday kindness and compassion. This is how we follow Jesus, and this is how we renew the world in his love.
Let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary to intercede for us today and every day. She was with Jesus at the wedding feast of Cana when he sanctified marriage and made it a sacrament.
We ask our Blessed Mother and her spouse St. Joseph to go with you and guide you — that your love will be more and more a divine path that you are walking together with Jesus.