I picked the readings for my husband’s and my wedding over 38 years ago. He sort of gave me that honor, I’ll say. The Gospel passage I chose for the presiding priest to proclaim during our wedding Mass was entitled in my Bible, “The Great Commission.” I thought, “Well, how perfect! I’m marrying a U.S. Army officer and he got commissioned as such when he graduated from the U.S. Military Academy 3 years earlier.” I found it so profound that the account of Jesus’ words to His apostles after His Resurrection were described as a commission, and not just any commission, but “the great” one!
As I read the words in red in my Bible, I saw that Jesus was giving His closest followers their ‘marching orders.’ He prefaces His orders by explaining to them that “All authority in heaven and on earth” has been given to Him. And that is why Jesus is then enabled by His Heavenly Father, and ours, to commission His followers to “Go…and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19)
This makes perfect sense from a Military viewpoint, by the way. When He is given authority to give orders (a commission), the Man Jesus was given authority by His Father, Creator of all and the Ultimate Authority, He is able to give orders that will be followed by His subordinates (the apostles). And they, in turn, have the authority from Jesus to extend that authority over other followers. It’s perfectly straightforward and simple, really.
And all of these commissions come from Love – out of Love, for Love’s sake, from the One who IS Love! So, for a Military wedding, I really didn’t see any better Gospel reading.
I just heard this song (link below) a few days ago and it’s my new favorite! It’s called The Commission. It is, like the commission itself, simple, focused. And if it makes me recall our wedding day, it is doing double duty as a reminder of the Love that initiates everything. It all begins through Him, with Him, and in Him.
A Sacramental Marriage is one that never forgets the grace of God that begins on that day of union between the spouses. God is the third Person in that marriage, just as there are 3 Persons in the Trinity. It is a communal, ongoing relationship permeated and existing because of the love that is there.
So, listen to the song, read the words. Take it in. Whether you are married or not, God is with you! You are never alone. And you are loved by the One who is Love. The only proper response to that knowledge is gratitude – eternal, joyful gratitude.