Wedding Anniversary Mass
Honoring the sacred ‘language of the body’
By DAVID MYERS
Southwest Kansas Register
A little boy wriggled in the back pew in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe while his parents, a young couple, urged him gently to be still and listen.
A few moments later, the boy would be lulled into silence as his parents -- and 84 other couples throughout the cathedral -- grasped each others hands and said to one another, “Today, I renew my commitment to you. I promise to love you and honor you all the days of my life.” The boy looked up in quiet awe at the hands clasped above his head, his young mind sure to someday recognize the example his parents, and the many other couples provided at the annual Diocesan Wedding Anniversary Mass, Oct. 17.
“I am delighted to be here with you this afternoon to celebrate this special Mass, this remembering of so many years of faithful married love,” Bishop Ronald M. Gilmore told those gathered. “You are a striking example for the members of the Church in this diocese, and I’m very grateful to you.”
Seated in the cathedral were couples married as little as five years, to Bruno and Marcie Hoffman, who have been married 69 years, the longest married couple in attendance.
There were Donald and Beverly Zinc of Claflin, married 50 years, and their son, Daniel, of Ellinwood, who has been marred to Melanie for 25 years.
There was Arnold Gutierrez in his Sunday best hat and boots, and his wife, Socorro, of Garden City, married 51 years, who posed proudly for a photograph.
And there were dozens more couples, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Concluding the celebration, there was food -- a fine meal of roast beef -- in the social hall; there were the presentation of certificates; there were hugs and handshakes.
But first there was a message by Bishop Gilmore, his homily in which he spoke about keeping “the body and the soul together.”
“God made us with arms to hug our families and our friends. God made us with eyes to see a fellow in need along the highway. God made us with legs to walk over and help a person out. God made us with hands to do our family chores. All these things, and many more besides, show that we are meant to use our bodies to reach our destiny. They show that we are destined to be gifts for one another.”
The bishop said the our bodies speak to us: “It tells us that the body and the soul ought never be in conflict. It tells us that the outside and the inside should be saying the same thing, always. That is the very essence of right living.”
He said that sin is a betrayal of the language of the body, a “separation of body and soul,” while the “moral thing, the right thing, the holy thing is a kind of togetherness of body and soul.”
The bishop explained that perhaps the “ultimate violation of the language of the body was when Judas kissed Jesus in the Garden. Outwardly, Judas was giving him the sign of closest friendship. Inwardly, Judas knew he was really betraying a friend. Separation of body and soul.”
The language of the body, the bishop said, “is nowhere more evident than in what we celebrate today, faithful married love, years and years of it.”
The bishop said that through the example of Christ giving himself to us out of love for us -- a “sacrificial love” found at every Mass through the Eucharist -- we can, with his power and grace, “continue living that language of the body in our time and our place. Thank you for having done so all these many years.”