Homily delivered on the Feast of St Joseph for Gayndah community.

Year  C  2022

I take you to be my husband/wife. I promise to be faithful to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love you and honour you all the days of my life. I believe in God. I do not believe in God.


The marriage promises and the statements about God are professions of faith. Such professions are not supported by proof in accord with how western thought understands proof. Western thought works from a particular scientific method where we often hear the words: show me the proof. Marriage promises and statements about God’s existence or non-existence cannot be proved. They are positions, outlooks on life, that people like you and I choose to adopt. This is how I am going to approach the world.


Look at the marriage promise. The first words declare what the bride and groom are doing at the wedding ceremony – they “take” each other as husband and wife. What they “promise” concerns the future. Each says to the other “this is how I am going to treat you each day: I am going to be faithful!” All that you are going to see from now on is my day by day fulfilment of this promise.

In all the readings proclaimed today (and at all celebrations of mass and the sacraments) the Lord brings us face to face with ourselves who profess religious belief. The second reading declares “only faith can guarantee the blessings we hope for, or prove the existence of the realities that at present remain unseen.” The author is speaking of us and the God revealed in the person of Jesus but those words apply to married people as well – only their faith in each other can guarantee the blessings they hope for. They walk with an outlook seen clearly in Abraham and Sarah as the couple journey from all that is familiar trusting that God will honour the divine promise made to them about being the beginnings of nation. We prayed in the opening prayer today that God will bring to perfection the spirit of adoption of us as the Father’s sons and daughters and that we shall enter the inheritance God promised.


Seeing ourselves as sons and daughters and receiving inheritances are all faith positions. But they are faith positions that Jesus asks us to take to ourselves as they are the path to richness that will never fail unlike savings, stocks and shares, property and other material things. Jesus want us to have himself as our treasure and have our hearts set on him and his way of living. Our Lord wants us to be people of action who offer generously from the richness we have received. All that we have – life, relationships, abilities – we have received on trust for the enriching of that part of the world with which we are at home. We long to hear, when our life’s journey here comes to an end, our Lord say to us” well done, good and faithful servant. Come enjoy your Father’s home.


Those whose faith is in a world without God, whose lives are lived without reference to the Father, Son and Spirit, to a mission of their own making, will often exhibit qualities that we associate with Christian belief. Such experience asks the question then what difference does looking at the world as Jesus looked at it make. The major difference is the lack of a possible personal encounter with Jesus, the loving and enduring companionship, the absence of a wisdom source one can easily turn to and a community of men and women who share the outlook and support each other in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, who love and honour us every day of our lives. Those words of the marriage promise can be embraced by all.