Married life is a prayer

The Lord Is My Chef Recipe for 40th Wedding Anniversary

Tony and Joyce Lopez, 20 October 2019

Presentation of Our Lord Parish, Filinvest 1, Batasan Hills, QC

Tony and Joyce on their 40th Wedding Anniversary, 20 October 2019 at the Presentation of the Lord Parish, Filinvest I, QC joined by their son Atty. JA and wife Kathleen with two kids, and youngest daughter Rosella.

Every Sunday I write a blog connecting the gospel with a secular song.

As I prepared my homily for your anniversary, Joyce and Tony… “the moment I woke up and before your Mommy Fely put on her make-up, I said a little prayer for you.”

Joyce mom Fely Pollard with late husband Charles’ cousin, Beth Javier.

Of course that is not the theme song of Joyce and Tony. They haven’t met yet in 1967 when Dione Warwick recorded I Say a Little Prayer. But they were already married when it became one of the tracks in the movie “My Best Friend’s Wedding” starring Julia Roberts.

And since this is my “best cousin’s wedding anniversary” in this part of the city, I have thought of reflecting on married life as a form of prayer.

In our gospel we have heard Jesus Christ narrating the parable of the unjust judge and persistent widow to underscore “the necessity to pray always without becoming weary” (Lk. 18:1).

Prayer is an expression of faith.

When there is faith, there is also love.

And when there is prayer, faith, and love, what we have is a relationship, a community of believers who love each other.

People who love and believe with each other always talk and communicate. They make time to be with one another. And most often, that is what really matters with people who love and believe – simply to be together.

Even in silence.

Like prayer.

Joyce: “During our first few years as couple, I was the one always embracing Tony; but, later until now, it is Tony who often hugs and embraces me! Nabaligtad ang scenario.”

Prayer is more than asking things from God but most of all, prayer is a relationship with God expressed with others. That is the beauty of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony: husband and wife are bound together in marriage to become signs of the saving presence of Jesus Christ.

Marriage as a sacrament means it is a prayer as well, a relationship of a man and woman with God as its source and foundation.

I am sure, Joyce and Tony along with all the other married couples here today will agree that married life requires a lot of prayers. In fact, married life is a prayer, a very difficult one that is much needed.

Like in that movie My Best Friend’s Wedding, there are real forces of evil that are trying to destroy couples. So many couples have already fallen, going their separate lives after several years of being together while on the other hand, more and more couples are refusing to get married at all due to this reality of breakups and separations.

And that is why we are celebrating today on this 40th anniversary of Joyce and Tony’s wedding! We are praying with them in expressing our faith and love for them in Christ Jesus. Prayers have kept them together, transforming them into better persons.

At the end of the parable of the persistent widow and unjust judge, Jesus posed a very crucial question for us, especially to every married couple here today: When the Son of Man comes again at the end of time, will he find faith on earth? (Lk.18:8)

Tony and Joyce at Villa San Miguel, Mandaluyong 1979.

And what shall be our response?

“Yes, Lord, you shall find faith when you come again in Joyce and Tony!”

Like Moses in the first reading, they both prayed hard with arms outstretched on many occasions as they battled life’s many challenges and struggles.

“Yes, Lord, you shall find faith when you come again in Joyce and Tony” because they have both proclaimed your word with persistence, whether it is convenient or inconvenient like St. Paul in his second letter to Timothy. They have weathered so many storms in the past 40 years and your words, O Lord, have kept them together, sharing these with their children and with everyone in their life of fidelity and love.

“Yes, Lord, you shall find faith when you come again in Joyce and Tony” now before your altar to renew their vows to love and cherish each other for the rest of their lives!

“Yes, Lord, you shall find faith when you come again” among the many couples gathered here who have remained faithful to each other despite their many sins and failures, weaknesses and shortcomings.

Joyce and Tony, you are not only a prayer of faith but also a homily of the Holy Matrimony, showing us the light and power of Jesus Christ to transform people in prayer and bring them to fulfillment.

Prayer does not change things like typhoons and earthquakes. We cannot ask God in prayer to spare us from getting sick or be exempted from life’s many trials and sufferings. Prayer cannot stop those from happening.

What prayer does is change us, change our attitude so we may hurdle life’s many blows and obstacles. Especially with couples who always find God in their lives, in good times and in bad.

Prayers transform us into better persons as children of God, especially couples who eventually look like brothers and sisters after living together in faith, hope and love.

Tony and Joyce, I am sure everyone in our family and among your friends here can attest to the many good things that have transformed you in the past 40 years.

You have changed to become the best for each other.

In the bible, the number 40 means perfect.

May God continue to perfect you, Tony and Joyce.

Keep us too in your prayers as we pray for you. Amen.

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