This Homily was given to couples preparing for Marriage in Oxford. The Gospel (John 20:19-31) reminds us that unlike Doubting Thomas most of us have to believe in God without seeing him. This is difficult for many modern people who seem convinced that nothing exists unless it can be seen.
But actually all the most important things for us humans are things we cannot see. And you know that well because all of you are here because of your love for one another, and that is certainly something that cannot be seen.
Oh yes, you may think you can see that your partner loves you by the way he or she treats you, but actually you have to face the fact that all that they are saying or doing might simply be a pretence. We actually had one couple, at one of these Marriage Preparation Days once, who was later discovered to be having an affair with someone else even as he went through the Marriage ceremony!
So the love you are basing your life on as a couple is not something you can see. It is much deeper than that, and so along with lots of other really important things in our human lives we put our trust in things that we cannot see.
Most of the first Christians that we heard of in our 1st reading (Acts 4:32-35) also did not actually see the risen Jesus, and yet their faith in him changed their lives. In fact it looks as if they stopped living as individual families, and in those very early days appear to have lived as a community, so that “everything they owned was held in common”
So it is this faith in things that are invisible that actually changed their world and even today changes the way people live. You will base the rest of your life together, which may be a very long time, on your trust in that invisible bond that will hold you together. Putting that trust in one another, through bad times as well as good times, is what marriage is all about.
So true marriage is actually a sign of the presence of God – a very special calling