I, too, have difficulties in making all weddings and funerals. I have not even been able to make all weddings of my nephews and nieces. And I must admit that I even thought of homilies that I might have given had I been there. Below is a homily that was never delivered, but composed in my mind many times. I have finally put it into words.
Wedding Homily for Phil Hoppe and Tara Torgrimson
Based on 1 Corinthians -- 12: 31-- 13: 8 and John 15: 9-12
Love Me Tender
Tara, I will speak to you directly this afternoon. As you know I am the uncle of your soon to be husband. Phil came to Mount Michael when he was only 14 years old. I knew that Phil was a good worker and that he would do well in lots of things, but one area where I knew that I could get much out of him was in the area of the work/study program. It is a program by which MM students work to help pay for board and tuition. I was in charge of this program for a good number of years. And I must admit that Phil was one of the best workers that I have ever had.
I knew that Phil liked to go to bed early and get up early.(This is a character quality that makes a good monk!) So I took full advantage of this. He was on top of my list to keep the kitchen dish crew running smoothly the first thing in the morning. He was awesome-- never complained-- just did his work and got the others on his crew to follow his example. Phil has always been a man of few words. His actions speak for him. (This is another character quality that makes a good monk.)
And what a painter Phil is! It was a joy to have him and his brothers in the summer time. We could do all sorts of things out doors and we painted alot. He is really good with heights or at least he was when he was young. He was fearless. He helped me paint the huge white barn that we have at MM and he was daring. He even got up on the roof and crawled out to the tip of the peak that is the over hang of the building -- where the big door to the hay loft comes open. He would lay there with his paint brush and trim the edges of the siding that could not be reached by a ladder. It was incredible. He also did this at Grandpa's home as well -- that beautiful red barn on the home place. Tara, turst me, this man will climb the highest of heights to be loyal and true. He is a dedicated person.
Phil's Mom has been a fan of Elvis Presley almost all of her life. But then, of course, you know that by now Tara. Phil grew up on Elvis' music. Perhaps he sings "Love Me Tender" to you.
But perhaps Tara and Phil, there is a version of "Love Me Tender" that came way before Presley. St. Paul's letter to the Corinthians that you heard a few minutes ago really says it all ---love is patient... love is kind -- love is not quick-tempered.... love does not seek its own interests-- it bears all things -- believes all things -- hopes all things -- edures all things ---
Phil and Tara -- LOVE IS NOT RUDE and Elvis is right love is meant to be TENDER--
And then if you couple St. Paul's reading with St. John's gospel, you have the mission statement for your marriage and what will carry you two for the rest of your lives. --- This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. Phil and Tara, you are both very loved by your families and of course, by God.
All love comes from God and if you continue in that love you will always remain in God. And then God is always with you and you continue to create family and it goes on and on.
And so Tara, we give Phil to you today. It would have been nice to have him in my community, especially because of his character qualities. But he has chosen you, you have chosen him and God chooses both of you together!
Love me tender -- love me true -- love is not rude -- God is love -- and all I ask is that you love one another!
Congratulations to you both on the first day of your life together and forever and forever.
One more version of "Love Me Tender" -- I have recently discovered a young singer whom I really like to listen to-- David Archuleta. I hope you like his adaptation of "Love Me Tender".