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The Rite of Marriage – Readings

Old Testament Readings (First Reading)

Genesis 1:26-28.31

Male and Female he created them

God said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea; and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.' And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.

 

Genesis 2:18-24

They become one flesh

The Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.' So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.' Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.

 

Genesis 24:48-51.58-67

Isaac loved Rebecca, and so he was comforted after his mother's death

Abraham's servant said to Laban, 'I blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way to take the daughter of my master's kinsman for his son. Now then, if you will deal loyally and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand or to the left.'

Then Laban and Bethuel answered, The thing comes from the Lord; we cannot speak to you bad or good. Behold, Rebecca is before you, take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master's son, as the Lord has spoken.'

And they called Rebecca, and said to her, 'Will you go with this man?' She said, 'I will go.' So they sent away Rebecca their sister and her nurse, and Abraham's servant and his men. And they blessed Rebecca, and said to her, 'Our sister, be the mother of thousands of ten thousands; and may your descendants possess the gate of those who hate them!' Then Rebecca and her maids arose, and rode upon the camels and followed the man; thus the servant took Rebecca, and went his way.

Now Isaac had come from Beerlahairoi, and was dwelling in the Negeb. And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there were camels coming. And Rebecca lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she alighted from the camel, and said to the servant, 'Who is the man yonder, walking in the field to meet us?' The servant said, 'It is my master.' So she took her veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into the tent, and took Rebecca, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.

 

Tobit 7:8-15

The merciful God will guide you both.

Tobias said to Raphael, 'Brother Azarias, speak of those things which you talked about on the journey, and let the matter be settled.' So he communicated the proposal to Raguel. And Raguel said to Tobias, 'Eat, drink, and be merry; for it is your right to take my child.' And Tobias said, 'I will eat nothing here until you make a binding agreement with me.' So Raguel said, Take her right now, in accordance with the law. You are her relative, and she is yours. The merciful God will guide you both for the best.' Then he called his daughter Sarah, and taking her by the hand he gave her to Tobias to be his wife, saying, 'Here she is; take her according to the law of Moses, and take her with you to your father.' And he blessed them. Next he called his wife Edna, and took a scroll and wrote out the contract; and they set their seals to it. Then they began to eat.

 

Tobit 8:4b-8

Grant that I may grow old together with her.

On their wedding night Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife, “My love, get up. Let us pray and beg our Lord to have mercy on us and to grant us deliverance.” She got up, and they started to pray and beg that deliverance might be theirs.

He began with these words: “Blessed are you, O God of our fathers; praised be your name forever and ever. Let the heavens and all your creation praise you forever.

You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve to be his help and support; and from these two the human race descended. You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a partner like himself.’

Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine not because of lust, but for a noble purpose. Call down your mercy on me and on her, and allow us to live together to a happy old age.” They said together, “Amen, amen.”

 

Song of Solomon (Song of Songs) 2:8-10.14.16; 8:6-7

Love is strong as death.

The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes, leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills.

My beloved is like a gazelle, or a young stag. Behold, there he stands behind our wall, gazing in at the windows, looking through the lattice.

My beloved speaks and says to me: 'Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away. O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is comely.'

My beloved is mine and I am his.

'Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.'

 

Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 26:1-4.13-16

Like the sun rising, so is the beauty of a good wife in her well-ordered home.

Happy is the husband of a good wife;

the number of his days will be doubled.

A loyal wife rejoices her husband,

and he will complete his years in peace.

A good wife is a great blessing;

she will be granted among the blessings of the man who fears the Lord.

Whether rich or poor, his heart is glad,

and at all times his face is cheerful.

A wife's charm delights her husband,

and her skill puts fat on his bones.

A silent wife is a gift of the Lord,

and there is nothing so precious as a disciplined soul.

A modest wife adds charm to charm, and no balance can weigh the value of a chaste soul.

Like the sun rising in the heights of the Lord,
So is the beauty of a good wife in her well-ordered home.

 

Jeremiah 31:31-34

I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah.

'Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbour and each his brother, saying, "Know the Lord," for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord.'

 

New Testament Readings (Second Reading)

Romans 8:31-35.37-39

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

 

If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies; who is to condemn? Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Romans 12:1-2.9-18

Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, acceptable to God.

I appeal to you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all.

 

1 Corinthians 6:13-15.17-20

Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.

The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? He who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

 

1 Corinthians 12:31-13:8

If I have not love, I gain nothing.

Earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.

 

Ephesians 5:2.21-33

This is a great mystery, and I take it to mean Christ and the church.

Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Saviour. As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one.' This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

 

Colossians 3:12-17

Above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Put on, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as you teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

 

1 Peter 3:1-9

All of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love of the brethren.

You wives should be subordinate to your husbands so that, even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word by their wives’ conduct when they observe your reverent and chaste behavior. Your adornment should not be an external one: braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, or dressing in fine clothes, but rather the hidden character of the heart, expressed in the imperishable beauty of a gentle and calm disposition, which is precious in the sight of God. For this is also how the holy women who hoped in God once used to adorn themselves and were subordinate to their husbands; thus Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him “lord.” You are her children when you do what is good and fear no intimidation.

Likewise, you husbands should live with your wives in understanding, showing honor to the weaker female sex, since we are joint heirs of the gift of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

Finally, all of you, be of one mind, sympathetic, loving toward one another, compassionate, humble. Do not return evil for evil, or insult for insult; but, on the contrary, a blessing, because to this you were called, that you might inherit a blessing.

 

1 John 3:18-24

Let us love in deed and in truth.

Little children,, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Beloved if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. All who keep his commandments abide in him, and he in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he had given us.

 

1 John 4:7-11

God is love.

Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

 

Apocalypse (Revelation) 19:1.5-9

Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.

I, John, heard what seemed to be the mighty voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying, 'Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God.' And from the throne came a voice crying
“Praise our God, all you his servants You who fear him, small and great”.
'Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.' Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying, 'Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure' — for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints And the angel said to me, 'Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'

 

Gospel Readings

Matthew 5:1-12

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.

Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
'Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
'Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
'Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
'Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
'Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.'

Matthew 5:13-16

You are the light of the world.

Jesus said to his disciples, 'You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.
'You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.'

Matthew 7:21.24-29

He built his house on the rock.

Jesus said to his disciples, 'Not every one who says to me, "Lord, Lord," shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
'Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.'
And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

Matthew 19:3-6

What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.

Pharisees came up to Jesus and tested him by asking, 'Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?' He answered, 'Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one"? So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.'

Matthew 22:35-40

This is the great and the first commandment. The second resembles it.

A lawyer, to disconcert Jesus, put a question, "Master, which is the great commandment of the Law?"
Jesus said, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself.
On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also."

Mark 10:6-9

They are no longer two but one.

Jesus said, 'From the beginning of creation, "God made them male and female." "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one." So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together let not man put asunder.'

John 2:1-11

This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.
When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. Them he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, Without knowing where it came from – although the servants who had drawn the water knew – the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.”
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.

John 15:9-12

Abide in my love.

Jesus said to his disciples, 'As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my com­mandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.'

John 15:12-16

This is my commandment, that you love one another.

Jesus said to his disciples, This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life, for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.'

John 17:20-26

That they may become perfectly one.

Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, 'Holy Father, I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou has sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world. 0 righteous Father, the world has not known thee, but I have known thee; and these know that thou hast sent me. I made known to them thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.'