Archbishop Charles Scicluna spoke of God’s love, much like the love sworn during marriage ceremonies, does not have an expiration or best before date. He also likened the three gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to love, worship, and anger.
In his homily during a mass dedicated to those married in 2018 at St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta, the Archbishop spoke of God’s love being symbolised by a star. The star which served as a beacon directing people to the baby Jesus serves as a reminder to always look up. He then invited the couples to look up with a sense of hope, enthusiasm and courage no matter how challenging it may be.
Mgr. Scicluna said that he will be giving the couples a crucifix at the end of the mass for them to put up somewhere they will need to look up to. The Lord, who is represented by the crucifix, is also represented by the star which gives joy, and married couples can also be stars, according to the Archbishop. “This is the road the Lord has chosen for you to always lift your hearts up high within the life of marriage,” he said.
The Archbishop then went into the three gifts which the three Wise Men gave the baby Jesus in the manger, linking them to married life on the eve of the Epiphany. Gold, in this case, means the love that two married people have for each other, the frankincense which is a reminder of worship and offering worship to the Lord, and the myrrh representing the temptation to anger that is only natural at points, but can be sated in conversation with God.
When it comes to the love shared within a marriage, the Archbishop explained that it can’t be exchanged for gold despite having to go through a similar purification method to reach fruition. In love’s case however, the love between two people needs to be purified with the burning love of the Lord in order to have all imperfections removed making it truly beautiful.
Mgr. Scicluna explained that the frankincense is offered in prayer, much like prayer itself should be offered to God. “Always offer your prayers to God and find a few minutes every day to pray together,” said the Archbishop. He also appealed to the couples to always remember that married life isn’t easy, and the Lord is ready to help. “In every moment do not forget that the love and unity you have for each other is blessed,” said Mgr. Scicluna asking couples to in turn offer that blessing to the Lord.
Turning to myrrh, this was seen as another paradox in that it was used at the time of Jesus as both a medicine and an embalming fluid. The Archbishop likened myrrh to that last straw before either one of the two married people lose their temper with each other. It could be slight pangs of jealousy, extra interruption, or even just not being notified of a change because one’s phone is out of battery. As soon as the temptation to get angry rears its head, the couples were asked to stop for a second and pray to the Lord to offer it to Him.
The Archbishop said that the gifts given to Jesus need to be felt more concretely in our lives, making the feast of the Epiphany make more sense in our daily lives. This was the moment when the Lord truly announced Himself and met the people. Mgr. Scicluna concluded by reminding the congregation that, in the words of St Paul, they who have heard of the love of God will have the strength, courage and generosity to live it every day.