My Dear Sisters and Brothers!
Now I can say that I like both: the taste and the meaning of the cake. I am not going to explore the taste as there is not point discussing tastes. Besides that I am pretty sure that even those who don’t like Tiramisu can get to heaven. Let me focus on the meaning of the cake: “Pick me up” instead.
Before we go to that let me ask you a few questions. What did we celebrate last Wednesday? The Solemnity of St Eugene de Mazenod, the founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate who minister here in your Parish and in so many other places across the planet. What will we celebrate this coming Thursday? The memorial of Blessed Joseph Gerard, a French Oblate who was sent by St Eugene de Mazenod to Africa as a missionary. And the last tricky question. Do you know how this time between the feast days of the two saintly Oblates is called? Novena of prayer for vocations to the Oblate Congregation. It is the time when we remember those two Oblates who followed Christ so faithfully, it is the time when we pray for the Oblates who are following their footsteps so that they could have the same faith. It is the time when we also pray so that new men may have courage and faith to start to follow Christ as Oblates.
In the Gospel for this Mass Jesus talks about keeping his commandments. Before you start thinking what commandments he is talking about let me just tell you that it is exactly the same expression Jesus used to describe the mission his Father gave him. His Father sent him on the mission of saving people.
Today’s Gospel takes us to the Last Supper when Jesus speaks to his closest Apostles. He shares with them his desire to fulfill the commandment of his Father, the mission of salvation that was given to him. When he says to them: “If you love me you will keep my commandments” he invites them to continue his mission, to be part of his mission. They are not to stay in the Last Supper Room forever enjoying its warmth, cosines and uniqueness. No, Jesus looks beyond the walls of the Upper Room, he looks to the horizons of the world where there are people who need to learn about the true God. We could say that he is asking his Apostles very gently: “Are you in?” He is waiting for them to say: “Pick me up!” I don’t think Jesus meant Tiramisu here but he was inviting his Apostles to say: “Lord, pick me up from where I am. I want to be on board with you Jesus.”
This week when we pray for new men to join the Oblates. I would like to give you a homework. Are you excited to get a homework? Sure, you are. In the Gospel Jesus said: “If you love me keep my commandments” and we know now that the commandment means being part of his mission of salvation. That’s the homework. If you see in your family or in the network of the people you know some young men who show interest in prayer, who can pray passionately, who are interested in learning about the faith, about Jesus, ask them: “Have you thought about becoming a priest, an Oblate, a missionary.” Your question may inspire those young men to move out of their little world that can be like that Upper Room in Jerusalem where Jesus had his Last Supper, in order to embrace a fascinating journey being on board with Jesus. You words wan evoke in them the desire to: Tiramisu. What does it mean: “Pick me up.”
Some years ago that was what I said to Jesus: "Pick me up. I am in." What I have learnt over the years is that I am not going to tell him where he should drop me off. I want to stay with him forever. I want to go where he goes.