While dying St Eugene told his Oblates: “When I am no longer with you, there will be somebody who will take my place in authority, someone who will appreciate you according to your merits, but who will never love you as I have loved you.” He let them hear what was happening in his heart. How important it is that he didn’t keep it secret, that he allowed others to hear it.
This is something I would like to reflect on with you my Dear Sister and Brothers. Believing in God is not a private matter. It is something that changes us to such an extent that we cannot contain it. It flows out of us. It radiates from us.
Sometime ago I came across a T-shirt which had written on it: “I am a Christian. Ask me why.” I was so captivated by it that I couldn’t help but to buy it. Then I remembered what the first Pope, St Peter, wrote in his Letter: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have.” If I had to answer why I am a Christian I would simply say: IT IS BECAUSE OF JESUS. There is no other reason that I have persevered in my faith. It is because of who he is. He is God but he is Emmanuel – God with us, God who loves being with us, not only when we are glorious but also when we are inglorious too, when we are crushed, hurting, etc. When Jesus prayed at the end of the Last Supper, as we could hear a few minutes ago, he revealed some great secrets. He was praying to his Father: “Eternal life is this, to know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” He didn’t mean some publications or the Internet where we could learn about him but he meant knowledge which comes from sharing his life.
When the Oblates heard Eugene saying about his love for them they already knew it. They knew that the Founder loved them because they experienced it over the years; still they were delighted to hear it because it is great to hear truth. And that’s a lesson we can take from the Word of God for this Sunday. If I find that I am loved by my Lord I want to tell the world about that because the world needs to know that Jesus is for real, that’s his love is for real.