by Sr. Jo Anne Kelly MMM Ireland 19.11.2023
I read a reflection about the Gospel reading of last Sunday- the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. The writer told about organizing and leading pilgrimages for more or less the same group of people over many years. Every single year the same three or four people were never ready when the coach was due to leave or return.
It reminded me of a time I was working with a group of young women. Three mornings a week they attended classes, with other young women and men in an Institute on the other side of the city from where we lived. It was a very big crowded city. These were treasured classes and nobody wanted to miss them. I was doing the driving. The time to leave was 8.30am to be sure we’d get across in time. Every single morning one girl would come running minutes late, the same girl every day. When we got home one day. I told them from now on I would leave on time with whoever was already in the car. The next day I did so and the same girl got left behind.
She went back to her room collected her pocket money, which was very little at the time, and walked out to the busy road where mini buses were passing. She was not very familiar with the city but she found a bus going to the city centre. There she stepped down into a crowded market area, with traders’ stalls both sides of the road, young men pushing wheelbarrows selling their wares, crowds of people jostling each other, lots of noise and loud music, and rows of buses filling up ready to go off in all directions, their drivers shouting out their destinations, almost impossible to be heard over all the din. . She eventually found a bus going in the direction she wanted and had quite a walk from the main road in to the Institute. She arrived as the last class of the morning was beginning. She told us all this on the way home. I admired her effort and we had lots of fun about it. She also learnt it is good to be alert and ready when there’s something good being offered.
For us there is always something good being offered. Pope Francis once said. “God conceals Himself in the most common and ordinary situations in life and we need to be constantly aware of this reality. There is a danger of not recognizing His coming. He quotes St. Augustine ‘I fear He will pass and I will not recognize him.’ But the l Lord is coming, marking the foundation of our Hope” Perhaps Hope is the one thing we all need in our world today. By our tardiness, or failing to be awake and alert we can miss the gift.