by Fr. Jack McArdle with Aneel Aranha
If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!' "
There is a chat-show programme on Irish television that has just completed its thirty-seventh year run, and the host of all those years has retired. From time to time, on the show, there was quiz for a very valuable prize. A question was asked, and people were invited to write in with their answers, and all the correct answers were put in drum, from which one card was drawn the following week.
Each entrant was asked to supply a phone number, and it was vital that the person be available to take a call at that number if that name was drawn. When the name was drawn, the host of the show would phone that person, either to ask another question, or to simply tell the person that he or she had won the prize. The snag was that, when the phone rang in the house, the actual person whose name was on the card had to take the phone-call. If that person was out on that night, another card was drawn, and a second phone-call made.
On many occasions the person was not available for the phone call, and, on at least a few occasions, even the second person called was not available either. Imagine how the people felt when they learned that a prize worth several thousand pounds had eluded them, just because they were not at the place where they were expected to be on the night. The groans from the audience was nothing to what must have happened when the person whose name was drawn learned what had happened.
There was one particularly funny innocent when a bright young person, probably aged about ten or twelve, understanding the predicament, tried to brave it out, and pretend that she, in fact, was her mother! It was quite obvious to the listeners that it was a child's voice, and, even if she didn't succeed in getting away with it, she earned prolonged applause for the attempt!
Jesus tells us to stand close to the phone, because he certainly will call some day, and he hopes to find us available ...
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