San Tommaso da Villanova Church at the main square in Castel Gandolfo, the pope's summer residence.

San Tommaso da Villanova Church at the main square in Castel Gandolfo, the pope’s summer residence.

A reflection by pilgrim Ami Conlan

In today’s Gospel, at the Mass celebrated at San Tommaso Da Villanova Church located in Castel Gandolfo, Jesus asks, “Why do you not know how to interpret the present time?” (Lk 12:56). He says how easy it is for his followers to determine what the weather will be based on conditions, yet, they rely on others to make decisions or perhaps they are complacent in deciding what to do when it comes to solving problems or making important choices. This week we were challenged to look for God’s presence in all things; to notice God active in the steps we would take following St. Ignatius’ life in Rome and learning more about the history, mission and ministry of the Jesuits.

It has been a week filled with countless opportunities to notice God: beautiful views such as the one today overlooking Lake Albano; the breathtaking rooftop view of St. Peter’s and Rome from the Jesuit Curia; Mass at San Ignazio; the intellect, vision, stories and insights shared in homilies, conversations and presentations by the Jesuit priests and guests walking with us; standing in the rooms where Ignatius’ human life and life’s work were concluded; conversations among those who shared the desire to encounter each other’s journey while enjoying all that Rome culturally offers; and experiencing the real reverence and grace among 6,000 others who prayed with and were blessed by the audience with Pope Francis.

While I did notice God active and present, I needed today’s Scripture to go deeper into the challenge, to notice how I am being asked to serve, observe and respond responsibly. Yes, today’s weather was cloudy, and I could predict rain. But what am I to do with the depth of experience and activity of this week that were also obvious? I don’t think Jesus asks us to make decisions in haste but to carefully pay attention to what moved us, to face what we may fear and to recognize it all as gift. So I leave Rome challenging my complacency, alert to what I am resisting and empowered to interpret my response in the present time.