First Sunday of Advent
The end of the days
For as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In (those) days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be (also) at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared. Mt 24,37-44
In his last years the grandfather Renzo was used to spend a significant number of hours being sited in the garden of the Castiglioncello house. He was getting pleasure from the company of the grandsons, narrating to them the little stories of his childhood, the first blusters at school and his walking bare-footed in the sunny fields, during summertime. His preferred remembrance of his boyhood was, indeed, his walking around in the country looking for fruits to be pilfered or, as he was saying, mentioning Manzoni, to “alleviate the countrymen from the fatigue of the grape-gathering”. When the grandsons were at the seaside and he remained alone at home, the grandfather Renzo was often sitting in the garden to look, across the gate, the people walking in the street; he was then thinking to the grandmother Rita, died some years before, alternating the remembrances with some prayer. His real way to pray was to ponder on the mystery of the life, getting pleasure about and, by the same time, keeping away from everything which appeared useless to him, to prepare himself to the meeting with the Lord. This was his way of “trading” the last change of the talents which he had received.
The curtain of the new liturgical year opens today with the scenario of the end of the days: it is an eschatological view of the history, of the creation, of the universe. We are not allowed to know the way the end of the time will take place but, due to our faith, we know that it will happen, because everything which has been created or which is born, eventually it dies.. Also the time, created by God with the world, will end. We know only that it will be a glorious and joyful end, a feast of the man and of the entire creation, finally liberated from the sin and saved by Jesus Christ, our Lord. We do not know nothing more, but this is enough. We can only realize how all this will happen by pondering on the end of our days on the earth. Each creature of this world, also the smallest and the less significant, represents in fact the entire history of the universe, by the same way in which – father Raniero would say – “a drop of dew on the edge of a country road reflects the whole vault of the sky”.