Tuesday of the Twenty-NinthWeek in Ordinary Time

Waiting in the vigilance 

“Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants.  Lk 12,35-38

At the beginning of 1938 the aunt Noemi, sister of the grandfather Renzo, was recently married and she was pregnant when her husband, the uncle Beppe, was called to the military service and sent to fight in Africa. Later, he fought in Albania, Greece and, eventually, he was also a prisoner in Russia. He stayed away from home for almost nine years, during which he could write to the aunt no more than a dozen letters. He returned home in late 1946. A freight train stopped at Rosignano, he came down and, with his knapsack on his back, walked up to Castiglioncello, from where he started and where he was expected at home by aunt Noemi and his son Franco, who until the age of eight years had seen him only in the photographs. When a cyclist, who had recognized and overtaken him on the street, noticed to the aunt Moemi that the uncle Beppe was returning, she put away the needle and placed down the trousers which she was sowing, she ran up in the middle of the road and they remained embraced in silence, with tears in their eyes for a long time. Every time I read this passage from the gospel which calls for “vigilance” and “fidelity”, I  cannot give up but think of the aunt Naomi, who, day after day, for almost nine years, worked as a seamstress and she has grown my cousin Franco, being always industrious, faithful and never losing the hope in the return of  the uncle Beppe. What is the christian life if not an active and industrious waiting, faithful to the Lord and in the vigilance, with the belt on the sides, to be ready to go, and the light always on, not to fall asleep? “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes” says the Lord today. However, to be loyal and vigilant is not all: we are also required to be prophets of expectation, those who keep awake the others with whom they live, not to wait alone. It is the expectation of the Church and it was also the long wait of the aunt Naomi, who  was speaking of his father every day to his son. When the uncle Beppe and the aunt Naomi, after the last stretch of road from Rosignano to Castiglioncello keeping together hand in hand, set foot in the house, his son Franco knew him immediately  and he exclaimed: “Daddy!”.

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