Piano di Sorrento, Bishop Mons. Arturo Aiello: “Pasquale will take you to Capri and you will carry him in your heart”
Piano di Sorrento. Archbishop Arturo Aiello celebrated the closing Mass of the month of June in the Basilica of San Michele Arcangelo. His homily was profound and touching: «In life only the experience that has been associated with a pain remains imprinted on us, everything that is crossed by pain certainly has a future in the memory, the other things escape our mind. Pain is a fixative, it eternalizes in some way.
Jesus in the Gospel of last Sunday told us that “whoever puts his hand to the plow and turns back is not worthy of me”. In the Old Testament Lot’s wife turned back and became a pillar of salt, she never had a day of joy again. Turning back is our great temptation. For married couples, looking back is going to see that girl I was in love with when I was a teenager, maybe she is in a marital crisis and that memory, that cell phone number becomes an escape.
Even we priests, bishops and deacons are sometimes tempted to look back and think about what we have left. They are somehow human nostalgia but also very dangerous.
In certain moments we do not want to be alone because in certain moments we would like to be at least two, because when there is a choice to make or experience pain we gather almost naturally, even overcoming those asti that cross our days, our daily life.
The imperative pronounced by Jesus is: “You follow me”. I am the teacher who decides his way for each one. There are times when we end up being alone and it is not the case that we extend our hand because it is the time to be alone. I always say this to the graduates for the celebration of the night before the exams that, even if there were no other reasons and other values to support the solemnity of the final exams, the first truly dramatic experience of solitude is enough for those exams. The eighteen-year-old stands there in front of the paper and uselessly can have 500 likes on his mobile phone, his parents are uselessly on their knees and uselessly has many friends. Everyone is faced with a test in a solitary way. That experience seems very educational to me because many times the young person will find himself alone in the intersections, traffic jams and junctions of life. Because getting together, having a reunion, making ropes is beautiful but life is not this, life puts you in front of choices, in front of tragedies, in front of certain condemnations alone.
And if this is true for life’s choices, it is all the more true in this unique relationship which I already referred to eight days ago when I commented on Jesus’ phrase: “Do you love me more than these?”. Now Peter doesn’t have to care about John. “You follow me”. In some way a farewell is also celebrated between Peter and John who constitute two symbolic figures in the history of the early Church because Peter is the man of the institution and John is the man representing the prophecy, the charisma, that is, everything that is not manages to encapsulate within a formula, within the Vatican walls.
I thought I’d go back with you a few moments, some images, some even very far away. For example the July 7, 1979 when the members of the “Ciao” group I grew up with saw me here, lying in front of the altar and they wanted to interrupt the celebration by saying. “Why are you leaving now? Why does this wonderful eighteenth-century balustrade of our basilica separate us now? Where are you going? But we grew up together ”. I too felt an affection for them but we have different vocations, as life has clarified. Then I think of the November 28, 2005 when I was in front of my Bishop fearing that he had summoned me for a rebuke and instead I heard myself say: “I have given your name for the episcopate”. And then the8 maggio 2006 when the phone rang and someone said to me: “The Nuncio wants to talk to you”. On 10 May with Don Rito, then a deacon, we left by car. I left as a priest and returned appointed Bishop of Teano-Calvi.
On May 13 there was the announcement and then that month of June began which was the most difficult, as I imagine it was for Pasquale. The one in which it is necessary to preach, to encourage and instead in the heart there is death. Why do I have to part with this community? I was asking myself and Don Pasquale must have asked.
Someone said: “Maybe it’s better not to get attached” because every time we become attached then someone leaves.
As stated in the “Little Prince” it is time that makes the rose your rose. You live this with your children, when a person leaves, when once the sailors went to sea sometimes without returning, when a coffin leaves and when a love closes and we ask ourselves: “But then all this affection was needed. , all this time?”. The answer is yes, it helped. And we will continue to grow fond of us and this is our greatness, we will continue to grow fond of us to be able to say goodbye. The Little Prince says to the fox: “It served that we became friends, that we tamed ourselves, wouldn’t it have been better to stay away?”. The parish priest is the parish priest from afar and we the robotized faithful without feelings. What have you gained from it? You all know the answer because we have read and reread the Little Prince. The answer is: “The color of the grain”. Because whenever the fox sees a wheat field it will think of the Little Prince with his blond hair and the wheat field takes on an added value because it envelops us and cloaks itself with a memory that embellishes it, otherwise any wheat field would be vulgar. . And that any rose and not my rose, the one I wasted so much time for.
Pasquale will take you to Capri and you will carry it in your heart. Will Pasquale come back from Capri? It does not matter.
Sometimes we would like to be many and instead we are alone in front of a call, a destiny, something that sets us apart wonderfully and dramatically.
“I love you therefore I leave you”, said to the beloved stones, those of childhood, those of the parish center, those of the basilica. “I love you therefore I say goodbye”, He leads me away from you, away from me, away from the infinite shipwrecks of light ».