12th October 1944.
A most clear dawn over the Lake of Galilee. The sky and the water sparkle with rosy flashes, not very different from the mild ones shining on the walls of the little orchards of the lake-village, where fruit trees, with their unkempt, luxuriant foliage, seem to rise from the orchards and peep at the little lanes, bending over them.
The village is beginning to awaken: women start going to the fountain or to the washing place, while fishermen unload the baskets of fish, or haggle over prices, in very loud voices, with merchants who have come from other villages, while others carry the fish to their houses. I called it a village, but it is not a very small one. It is rather a modest place, at least what I see of it, but it is quite large and spreads generally along the lake.
John comes out of a little street and goes quickly towards the lake. James follows him, but much more calmly. John looks at the boats which are already on the shore, but cannot see the one he is looking for. He sees it while it is still about one hundred yards from the beach, manoeuvring to enter the harbour, and holding his hands at the sides of his mouth, he shouts at the top of his voice, a long « Oh-e! », which must be their usual call. When he sees that they have heard him, he gesticulates with both his arms, obviously meaning: « Come, come. »
The men in the boat, not knowing what is the matter, lay on the oars, and the boat moves faster than it did with the sail, which they have struck, probably to gain time. When they are about ten meters from the shore, John does not wait any longer. He takes off his mantle and his long tunic, and throws them on the shore, takes off his sandals, lifts his undertunic and holds it with one hand almost against his groin, then goes into the water to meet the boat arriving.
« Why did you two not come? » asks Andrew. Peter, sulkily, does not say one word.
« And why did you not come with me and James? » John replies to Andrew.
« I went fishing. I have no time to waste. You disappeared with that man…»
« I beckoned you to come. It is Him. You should hear His words!… We stayed with Him all day until late at night. We have now come to say to you: “Come.”»
« Is it really Him? Are you sure? We only saw Him then, when the Baptist pointed Him out to us. »
« It is Him. He did not deny it. »
« Anyone can say what suits him to impose himself on dupes. It is not the first time… » mumbles Peter, dissatisfied.
« Oh, Simon! Don't say that! He is the Messiah! He knows everything! He hears you » John is grieved and dismayed at Simon Peter's words.
« Sure! The Messiah! And He showed Himself to you, James and Andrew! Three poor ignorant fishermen! The Messiah will need much more than that! And He hears me! Eh! My poor boy. The first sunshine of spring has damaged your brains! Come on, come and do some work. That's much better. And forget such fairy tales! »
« I'm telling you. He is the Messiah! John said holy things, but He speaks of God. Who is not Christ cannot speak such words. »
« Simon, I am not a boy. I am old enough and I am composed and thoughtful. You know that. I did not speak much, but I listened a lot during the hours we spent with the Lamb of God and I can tell you that really He can but be the Messiah! Why don't you believe? Why do you not want to believe? You may not believe, because you have not heard Him. But I believe Him. We are poor and ignorant? Well, He says that He has come to announce the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, of the Kingdom of peace, to the poor, humble and little ones before the great ones. He said: “The great ones already have their delights. They are not enviable delights when compared with the ones I have come to bring you. The great ones are already capable of understanding by means of their culture. But I have come to the 'little' ones of Israel and of the world, to those who weep and hope, to those who seek Light and are hungry for the real Manna, to whom learned men do not give light and food, but only burdens, darkness, chains, contempt. And I call the 'little ones'. I have come to turn the world upside down. Because I will lower what is now held high, and I will raise what is now held in contempt. Let those who want the truth and peace, who want eternal life, come to Me. Those who love Light, let them come to Me. I am the Light of the world.” Did He not say that, John? » James has spoken in a calm, gentle voice.
« Yes, and He said: “The world will not love Me. The great world will not love Me, because it is corrupted by vices and idolatry. Nay, the world will not want Me, because as it is the offspring of Darkness, it does not love the Light. But the earth is not made only of the great world. There are on it also those who, mixed with the world, are not of the world. There are people who are of the world because they have been imprisoned in it, like fish in a net.” He said exactly that, because we were speaking on the shore of the lake and He was pointing to some nets which were being dragged to the shore with fish in them. Nay, He said: “See. None of those fish wanted to be caught in the net. Also men, intentionally, would not like to fall prey to Mammon. Not even the most wicked who, blinded by pride, do not believe they have no right to do what they do. Their real sin is pride. All the other sins grow from it. Those who are not completely wicked, would like even less to fall prey to Mammon. But they fall because of their frivolity and because of a weight that drags them to the bottom, and which is Adam's sin. I have come to remove that sin, and while awaiting the hour of Redemption, to give those who believe in Me a strength such that will enable them to free themselves from the snares that trap them and will make them free to follow Me, the Light of the world.” »
« Well then, if He said that, we must go to Him at once. » Peter, with his impulsiveness, which is so genuine and I like so much, has decided at once, and is already acting accordingly, hastening to unload the boat which has already reached the shore: the fishermen have almost beached it, unloading nets, ropes and sails. « And you, silly Andrew, why did you not go with them?!… »
« But… Simon! You reproached me because I did not persuade them to come with me… You have been grumbling all night, and now you rebuke me because I did not go?! »
« You are right… But I did not see Him… you did… and you must have seen that He is not like us… He must have something compelling!… »
« Oh! Yes. » John says. « His face! His eyes! What beautiful eyes, aren't they, James?! And His voice! … Oh! What a voice! When He speaks, you seem to be dreaming of Heaven. »
« Quick, quick. Let's go and see Him. And you, (addressing the other fishermen) take everything to Zebedee and tell him to do as he thinks best. We will be back this evening in time to go fishing. »
They all get dressed and set out. But Peter, after a few yards stops and gets hold of John's arm and asks him. « Did you say that He knows everything, and hears everything?… »
« Yes, I did. Just think that when we saw the moon high up in the sky, I said: “I wonder what Simon will be doing now”, and He said: “He is casting his net and he cannot set his mind at rest because he has to do it all by himself, since you did not go out with the twin boat in such a good evening for fishing… he does not know that before long he will be fishing with different nets and catching different fish.” »
« Holy Mercy! It's true! Well, He will also have heard… also that I called Him little less than a liar… I can't go to Him! »
« Oh! He is so good. He certainly knows what you thought. He already knew. Because when we left Him saying that we were coming to you, He said: “Go. But don't let the first words of contempt discourage you. Who wants to come with Me must be able to make headway against the sneering words of the world and the prohibitions of relatives. Because I am above blood and society, and I triumph over them. And who is with Me will also triumph forever.” And He also said: “Don't be afraid to speak. The man who hears will come, because he is a man of good will.” »
« Is that what He said? Well, I'll come. Speak, speak of Him, while we are going. Where is He? »
« In a poor house; they must be His friends. »
« Is He poor? »
« A workman from Nazareth. So He said. »
« And how does He live now, if He does not work any longer? »
« We did not ask Him. Perhaps His relatives help Him. »
« It would have been better if we had brought some fish, some bread and fruit… something. We are going to consult a rabbi, because He is like… He is more than a rabbi, and we are going empty-handed! Our rabbis don't like that… »
« But He does. We had but twenty pennies between us, James and I, and we offered Him them, as is customary with rabbis. He did not want them. But since we insisted so much, He said: “May God reward you with the blessings of the poor. Come with Me” and He gave them to some poor people: He knew where they lived. And when we asked Him: “Master, are You not keeping anything for Yourself?” He replied: “The joy of doing the will of God and serving His glory.” We also said: “You are calling us, Master. But we are all poor. What shall we bring You?”, He replied with a smile which made us enjoy the delights of Paradise: “I want a great treasure from you”, and we said: “But we have nothing.” And He answered: “A treasure with seven names, which even the poorest may have, while the rich may not possess it. You have it, and I want it. Listen to the names: charity, faith, good will, right intention, continence, sincerity, spirit of sacrifice. That is what I want from My followers, only that, and You have it. It is dormant, like a seed under a winter clod, but the spring sunshine will make it sprout into a sevenfold spike.” That is what He said. »
« Ah! Now I feel that He is the true Rabboni, the promised Messiah! He is not harsh with the poor, He does not ask for money… It is enough to call Him the Holy Man of God. We can go safely. »
And it all ends.