3rd November 1944.
Peter is speaking to Jesus. He says: « Master, I would like to ask You to come to my house. I did not dare to ask You last Sabbath. But… I would like You to come. »
« To Bethsaida? »
« No, here… to my wife's house. I mean her home. »
« Why do you want that, Peter? »
« Well, for many reasons… also because today I was told that my mother-in-law is ill. If You would cure her, perhaps she… »
« Tell Me, Simon. »
« What I wanted to say is… if You go to her, she would stop… yes, well, You know, it is not the same thing to hear people speak of someone and to see and listen to someone, and if the person in question cures… well… »
« You mean also the ill-feeling would come to an end? »
« No, not exactly ill-feeling. But, You know… there are many opinions in the village, and she… does not know whom she should listen to. Come, Jesus. »
« I will come. Let us go. You will tell those who are waiting for Me that I will speak to them from your house. »
They go as far as a low house, even lower than Peter's house at Bethsaida, and it is also closer to the lake. It is separated from the lake by the pebbly shore and I think that when there is a storm, the waves break against the walls of the house, which, while being low, are very wide, as if several people lived in it.
In the kitchen garden in front of the house, facing the lake, there is only an old gnarled vine, supported by a rustic pergola, and an old fig-tree which the winds, blowing from the lake, have bent towards the house. The ruffled foliage of the tree brushes the walls of the house and beats against the shutters of the little windows, which are now closed as a protection against the bright sunshine. There is nothing but the vine and the fig-tree and a greenish little wall of a low well.
« Come in, Master. »
There are some women in the kitchen, some are busy mending the nets, some are preparing the food. They greet Peter and they bow embarrassed to Jesus, peering up at Him curiously.
« Peace be to this house. How is the patient? »
« Tell Him, you who are the oldest daughter-in-law » three of the women say to another one, who is drying her hands on the edge of her dress.
« Her temperature is very high. The doctor has seen her and he said she is too old to get better and that when the disease goes from the bones to the heart, and gives a temperature, one dies, particularly at an old age. She will not eat any more… I try and prepare something good, even now, see, Simon, I was preparing the soup she used to like so much. I chose the best fish that I got from my brothers-in-law. But I do not think she will be able to eat it. And… she is so restless! She complains, and shouts, and cries, and curses… »
« Be patient, as if she were your mother and God will grant you merit for it. Take Me to her. »
« Rabbi… Rabbi… I don't know if she will be pleased to see You. She does not want to see anybody. I dare not say to her: “I am now bringing the Rabbi in to see you.” »
Jesus smiles calmly. He addresses Peter: « It is your turn, Simon. You are a man and the oldest son-inlaw, you told Me. Go. »
Peter makes a significant grimace and obeys. He walks across the kitchen, and goes into another room and through the door which he closes, I can hear him talking to a woman. He looks out and says: « Come, Master, quick. » And he whispers in a very low, just audible voice: « Before she changes her mind. »
Jesus walks across the kitchen and opens the door wide. Standing on the threshold, He pronounces His sweet, solemn greeting: « Peace be with you. » He goes in, although He gets no reply. He goes near a low bed on which there is lying a little old woman, grey-haired, thin, panting because of the high temperature which causes her wasted face to flush.
Jesus bends over the little bed, smiles at the old woman: « Are you in pain? »
« I am dying! »
« No. You will not die. Do you believe that I can cure you? »
« Why would You want to do that? You do not know me. »
« For Simon, who asked Me… and for you, to give your soul time to see and love the Light. »
« Simon? It would be better if he… How come Simon thought of me? »
« Because he is better than you think. I know him and I am sure. I know him, and I am happy to satisfy him. »
« Would You cure me, then? I will not die, then? »
« No, woman. You will not die as yet. Can you believe in Me? »
« I believe, I believe. It is enough for me not to die! »
Jesus smiles once again. He takes her hand. Her hand, wrinkled and with swollen veins, disappears in the younger hand of Jesus, Who stands straight up, and takes the attitude He normally assumes when working a miracle. He shouts: « Be cured! I want it! Get up! » and He lets her hand go. And her hand falls down without any complaint, whereas before, notwithstanding Jesus had taken it very gently, she groaned when it was moved.
There is silence for a few moments. Then the old woman cries out: « Oh! God of our fathers! But there is nothing wrong with me! I am cured! Come! Come! » Her daughters-in-law rush in. « Look! » says the old woman: « I can move and I feel no pain! And I am no longer feverish! Feel how cool I am. And my heart no longer feels like the blacksmith's hammer. Ah! I am not dying any longer! » Not one word for the Lord!
But Jesus does not mind. He says to the oldest daughter-in-law: « Dress her that she may get up. She is fit to be up. » And He makes for the door.
Simon, mortified, says to his mother-in-law: « The Master has cured you. Have you nothing to say to Him? »
« Certainly. I wasn't thinking of that. Thank You. What can I do to thank You? »
« Be good, very good. Because the Eternal Father has been good to you. And if it is not too much trouble for you, allow Me to rest in your home today. I have been to all the nearby villages the past week, and I arrived here at dawn this morning. I am tired. »
« Certainly! Certainly! You may stay if You wish. » But there is not much enthusiasm in her words. Jesus, Peter, Andrew, James and John go and sit down in the kitchen garden.
« Master!… »
« Yes, Peter? »
« I feel humiliated. »
Jesus makes a gesture, which meant: « Never mind. » He then goes on: « She is not the first, and will not be the last who do not feel immediate gratitude. But I do not seek gratitude. All I want is to give souls the chance to save themselves. I do My duty. Let them do theirs. »
« Ah! There have been other cases like this one? Where? »
« Curious Simon! But I will please you, although I do not like useless curiosity. At Nazareth. Do you remember Sarah's mother? She was very ill when we arrived in Nazareth and we were told that the little girl cried. Since she is good and gentle, and I did not want her to become an orphan and a stepdaughter in future, I went to see the woman… I wanted to cure her… But I had not yet set foot in the house, when her husband and a brother drove Me away, saving: “Away! Go away! We do not want to get into trouble with the synagogue.” For them, for too many, I am already a rebel… I cured her just the same… for the sake of her children. And I said to Sarah in the kitchen garden, caressing her: “I will cure your mother. Go home. Do not cry any more.” And the woman was cured the same moment and the little girl told her, and she told also her father and her uncle… and she was punished for speaking to Me. I know, because the child ran after Me when I was leaving the village… But it does not matter. »
« I would have made her become ill again. »
« Peter! » Jesus is severe. « Is that what I teach you and the others? What have you heard Me say from the very first time you heard Me? Of what have I always spoken as being the first condition to be My true disciples? »
« It is true, Master. I am a real beast. Forgive me. But… I cannot bear the fact that they do not love You! »
« Oh! Peter! You will see much greater indifference! You will have many surprises, Peter! People that the so called “holy” world scorns as being money-changers, who instead will set an example in the world, an example which will not be followed by those who despise them. Heathens who will be My most faithful ones. Prostitutes who will become pure by strong will power and penance. Sinners who amend their way of living… »
« Listen: that a sinner amends his way… it may well be. But a prostitute and a money-changer!… »
« You do not believe it? »
« I do not. »
« You are mistaken, Simon. But here is your mother-in-law coming towards us.»
« Master, I beg You to come and sit at my table. »
« Thank you, woman. May God reward you. » They go into the kitchen and sit at the table. The old woman serves them with plenty fish, both as soup and roasted. « I have nothing else but this » she apologises. And, to keep up the habit, she says to Peter:
« Your brothers-in-law are doing even too much, all alone as they are, since you went to Bethsaida! If it had only helped to make my daughter richer… But I hear that you are very often absent and you do not go fishing. »
« I follow the Master. I have been to Jerusalem with Him and I am with Him on Sabbaths. I do not spend my time in revelries. »
« But you don't earn any money. Since you want to be the Prophet's servant, you had better come back here again. At least that poor daughter of mine will be fed by her relatives while you are acting the saint. »
« But are you not ashamed of speaking like that in front of Him Who cured you? »
« I am not criticising Him. He is doing His job. I am criticising you, you are a sluggard. In any case, you will never be a prophet or a priest. You are an ignorant sinner, a good for nothing. »
« You are lucky that He is here, otherwise… »
« Simon, your mother-in-law gave you very good advice. You can go fishing even here. I am told that you used to go fishing also at Capernaum. You can come back again. »
« And live here again? But Master, You do not… »
« Be good, Peter. If you are here, you will be either on the lake or with Me. So what difference is it for you if you are or you are not in this house? » Jesus has laid His hand on Peter's shoulder and His calmness seems to pass into the fiery apostle.
« You are right. You are always right. I will do that. But… what about these? » and he points to his partners John and James.
« Can they not come, too? »
« Oh! Our father and above all our mother will be happier if they know we are with You, rather than with them. They will not object. »
« Perhaps Zebedee will come, too » says Peter.
« Quite likely. And others with him. We will come, Master. We will certainly come. »
« Is Jesus of Nazareth here? » asks a little boy appearing at the door.
« He is here, come in. »
A boy comes in, whom I recognize as one of the boys I saw in the first visions of Capernaum, and exactly the one who tumbled down near Jesus' feet, and promised he would be good, so he would get the honey of Paradise.
« My little friend, come here » says Jesus.
The little fellow, somewhat embarrassed because so many are looking at him, takes heart and runs to Jesus, Who embraces him and sits him on His knees; and gives him a bit of His fish on a slice of bread.
« Here, Jesus. This is for You. Also today that person said: « It is the Sabbath. Take this to the Rabbi of Nazareth and tell your friend to pray for me. » He knows that You are my friend!… » The child smiles happily, and eats his bread and fish.
« Well done, little James! You will tell that person that My prayers rise to the Father for him. »
« Is it for the poor? » asks Peter.
« Yes, it is. »
« Is it always the same offering? Let us look. »
Jesus hands over the purse. Peter empties it and counts the coins. « Still the same large sum! But who is this person? Say, boy, who is it? »
« I have not to say, and I will not say! »
« You little rascal! Be good, and I will give you some fruit. »
« I will not speak, whether you insult me or caress me. »
« What a tongue he has! Just listen! »
« Little James is right, Peter. He is keeping his word: leave him alone. »
« Master, do You know who the person is? »
Jesus does not reply. He is busy with the child, to whom He gives another bit of roasted fish, after removing all the bones. But Peter insists, and Jesus is obliged to answer.
« I know everything, Simon. »
« And we are not to know? »
« And will you never be cured of your fault? » Jesus reproaches him, but smiles at the same time. And He adds: « You will soon know. Because if evil wants to be hidden, and cannot always be such, good, even if it wants to be hidden, to be meritorious, will be made known one day, for the glory of God, Whose nature shines in one of His sons. The nature of God: love. And this person understands all that, because he loves his neighbors. Go, James. Take My blessing to that person. »
The vision ends thus.