4th November 1944.
Jesus has climbed on top of a pile of baskets and ropes at the entrance to the kitchen garden of the house of Peter's mother-in-law. The kitchen garden is crowded with people, and other people are on the lake shore, some sitting on the shore, some on the beached boats. It looks as if He has been speaking for some time, because the sermon has started.
I hear: « … Certainly many times you have thought so in your hearts. But it is not so. The Lord has not lacked in kindness of heart towards His people. Notwithstanding His people lacked in loyalty to Him thousands of times.
Listen to this parable. It will help you to understand. A king had many wonderful horses in his stables. But he was particularly fond of one of them. He gazed fondly at it, even before he had it. Afterwards, when he got it, he put it in a delightful place and he often went to admire his favorite horse, both with his eyes and with his heart, dreaming it would become the wonder of his kingdom. And when the horse rebelled against commands, disobeyed and ran away under another master, the king, in his sorrow and his severity, promised he would forgive the rebel after it had been punished. And loyal as he was, although far away, he watched over his favorite and sent gifts and guardians to it, hoping they would keep his remembrance in the horse's heart. But the horse, although suffering from the exile from the kingdom, was not steady, as the king was, in loving and wishing complete forgiveness. At times it was good, at times bad; neither was its goodness greater than its badness. Nay, it was the other way round. And yet the king was patient and with reproaches and caresses, he endeavored to turn his horse into a dearer and more docile friend. As time went by, the horse became more and more loath. It invoked its king, it cried under the whip of other masters, but it did not really want to belong to the king. It simply did not want to. Oppressed, exhausted, moaning, it did not say: “I am such through my own fault.” Instead, it accused its king for it. The king, after trying everything, decided to make one last effort. “So far” he said, “I have sent messengers and friends. Now I will send my own son. His heart is like my own and will speak the same love as I would, and will make use of the same caresses and gifts as I used, nay, he will be even kinder, because my son is like myself, but made more sublime by love.” And he sent his son. That is the parable. Now tell Me: do you think that king loved his favorite horse? »
The crowd together reply: « He loved it with infinite love. »
« Could the animal complain of its king about all the ill it had suffered after leaving him? »
« No, it could not » reply the people.
« Answer also this question: how do you think that horse will have received the king's son who went to rescue and cure it and take it back once again to the delightful land? »
« With great joy, of course, with gratitude and love. »
« Now, if the king's son said to the horse: “I have come for this reason, to do such and such a thing for you, but now you must be good, obedient, willing and loyal to me”, what do you think the horse replied? »
« Oh! There is no need to ask! Now that it was aware of how much it cost to be expelled from the kingdom, it will have said that it wanted to be as the king's son suggested. »
« Well, then, what was the duty of that horse, according to you? »
« To be even better than it was requested, more affectionate, more docile, to be forgiven for past faults, and out of gratitude for all the good received. »
« And if it did not do that? »
« It would deserve death, because it was worse than a wild beast. »
« My friends, you have judged correctly. But do exactly Yourselves as you would have liked that horse to do. I beseech you, men, the favorite creatures of the King of Heaven, of God, My Father and yours, to be at least as you judge that horse to be.
Because after the Prophets, God sends you His own Son and I implore you, for your good, and because I love you as only God can love, the God Who is in Me to work the miracle of Redemption. Woe to those men who lower themselves to a lower degree than animals! But if it was possible to excuse those who committed sin up to the present time – because too long a time has elapsed since the Law was given and too much worldly dust has settled on the Law – now it is no longer so. I have come to bring once again the word of God. The Son of man is amongst men to lead them back to God. Follow Me. I am the Way, the Truth, the Life. »
The usual whispering of the crowd.
Jesus tells His disciples: « Let the poor come forward. There is a rich offer for them made by one who begs to obtain forgiveness from God. »
Three tattered old men come forward, two blind men and a cripple; they are followed by a widow with seven emaciated children.
Jesus stares at them, one by one, He smiles at the widow and particularly at the children. Nay, He says to John: « Put those over there in the kitchen garden. I want to speak to them. » But He becomes stern, with blazing eyes, when a little old man appears. But He says nothing, for the time being. He calls Peter, whom He asks for the purse received shortly before and for another one containing smaller coins, which are offerings collected from good-hearted people. He empties the coins onto the bench near the well, He counts them, and divides them. He makes six parts. A very big one, all silver coins, and five smaller ones in size, with many bronze coins and a few big ones. He calls the poor, sick people and asks them: « Have you nothing to tell Me? »
The blind men are silent; the cripple says: « May He Who sent You, protect You. » Nothing else. Jesus puts the offering into his good hand.
The man says: « May God reward You. But more than this offering, I would like to be cured by You. »
« You did not ask for that. »
« I am poor, a worm trodden on by the mighty ones, I dared not hope You would have mercy on a beggar. »
« I am Mercy that bends over all miseries calling Me. I refuse no one. All I ask for is faith and love, that I may say: I am listening to You. »
« Oh! My Lord! I believe You and I love You. Save me, then! Heal Your servant! » Jesus lays His hand on the crook-back, He moves it gently, as if He were caressing the man and says:
« I want you to be healed. » The man straightens up, agile and wholesome, uttering endless blessings.
Jesus hands the offering to the blind men and waits an instant before dismissing them… then He lets them go. He calls the old people. He gives the alms to the first one, and helps him to put the coins into his belt pouch. He listens pitifully to the mishaps of the second one, who informs Jesus of the disease of one of his daughters.
« I have but her! And she is dying. What will happen to me? Oh! if only You came! She cannot come, she cannot stand up. She would love to… but cannot. Master, Lord, Jesus, have mercy on us! »
« Where do you live, father? »
« At Korazim. Ask for Isaac of Jonah, named the Adult. Will You really come? Will You not forget our misfortunes? And will You cure my daughter? »
« Do you believe I can cure her? »
« Oh! I do believe it. That is why I am speaking to You about it. »
« Go home, father. Your daughter will be greeting you on the doorstep. »
« But she is in bed and she has not been able to get up for the last three… Ah! I now understand! Oh! Thank You, Rabboni! Blessed are You and He Who sent You! Praise be to God and His Messiah! » The old man goes away, plodding along as fast as he can. But when he is almost outside the kitchen garden he says: « Master, will You come just the same to my poor house? Isaac will be waiting for You to kiss Your feet and wash them with His tears, and offer You the bread of love. Come, Jesus: I will speak to the townsfolk about You. »
« I will come. Go in peace and be happy. »
The third old man comes forward, He seems to be the most ragged. But Jesus has only the big pile of money left. He calls in a loud voice: « Woman, come here with your little ones. »
The young emaciated woman comes forward with her head lowered down. She seems a sad hen with her sad brood of chickens.
« How long have you been a widow, woman? »
« Three years at the moon of Tishry. »
« What age are you? »
« Twenty-seven. »
« Are they all your children? »
« Yes, Master… and I have nothing else. I finished everything… How can I work if no one wants me with all these little ones? »
« God does not abandon even the worm He created. He will not abandon you, woman. Where do you live? »
« On the lake. Three stadia outside Bethsaida. He told me to come here… My husband died on the lake; he was a fisherman. » She Points to Andrew, who blushes and would like to disappear.
« You did well, Andrew, telling the woman to come to Me. » Andrew takes heart and whispers: « The man was a friend of mine, he was good, he died in a storm and lost also his boat. »
« Take this, woman. It will help you for a long time, then another sun will rise on your days. Be good, bring your children up in the Law and you will not be without God's help. I bless you: you arid your little ones. » And He pats them, one by one, with great pitiful love.
The woman goes away pressing her treasure to her heart.
« And what about me? » asks the old man who is left last. Jesus looks at him, but is silent.
« Nothing for me? You are not fair! You gave her six times as much as the others, and nothing to me. Of course… she was a woman! » Jesus looks at him, but is silent.
« Look everybody, and tell me if there is justice! I have come from far away, because I was told that money was given here, and now I see that some get too much and I get nothing. A poor, old, sick man! And He wants us to believe in Him!… »
« My old man, are you not ashamed of telling such lies? Death is behind your back and you lie and endeavor to rob also who is hungry. Why do you want to rob your brothers of the offering that I received to give it with justice? »
« But I… »
« Be quiet! You should have understood by My silence and My action that I had recognized you and you should have followed My example and been silent. Why do you want Me to shame you? »
« I am poor. »
« No, you are a miser and a thief. You live for money and usury. »
« I have never lent on usury. God is my witness. »
« And is this not the most fierce usury, to rob those who are in dire need? Go. Repent. That God may forgive you. »
« I swear… »
« Be quiet! I tell you! It is said: “You shall not swear falsehood”. If I did not respect your old age, I would search you and in your breast I would find a purse full of gold: your real heart. Go away! »
The impudent old man, seeing that his secret has been discovered, goes away without any need for Jesus' thundering voice.
The crowd threaten and scorn him, and they insult him as a thief.
« Be quiet! If he did wrong, do not do the same. He lacks sincerity is dishonest. If you insult him, you lack charity. A brother who makes a mistake is not to be insulted. Everybody has his sins. No one is perfect but God. I was compelled to shame him, because nobody must ever be a thief, and much less steal from poor people. But only the Father knows how much I suffered having to do it. You must also be sorry, seeing that a man in Israel infringes the Law endeavoring to defraud the poor and a widow. Do not be greedy. May your souls, not money, be your treasure. Do not be perjurers. Let your language be as sincere and honest as your actions. Life is not eternal and the hour of death will come. Live in such a way that at the hour of your death peace may be in your souls. The peace of those who lived an honest life. Go home… »
« Have mercy, Lord! This son of mine is deaf because a demon vexes him. »
« And this brother of mine is like an unclean animal, he wallows in the mud and eats excrement. A malignant spirit forces him to do that, and although against his will, he does foul things. » Jesus goes towards the imploring group. He lifts His arms and orders: « Come out of them. Leave to God His creatures. »
Amidst shouts and uproars the two unhappy men are cured. The women leading them kneel down, blessing.
« Go home and be thankful to God. Peace to you all. Go. »
The crowd leave, commenting on the events. The four disciples gather round the Master.
« My friends, I solemnly tell you that all sins can be found in Israel and the demons have taken up their abode there. Neither are the possessed the only ones whose lips are mute, or are driven to live like animals and eat filth. But the most real and numerous possessions are those that make hearts mute to honesty and love, and turn hearts into a sink of filthy vices. Oh! Father! » Jesus sits down depressed.
« Are You tired, Master? »
« Not tired, My dear John, but afflicted because of the state of hearts and the lack of will to grow better. I have come… but man… man… Oh,' Father!… »
« Master, I love You. We all love You… »
« I know. But you are so few… and My eagerness to save is so great! »
Jesus has embraced John, and is resting His head on His disciple's. He is sad. Peter, Andrew and James are near Him, and they look at Him with love and sadness. And the vision ends thus.