70. Jesus Meets John of Zebedee at Gethsemane.

4th January 1945. prev home next

I see Jesus going towards the little low white house in the middle of the olive-grove. A young man greets Him. He seems to come from there, because he is holding in his hands pruning and hoeing tools.

« God be with You, Rabbi: » Your disciple John came, and he just left to come and meet You.

« How long ago? »

« Not long, he has just passed that path. We thought You were coming from Bethany… »

Jesus starts walking very fast, He goes round the cliff, He sees John almost running down towards the town and calls him.

The disciple turns round and with his face brightened with joy, he shouts: « Oh! My Master! » and he starts running back.

Jesus receives him with His arms wide open and they embrace each other affectionately.

« I was coming to look for You… We thought You had been to Bethany, as You told us. »

« Yes, I wanted to go. I must start evangelising also the surroundings of Jerusalem. But I remained in town… to teach a new disciple. »

« Everything You do is well done, Master. And is always successful. See? Even now we met very soon. »

They start walking, and Jesus places an arm on the shoulders of John, who, being shorter than Jesus, looks up at Him, obviously very happy for so much intimacy. They thus start going back to the little house. « Have you been here long? »

« No, Master. I left Doco at dawn, along with Simon, to whom I gave Your message. Then we stopped together in the country of Bethany, sharing the food we had, and speaking of You to the peasants we found in the fields. When it was cooler, we parted. Simon went to see a friend of his, to whom he wants to speak about You. He owns almost the whole of Bethany. He has known him for a long time, when their fathers were alive. But Simon is coming here tomorrow. He asked me to tell You that he is happy to serve You. Simon is very clever. I would like to be like him. But I am an ignorant boy. »

« No, John, you are doing very well, too. »

« Are You really satisfied with Your poor John? »

« Yes, I am thoroughly satisfied, My dear John. Thoroughly satisfied. »

« Oh! My Master! » John bends down with eagerness to take Jesus, hand, which he kisses and passes lovingly over his face, as if caressing it.

They have arrived at the little house. They enter the low smoky kitchen. The landlord greets them:

« Peace be with You. »

Jesus replies: « Peace to this house, to you and to those who live here with you. I have a disciple with Me. »

« There will be bread and oil for him, too. »

« I brought some dried fish that James and Peter gave me. And passing by Nazareth, Your Mother gave me some bread and honey for You. I walked all the time without stopping, but it will be dry now. »

« It does not matter, John. It will always have the flavour of My Mother's hands. »

John pulls out his treasures from the knapsack that he had put in a corner. And I see them prepare the dried fish in a strange way. They steep it for a few minutes in hot water, they then put some olive oil on it and they roast it on the fire.

Jesus blesses the food and sits at the table with His disciple. Also the landlord, whose name I hear is Jonah, and his son, sit at the same table. The landlady comes and goes bringing fish, some black olives, boiled vegetables dressed with oil. Jesus offers also some honey. And He offers it to the landlady, spreading it on some bread. « It comes from My beehive » He says. « My Mother looks after the bees. Eat it. It is good. You are so good to Me, Mary, and you deserve much more than this » He then adds, because the woman does not want to deprive Him of the sweet honey.

The supper ends in a short time, while they hold a brief conversation on common topics. As soon as they finish, and after thanking for the food, Jesus says to John: « Come. Let us go out into the olive-grove for a little while. It is a clear, mild night. It will be pleasant to be out there for a short time. »

The landlord says: « Master, I say “good night” to You. I am tired and also my son is tired. We are going to bed. I will leave the door ajar and the lamp on the table. You know what to do. »

« Go, Jonah. And put out the lamp. There is such a bright moonlight, that we will be able to see without any light. »

« But where will Your disciple sleep? »

« With Me. On My mat there is room also for him. Is that right, John? »

John is enraptured at the idea of sleeping beside Jesus.

They go out into the olive-grove. But before going out, John takes something out of the knapsack in the comer. They walk for a little while and they reach a brow from which the whole of Jerusalem can be seen. « Let us sit down here and talk a little » says Jesus.

But John prefers to sit at Jesus' feet on the short grass, and he rests his arm on Jesus' knees, with his head reclined on his arm, looking now and again at Jesus. He looks like a little boy near the person dearest to him. « It is beautiful also here, Master. Look how large the town seems at night. Larger than by day. »

« It is because the moonlight shades the outlines. See: the borders seem to widen out in a silver brightness. Look at the top of the Temple, up there. Does it not look as if it were suspended in midair. »

« It seems supported by angels on their silver wings. »

Jesus sighs.

« Why are You sighing, Master? »

« Because the angels have abandoned the Temple. Its feature of purity and holiness is now confined to its walls only. Those who should impress it into its soul – because every place has its soul, that is the spirit for which it was built, and the Temple has, or should have, a soul of prayer and holiness – those who should energize such spirit, are instead the first to suffocate it. You cannot give what you do not possess, John. And if there are many priests and Levites living there, not even one tenth of them are capable of giving life to the Holy Place. They give death instead. They transmit the death of their own souls, which are dead to what is holy. They have their formulae. But they do not have the essence of them. They are corpses which are warm only because putrefaction swells them. »

« Have they done You wrong, Master? » John is all upset.

« No. On the contrary they allowed Me to speak when I asked to. »

« Did You ask them? Why? »

« Because I do not want to be the one who starts war. There will be war in any case. Because I will be the cause of a silly human fear for some, and the cause of reproach for others. But this must be written in their book, not in Mine. »

They are quiet for a few moments, then John resumes speaking. « Master, I know Annas and Caiaphas. My family has been on business relations with them, and when I came to Judaea to see John, I used to come to the Temple, and they were good to the son of Zebedee. My father always sends them the best fish. That is the custom, You know? If you want them to be friendly and to continue so, you must do that… »

« I know. » Jesus is serious.

« Well, if You wish, I will speak to the High Priest about You. And… if You want, I know a man who is on business terms with my father. He is a rich fish merchant. He has a lovely big house near the Hippicus Tower, because they are very rich people, but they are also very good. You would be more comfortable and You would not get so tired. To come here, You have to come through the suburb of Ophel, which is so wild and always full of donkeys and quarrelsome boys. »

« No, John. Thank you. But I am all right here. See how much peace there is? I told also the other disciple who made the same suggestion. He said: “To enjoy a higher reputation.” »

« I mentioned it that You might not get so tired. »

« I do not get tired. I will walk so much, and I will never tire. Do you know what tires Me? Indifference. Oh! What a burden it is! It is like carrying a weight on your heart. »

« I love You, Jesus. »

« Yes, and you comfort Me. I love you so much, John, and I always will, because you will never betray Me. »

« Betray You! Oh! »

« And yet there will be many who will betray Me… John, listen. I told you that I stayed here to teach a new disciple. He is a young Jew, educated and well known. »

« Well, then. You will have to work much less with him than You have to with us, Master. I am glad that You have someone who is more capable than we are. »

« Do you think I will work less? »

« Yes, if he is less ignorant than we are, he will understand You better, and serve You better, especially if he loves You. »

« What you say is right. But love is not proportionate to education or formation. A virgin loves with all the strength of her first love. That applies also to the virginity of mind. And the beloved penetrates and is more deeply impressed on a virgin heart and a virgin mind, rather than on hearts and minds imbued with other loves. But if God wants… Listen, John. I would ask you to be friendly with him. My heart shudders at the thought of putting you, an unshorn lamb, near the expert in life. But it subsides considering that you may well be a lamb, but you are also an eagle, and if the expert will endeavor to make you touch the ground, which is always muddy, the soil of good human sense, with a stroke of your wings, you will be able to free yourself and desire only the clear blue sky and the sun. That is why I ask you to remain as you are and be friendly to the new disciple, inspiring him with your love, because he will not be loved very much by Simon Peter and the others…»

« Oh! Master! Are You not sufficient? »

« I am the Master. Not everything will be said to Me. You are a companion, a little younger, to whom it will be easier for him to unbosom himself. I am not suggesting you should repeat to Me what he tells you. I detest spies and traitors. But I ask you to evangelize him with your faith, your charity, your purity, John. It is a land defiled by stagnant waters. It must be dried up by the sun of love, purified by the integrity of thoughts, desires and deeds, and cultivated with faith. You can do that. »

« If You say I can… Yes! If You say I can do that, I will do it. For Your sake…»

« Thank you, John. »

« Master, You mentioned Simon Peter. And that reminded me of something I should have told You immediately, but the joy of listening to You made me forget about it. When we went back to Capernaum after Pentecost, we found the usual amount of money from that unknown person. The boy had taken it to my mother. I gave it to Peter, and he handed it back to me, saying I should use some of it on my way back and in my stay at Doco and I should bring You the rest, for whatever need of Yours… because also Peter thought this place might not be comfortable… but You say it is… I took only two coins for two poor people I met near Ephraim. For the rest, I lived with what my mother had given me and what I was given by some good people to whom I preached Your Name. Here is the purse. »

« We will give the money to the poor tomorrow. So Judas also will be acquainted with our custom. »

« Has Your cousin come? How was he so quick? He was at Nazareth and he did not tell me he was leaving… »

« No. Judas is the new disciple. He comes from Kerioth. But you saw him at Passover, here, the evening I cured Simon. He was with Thomas. »

« Ah! It's him? » John is a little perplexed.

« Yes, it is he. And what is Thomas doing? »

« He carried out Your instructions, he left Simon the Cananean and by the sea road he went to meet Philip and Bartholomew. »

« Yes, I want you to love one another, without preferences, helping one another mutually and bearing with one another. No one is perfect, John. Neither the young nor the old. But if you have a good will, you will reach perfection and what is wanting in you, I will supply. You are like the children of a holy family. In it there are very different characters. One is strong, another is sweet, or brave, or shy, or impulsive or very cautious. If you were all alike, you would be really strong in one character, but very weak in all the others. Whereas you thus form a perfect union, completed by you all. Love unites you, it must unite you, for the sake of God's cause. »

« And for Your sake, Jesus. »

« First the cause of God and then the love for His Christ. »

« I… and what am I in our family? »

« You are the loving peace of the Christ of God. Are you tired, John? Do you want to go back? I will stay here and pray. »

« I will stay, too, and I will pray with You. Let me stay and pray with You. »

« You may stay. »

Jesus says some psalms and John prays with Him. But his voice dies down and he falls asleep with his head on Jesus' lap. Jesus smiles and stretches His mantle on the shoulders of the sleeping disciple and continues to pray mentally.

The vision ends thus.

Then Jesus says:

« Another comparison between My John and another disciple. A comparison that makes the figure of My beloved disciple clearer and clearer.

He is the one who divests himself also of his own way of thinking and judging, in order to be “the disciple”. He is the one who gives himself without wishing to withhold even a particle of himself, as his self was before becoming a disciple. Judas is the one who does not want to divest himself of himself. His donation is therefore unreal. He carries with himself his ego diseased with pride, sensuality and greed. He retains his way of thinking. And he thus counteracts the effect of the donation and of Grace. Judas: the first of all the apostles who failed. And they are so many! John: the first of those who become victims out of love for Me. And you are one of them.

My Mother and I are the sublime Victims. It is difficult to reach us, nay it is impossible, because our sacrifice was of total bitterness. But My John! He is the victim that all My lovers can imitate: virgins, martyrs, confessors, evangelizers, servants of God and of the Mother of God, devoted to activity or contemplation: he is an example for everyone. He is the one who loves.

Note their different ways of reasoning. Judas investigates, quibbles, is obstinate, even when he pretends to give in he still has mental reservations. John feels he is nothing, he accepts everything, he does not ask for reasons, he is satisfied with making Me happy. That is the example.

And did you not feel completely peaceful before his simple dear love? Oh! My John! And My little John, whom I want to be more and more like My beloved. Accept everything, always saying as the apostle: “Everything You do, is well done, Master”, in order to deserve to always hear Me say to you: “You are My loving peace.” I need comfort as well, Mary. Give Me it. My Heart for your rest. »

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