15th January 1945.
Jesus is walking with His disciples on a road along the torrent. The road is not really running along the torrent. The torrent is below; high above, on the side of the mountain there is a twisting road, as is easily found in mountain places. John is almost purple, laden like a porter, with a big heavy satchel. Judas is carrying Jesus' bag and his own. Simon has only his bag and the mantles. Jesus is now wearing his own clothes and sandals. But Judas' mother must have had His tunic washed, because it is no longer creased.
« How much fruit! How beautiful are those vineyards on those hills! » says John, who is always in good humour, notwithstanding the heat and the fatigue. « Master, is this the river on the banks of which our fathers picked the miraculous grapes? »
« No, it is another one, farther south. But the whole region was blessed with rich fruit. »
« It is not so blessed now, although still beautiful. »
« Too many wars have devastated the country. Israel was made here… but it had to be fecundated by its own blood and by the blood of its enemies. »
« Where will we find the shepherds? »
« Five miles from Hebron, on the banks of the river you were enquiring about. »
« Beyond that hill, then. »
« Correct. »
« It's very warm. The summer… Where are we going after, Master? »
« To a place which is even warmer. But I ask you to come. We shall travel by night. The stars are so bright that there is no darkness. I want to show you a place… »
« A town? »
« No… A place… that will make you understand the Master… perhaps better than do His words. »
« We lost some days over that stupid incident. It spoiled everything… and my mother who had prepared so much, was disappointed. I cannot understand why You wanted to segregate Yourself with the purification… »
« Judas, why do you call stupid a fact that was a grace for a true believer? Would you not like such a death for yourself? He had waited all his life for the Messiah, and although an elderly man, he had gone along uncomfortable roads, to adore Him, when he was told: “He is here.” He had kept My Mother's word for thirty years in his heart. He was enraptured by the fire of love and faith in the last hour granted to him by God. His heart burst out of joy and was burnt, like a pleasing holocaust, by the fire of God. Which destiny could be better? He spoiled the feast you had prepared? You can see in that the answer of God. The things of man are not to be mixed with the things of God… Your mother will have Me again. The old man would not have had Me again. The whole of Kerioth can come to Christ, the old man had no more strength to do so. I am happy that I held the old dying father against My heart and I commended his soul. With regard to the rest… Why give scandal lacking respect for the Law? One must walk in front of the others if one wants to say: “Follow me.” And to lead people on to a holy path, one must walk on the same path. How could I have said, or how could I say: “Be faithful”, if I were faithless? »
« I think that error is the cause of our decay. The rabbis and Pharisees crush the people with their precepts and then… then they behave like the man who desecrated John's house, making it a place of sin » remarks Simon.
« He is one of Herod's… »
« Yes, Judas, but the same faults are to be found also in the classes which are said – by themselves of course – to be holy. What do you say about it, Master? » asks Simon.
« I say that only if there is a handful of true yeast and true incense in Israel, the bread will be made and the altar perfumed. »
« What do you mean? »
« I mean that if there is anyone coming to the Truth with a sincere heart, the Truth will spread like the yeast in the mass of flour and like incense all over Israel. »
« What did that woman say to You? » asks Judas. Jesus does not reply. He instead addresses John: « Your load is heavy and you are tired. Give it to Me. »
« No, Jesus, I am used to carrying weights and in any case… the thought of Isaac's joy makes it light. »
They go round the hillock. Elias' sheep are in the shade of the wood, on the other side. And the shepherds, sitting in the shade are watching them. When they see Jesus they start running.
« Peace to you. You are here? »
« We were worried about You… because of the delay… and we didn't know whether to come and meet You or obey… then we decided to come so far… and thus obey Your instructions and satisfy our love at the same time. You were to be here many days ago. »
« We had to stay… »
« Nothing… wrong? »
« No, My friends, nothing. A faithful believer died on My breast. Nothing else. »
« What do you think should have happened, shepherd? When things are well arranged… Certainly one must know how to prepare them and prepare also hearts to receive them. My town paid every honor to Christ. Did they not, Master? »
« Yes, they did. Isaac, on our way back we called at Sarah's. Also the town of Juttah, without any preparation other than its simple goodness and the truth of Isaac's words, understood the essence of My doctrine and learned how to love with a holy practical unselfish love. She sent you some clothes and food, Isaac, and everybody wanted to add something to the alms you left on your bed, because you are now back in the world and you lack everything. Take this. I never take money. But I accepted this because it is purified by charity. »
« No, Master, You keep it. I… I am used to doing without it. »
« You will now have to go to the various villages, to which I will send you. And you will need it. A workman is entitled to his pay, also If he deals with souls… because there is still a body to be nourished, as if it were a donkey helping its master. It is not much. But you will manage. John has some clothes and sandals in that bag. Joachim took some of his own. They may be too big… but there is so much love in the gift! »
Isaac takes the bag and goes behind a bush to dress. He was still barefooted and was wearing his strange gown made from a blanket.
« Master » says Elias. « That woman… the woman who is in John's house… three days after You left and we were pasturing the sheep on the meadows of Hebron – they belong to everybody, the meadows, and they could not send us away – she sent her maid to us with this bag and told us that she wanted to speak to us… I don't know whether I did the right thing… but the first time I gave the bag back to her and said: “I do not want to listen to her”… Then she sent this message: “Come in Jesus' name” and I went. She waited until her… well, the man who keeps her, had gone… How many things she wanted to know. But I… didn't tell her very much. Out of prudence. She is a prostitute. I was afraid it might be a trap for You. She asked me who You are, where You live, what You do, if You are a gentleman… I said: “He is Jesus of Nazareth, He goes everywhere, because He is a Master, and He goes round Palestine teaching”; I said You are a poor man, a simple workman, made wise by Wisdom… Nothing else. »
« You did well » says Jesus, and Judas at the same moment exclaims: « You did the wrong thing! Why did you not say that He is the Messiah, the King of the world? The proud Roman woman should be crushed under the blow of God's splendour. »
« She would not have understood me… In any case how could I be sure that she was sincere? When you saw her, you said what she is. Was I to throw holy things, and everything that is Jesus is holy, into her mouth? Was I to endanger Jesus, giving too much information? Anyone may hurt Him, but I will not. »
« John, let us go and tell her who the Master is, and explain the holy truth to her. »
« Not me. Unless Jesus tells me. »
« Are you afraid? What can she do to you? Do you loathe her? The Master did not. »
« I am not afraid, neither do I loathe her. I feel sorry for her. But I think that if Jesus wanted, He could have stopped to teach her. He did not do it… it is not necessary for us to do it. »
« At the time there were no signs of a conversion… Now… Show me the bag, Elias. » And Judas, who is sitting on the grass, empties the bag on his mantle. Rings, armlets, bracelets and a necklace roll out: yellow gold on the dark gold of Judas' mantle. « They are jewels!… What can we do with them? »
« They can be sold » says Simon.
« They are troublesome things » remarks Judas, who, however, admires them.
« That's what I told her, when I took them; I also said: “Your master will beat you.” She replied: “They do not belong to him. They are mine and I do what I want with them. I know it is the gold of sins… but it will become good if used for the poor and the holy. That they may remember me” » and she was crying.
« Go and see her, Master. »
« No. »
« Send Simon. »
« No. »
« Well, I'll go. »
« No. » Jesus' « No » is sharp and peremptory.
« Was I wrong, Master, in speaking to her and taking that gold? » asks Elias, when he sees Jesus so serious.
« You did nothing wrong. But there is nothing more to be done. »
« But perhaps that woman wants to redeem herself and she needs to be taught… » Judas objects once again.
« There are already in her so many sparks capable of starting a fire which will burn her vices and purify her soul and repentance will render her innocent once again. A few minutes ago I spoke to you of the yeast which is mixed with the flour and turns it into holy bread. Listen now to a short parable.
That woman is the flour. A flour in which the Evil One has mixed his hellish powders. I am the yeast. That is, My word is the yeast. But if there is too much chaff in the flour, or if sand, or little stones or ashes are mixed in it, is it possible to make bread with it, even if the yeast is good? It is not possible. It is necessary to patiently remove the chaff, the ashes, stones and sand from the flour.
Then Mercy passes by and offers the first sieve… The first one: made with short basic truths, which may be understood by one entangled in the net of total ignorance, vice and Gentilism. If the soul accepts it, the first purification begins. The second takes place by means of the sieve of the soul itself, which compares its own being with the Being that revealed Itself. And the soul is horrified. And it starts its work. By means of a more and more particular operation, after the stones, the sand and the ashes, it reaches the point of removing also that part of the flour consisting of grains too heavy and too coarse to make good bread. The soul is now ready. Mercy then passes by once again and penetrates into the flour now ready – that is a preparation too, Judas – and raises it and turns it into bread. But it is a long operation: an operation of the “will power” of the soul.
That woman already has in herself the minimum which was fair to give her and which may be used by her to accomplish her work. Let her do it, if she wishes to, but we must not disturb her. Everything upsets a soul which is working: curiosity, unadvised zeal, intolerance as well as excessive compassion. »
« We are not going to see her, then? »
« No. And that none of you may be tempted to, let us leave at once. There is shade in the wood. We will stop at the foot of the Terebinth Valley. And we will part there. Elias will go back to his pastures with Levi: Joseph will come with Me as far as the Jericho ford. Later… we will meet again. You, Isaac, continue what you did at Juttah, going from here, through Arimathaea and Lydda, to Doco. We will meet there. It is necessary to prepare Judaea, and you know how to do it. Exactly as you did at Juttah ».
« And what about us? »
« You? You will come, as I said, to see My preparation. Also I prepared for My mission. »
« Did You go to a rabbi's? »
« No. »
« Did You go to John? »
« I was only baptized by him. »
« Well, then? »
« Bethlehem spoke with its stones and its hearts. Also where I am taking you, Judas, the stones and a heart, Mine, will speak to you and give you the answer. »
Elias, who has brought some milk and brown bread, says: « While waiting for You, I tried, and Isaac tried with me, to convince the people in Hebron… But they will not believe, they will not take an oath, they do not want anyone but John. He is their “holy man” and they do not want anyone else. »
« It is a sin quite common to many places and many present and future believers. They look at the workman, not at the master who sent the workman. They ask the workman questions and they do not even say to him: “Tell your master.” They forget that there is a workman only because there is a master and that it is the master who instructs the workman and enables him to work. They forget that the workman can intercede, but only the master can concede. In this case God and His Word with Him. It does not matter. The Word is sorry but bears no grudge. Let us go. »
The vision ends.