22nd January 1945.
Jesus is with Simon in Jerusalem. They make their way through a crowd of vendors and little donkeys that look like a procession in the street, and while doing so Jesus says: « Let us go up to the Temple before going to Gethsemane. We will pray the Father in His House. »
« Only that, Master? »
« Only that. I cannot stay. Tomorrow at dawn there is the meeting at the Fish Gate, and if the crowd should insist, how could I be free to go there? I want to see the other shepherds. I will send them, as true shepherds, throughout Palestine, that they may gather the sheep together and the Owner of the sheep may be known, at least by name, so that when I pronounce that name, they may know that I am the Owner of the flock and they may come to Me to be caressed. »
« It is sweet to have a Master like You! The sheep will love You. »
« Yes, the sheep will… but not the billy-goats… After seeing Jonah, we shall go to Nazareth and then to Capernaum. Simon Peter and the others are suffering because of such a long absence… We will go to make them happy and to make ourselves happy. Also the summer season induces us to do that. Night is made to rest and those who prefer the knowledge of the Truth to a rest are too few. Man… Oh! Man! He forgets too easily that he has a soul and he thinks of and worries only about his body. The sun during the day is scorching. It prevents us from travelling and teaching in the squares and in the streets. It is so exhausting that it makes the souls as drowsy as the bodies. So… let us go and teach My disciples. Let us go to sweet Galilee, rich in green fields and cool waters. Have you ever been there? »
« I passed through once, in winter, during one of my painful peregrinations from one doctor to another. I liked it… »
« Oh! It is beautiful. Always. In winter and even more in the other seasons. Now, in summer, its nights are so angelical… Yes, they really seem made for the flights of angels, so pure they are. The lake… The lake surrounded by mountains, more or less close to it, seems to be made just to speak of God to souls seeking God. It is a piece of the sky which has fallen into the green vegetation, and the vault of Heaven does not forsake it, but is mirrored in it with its stars, which are thus multiplied… to be presented to the Creator strewn on a sapphire plate. The olive-trees reach down almost to its shores and are full of nightingales. And they also sing their praise to the Creator Who lets them live in such a sweet and placid place.
And My Nazareth! All spread out to be kissed by the sun, all white and green, charming, between the two giants of the Great and Small Hermon, and the pedestal of mountains supporting the Tabor: a pedestal with sweet green slopes, which raise their lord, often covered with snow, up towards the sun. The Tabor is so beautiful when the sun shines on its top, which then becomes pinkish alabaster, whereas on the other side, Mount Carmel is the hue of lapislazuli in certain hours of great heat, when all the veins of marbles or of waters, of forests and meadows, appear in their various hues; and it is like a gentle amethyst at daybreak. In the evening, instead, it is violet-sky beryl and is a solid block of sardonyx when the moon shows it all black in her milky-silver light. And farther down, to the south, is the fertile flowery plain of Esdraelon.
And then… then, oh! Simon! There is a Flower there! There is a Flower that lives solitary, fragrant with purity and love for Her God and Her Son! There is My Mother. You will meet Her, Simon, and then you will be able to tell Me whether there is a creature like Her, also in human grace, on the earth. She is beautiful, but everything is surpassed by what emanates internally from Her. If a brute should divest Her of all Her clothes, should disfigure Her and send Her roving, She would still appear as a Queen in a royal dress, because Her holiness would cover Her as a mantle and confer splendour on Her. The world can give Me all possible evil, but I will forgive the world everything, because to come into the world and redeem it, I had Her, the humble and great Queen of the world, Whom the world does not know, but through Whom it has received Good and will receive still more throughout centuries.
Here we are at the Temple. Let us keep the Judaic form of worship. But I solemnly tell you that the true House of God, the Holy Ark, is Her Heart, the veil of which is Her most pure flesh and its embroidery work are all Her virtues.»
They have gone in and are walking on the first floor. They go through a porch, towards a second floor.
« Master, look, there is Judas in that crowd of people. And there are also some Pharisees and members of the Sanhedrin. I am going to hear what he is saying. May I go? »
« Go. I will wait for you at the Great Porch. »
Simon walks away fast and he stands where he can hear without being seen.
Judas is speaking with firm belief: « … and there are people here whom you all know and respect, who can tell you who I was. Well, I tell you that He has changed me. I am the first redeemed. Many amongst you venerate the Baptist. He venerates him, too, and calls him “the saint equal to Elijah because of his mission, but even greater than Elijah”. Now, if the Baptist is such, He Whom the Baptist calls “the Lamb of God” and by his own holiness swears that he saw Him crowned with the fire of the Spirit of God while a voice from Heaven proclaimed Him “Beloved Son of God to be listened to”, can but be the Messiah. And He is. I swear to it. I am neither a coarse nor a silly man. I have seen His deeds and heard His words. And I tell you: it is He: the Messiah. Miracles serve Him as a slave serves his master. Diseases and misfortunes disappear like dead things and are replaced by joy and good health. And hearts change even more than bodies. You can tell by me. Have you sick people or pains to be relieved? If you have, come to the Fish Gate, tomorrow morning at dawn. He will be there and will make you happy. In the meantime, here, in His name I give this help to the poor. »
And Judas hands out some coins to two cripples and three blind men and then forces an old woman to accept the last ones. He then dismisses the crowd and remains with Joseph of Arimathaea, Nicodemus and three other people whom I do not know.
« Ah! Now I feel well! » exclaims Judas. « I have nothing left. I am as He wants me to be. »
« To tell you the truth, I don't recognize you any longer. I thought it was a joke. But I see that you are in earnest » exclaims Joseph.
« I am in earnest. Oh! I am the first not to recognize myself. I am still a filthy beast as compared to Him. But I have already changed a lot. »
« And will you no longer belong to the Temple? » asks one of the unknown men.
« Oh! no. I belong to Christ. Whoever approaches Him, can but love Him, unless one is really wicked. And one wishes nothing else but Him. »
« Will He not come here any more? »
« Of course He will. But not now. »
« I would like to hear Him. »
« He has already 'spoken here, Nicodemus. »
« I know. But I was with Gamaliel… I saw Him, but I did not stop. »
« What did Gamaliel say, Nicodemus? »
« He said: “Some new prophet”. Nothing else. »
« And did You not say to him what I told you, Joseph? You are his friend… »
« I told him. But he replied: “We already have the Baptist and according to the doctrine of the Scribes there must be at least one hundred years between this one and that one, to prepare the people for the coming of the King. I say that it will take less”, he added, “because the time is now complete”. And he concluded: “But I cannot admit that the Messiah should reveal Himself thus… One day I thought that the Messianic manifestation was about to begin, because His first ray was really a heavenly flash. But after… there was a great silence and I think I was mistaken”. »
« Try and speak to him again. If Gamaliel were with us and you with him… »
« I would not advise that » objects one of the three unknown men. « The Sanhedrin is powerful and Annas rules over it cunningly and greedily. If your Messiah wants to live, I advise Him to live in obscurity. Unless He imposes Himself with strength. But then there is Rome… »
« If the Sanhedrin heard Him, they would convert to Christ. »
« Ah! Ah! Ah! » laugh the three strangers and say: « Judas, we believed you had changed, but we thought that you were still intelligent. If what you say about Him is true, how can you believe that the Sanhedrin would follow Him? Come, come, Joseph. It is better for all of us. May God give you protection, Judas. You need it. » And they go away. Judas remains alone with Nicodemus. Simon disappears and goes to the Master. « Master, I accuse myself of a sin of slander both in my words and with my heart. That man puzzles me. I thought he was almost an enemy of Yours, but I heard him speak of You in a way, that few amongst us do, particularly here where hatred might suppress first the disciple and then the Master. And I saw him give money to the poor, and try to persuade the members of the Sanhedrin… »
« See, Simon? I am glad that you saw him just then. You will tell the others when they accuse him. Let us bless the Lord for the joy you are giving Me, because of your honesty in saying: “I have sinned”, and on account of the work of the disciple, whom you considered wicked, which he is not. »
They pray for a long time, then they go out.
« Did he not see you? »
« No, I am sure. »
« Do not say anything to him. He is a very weak soul. Praise would be like food given to a convalescent from a high temperature due to stomach trouble. It would make him worse, because he would boast of being noticed. And where pride enters… »
« I will be quiet. Where are we going? »
« To see John. At this hot hour of the day, he will be at the Olivegrove. »
They walk fast, moving when possible to shady spots in the streets which are burning in the scorching sun. They cross the dusty suburb and through the wall gate they go out into the dazzling country, they reach the olive-grove and finally the house.
In the kitchen, which is cool and dark because of the curtain at the door, there is John. He is dozing and Jesus calls him: « John! »
« You, Master? I was expecting You this evening. »
« I have come earlier. How did you manage, John? »
« Like a lamb which had lost its shepherd. I spoke of You to everybody, because to speak of You was like being with You, somehow. I spoke to relatives, acquaintances, to strangers. Also to Annas… And to a cripple, with whom I made friends, by giving him three coins. They were given to me and I gave them to him. I spoke also to a poor woman, who was crying on her doorstep, with a group of women. I asked her: “Why are you crying?” She replied: “The doctor said to me: 'Your daughter is ill with tuberculosis. Resign yourself. At the first storms in October she will die'. I have but her: she is beautiful and good, she is fifteen years old. She was to get married in spring, but instead of her wedding chest, I have to prepare her tomb!” I said to her: “I know a Doctor Who can cure her for you, if you have faith!” “No one can cure her now. She has been visited by three doctors. She is already spitting blood”. “Mine” I said, “is not a doctor like yours. He does not cure with medicines. But with His own power. He is the Messiah!” A little old woman then said: “Oh! Believe, Eliza! I know a blind man who can now see because of Him!” And the mother then passed from distrust to hope and she is waiting for You… Did I do the right thing? That's all I have done. »
« You have done well. This evening we shall go to your friends. Have you seen Judas again? »
« No, Master. He sent me some food and money which I gave to the poor. And he sent word that I should use it, because it was his own money. »
« It is true. John, tomorrow we are going towards Galilee… »
« I am glad, Master. I am thinking of Simon Peter. Goodness knows how he is longing to see You! Shall we pass also by Nazareth? »
« Yes, and we shall stop there waiting for Peter, Andrew and your brother James. »
« Oh! Are we staying in Galilee? »
« We will stay for some time. »
John is happy and it all ends on his happiness.