15th February 1945.
I see once again the plain of Esdraelon, by day. A cloudy late November day. It must have rained during the night, one of the first rains of the dreary winter months, because the earth is damp but not muddy. And it is windy. A damp wind that blows away the yellow leaves and pierces one's bones with its breath saturated with moisture.
In the fields there are a few yokes of oxen ploughing. They laboriously turn the rich heavy soil of this fertile plain, preparing it for seed-time. And what upsets me is to see that in some places it is the men themselves that work as oxen, pushing the ploughshare with all the strength of their arms and even with their chests, pressing their feet in the soil already turned, toiling like slaves in this work which is very hard also for robust bulls.
Also Jesus looks and notices. And His face turns so sad as to weep.
The disciples, only eleven, because Judas is still absent and the shepherds are no longer here, speak among themselves and Peter says: « Also a boat is small, poor and laborious… But it is one hundred times better than this pack-animal job! » He then asks: « Are they perhaps Doras’ servants? » Simon Zealot replies: « I don't think so: his fields are beyond that orchard, I think. And we can't see them yet. »
But Peter, always curious, leaves the road and walks along a hedge between two fields. Four thin peasants, wet with perspiration have sat down for a moment on its borders. They are panting with fatigue. Peter asks them: « Are you Doras' men? »
« No, but we belong to his relative, to Johanan. And who are you? »
« I am Simon of Jonas, a fisherman of Galilee until the moon of Civ. Now I am Peter of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah of the Gospel. » Peter says so with the respect and glory with which one would say: « I belong to the high divine Caesar of Rome » and much more, too. His honest face is shining with joy in professing himself of Jesus.
« Oh! the Messiah! Where, where is He? » ask the four unhappy men.
« That one over there. The tall fair-headed one, clad in dark red. The one who is now looking here, and is smiling waiting for me. »
« Oh!… If we went there… would He send us away? »
« Send you away? Why? He is the friend of the unhappy, the poor, the oppressed, and I think that you… yes, you are just them… »
« Oh! we are indeed! But not like Doras' men. At least we have as much bread as we want and we are not lashed unless we stop working, but… »
« So that, if the fine master Johanan should find you here talking, he… ».
« He would lash us more than he would lash his dogs… »
Peter whistles significantly. He then says: « Well it is better if we do this… » and cupping his hands to his mouth he calls out loud: « Master. Come here. There are some hearts that are suffering and they want You. »
« But what are you saying? Him to come here?! But we are ignoble servants! » The four men are terrified at such boldness.
« But lashes are not pleasant. And if that fine Pharisee should turn up, I would not like to have a share myself… » Peter says laughing and with his big hand he shakes the most terrified of the four men. Jesus with His long stride is about to arrive. The four men do not know what to do. They would like to run and meet Him, but they are paralyzed with respect. Poor beings completely frightened by human wickedness. They fall flat on their faces, adoring the Messiah Who is coming towards them.
« Peace to all those who desire Me. Who desires Me, desires good, and I love him as a friend. Get up. Who are you? »
But the four just lift their faces off the ground, and remain kneeling and quiet.
Peter explains: « They are four servants of the Pharisee Johanan, a relative of Doras. They would like to speak to You, but if he comes, there will be a volley of blows, that is why I said to You: “Come.” Get up, boys. He will not eat you! Have faith. Just think that He is a friend of yours. »
« We… we know about You… Jonah told us… »
« I have come for him. I know that he announced Me. What do you know of Me? »
« That You are the Messiah. That he saw You a baby. That the angels sang peace to good people with Your coming, that You were persecuted… that You were saved and that now You have been looking for Your shepherds and… You love them. These last things he told us now. And we thought: if He is so good as to look for some shepherds and love them, He would certainly be also a little fond of us… We need so much someone who may love us… »
« I love you. Do you suffer much? »
« Oh!… But Doras' men even more. If Johanan found us talking here!… But today he is at Gerghesa. He has not yet come back from the Feast of the Tabernacles. But his steward this evening will give us food after measuring the work that we have done. But it does not matter. We will not rest for our meal at the sixth hour and we will make up for this time. »
« Tell me, man. Would I be able to work that implement? Is it a difficult task? » asks Peter.
« No, it's not difficult. But it is hard work. It takes a lot of strength. »
« I have that. Show me. If I succeed, you can talk and I will play the ox. You, John, Andrew and James, come to the lesson. We will abandon fish for the worms of the soil. Come on! » Peter lays his hands on the cross-bar of the beam. There are two men at each plough, one on each side of the long beam. He looks and imitates all the gestures of the peasant. Strong as he is and rested, he works well and the man praises him.
« I am a master in ploughing happily » exclaims good Peter. « Come on, John! Come here. An ox and a bull-calf at each plough. James and that mute calf of my brother at the other one. Right! Heave away! » and the two ploughs proceed side by side turning the soil and cutting furrows in the long field at the end of which they turn round and cut a fresh furrow. They seem to have worked as farmers all their lives.
« How good Your friends are! » says the boldest of Johanan's servants. « Did You make them such? »
« I have guided their goodness. As you do with the pruner's shears. Goodness was already in them. It now blossoms well because there is Who takes care of it. »
« They are also humble. They are Your friends and yet they are serving us, poor servants, like that! »
« Only those who love humility, meekness, continence, honesty and love, love above all, can stay with Me. Because who loves God and his neighbor, possesses in consequence all virtues and gains Heaven. »
« Shall we be able to gain it, too, we, who have no time to pray, to go to the Temple, not even to raise our heads off the furrows? »
« Tell Me: do you hate him who deals with you so hard? Is there in you rebellion and reproach to God for putting you amongst the lowest of the earth? »
« Oh! no, Master! It is our fate. But when tired we throw ourselves on our pallets, we say: “Well, the God of Abraham knows that we are so exhausted that we are not able to say more than: 'Blessed be the Lord!'”, and we also say: “Also today we have lived without sinning”… You know… we could also cheat a little and eat a fruit with our bread, or pour some oil on to the boiled vegetables. But the master said: “Bread and vegetables are sufficient for servants, and at harvest time a little vinegar in the water to quench their thirst and give them strength.” And we do that. After all… we could be worse off. »
« And I solemnly tell you that the God of Abraham smiles at your hearts, whilst He turns a severe face towards those who insult Him in the Temple with false prayers, while they do not love their fellows. »
« Oh! but they love people like themselves! At least… it looks as if they do, because they respect one another with gifts and bows. It is for us that they have no love. But we are different from them, and it is fair. »
« No. It is not fair in My Father's Kingdom. But different will be the way of judging. Not the rich and the mighty ones, as such, will receive honors. But only those who have always loved God, loving Him above themselves and above everything else, such as money, power, women, a bountiful table; and loving their fellow men, that is all men, both rich and poor, well-known and unknown, learned and without culture, good and bad. Yes, you must love also bad people. Not because of their wickedness, but out of pity for their souls which they wound to death. It is necessary to love them imploring the Celestial Father to cure them and redeem them. In the Kingdom of Heaven those will be blessed who have honored the Lord with truth and justice, who have loved their parents and relatives out of respect; those who have not stolen anything in any way, that is who have given and exacted what is just, also in the work of servants; those who have not killed any reputation or creature and have not desired to kill, even when the behavior of other people is so cruel as to excite hearts to disdain and rebellion; those who have not sworn falsehood damaging one's neighbor and the truth; those who have not committed adultery or any carnal sin; those, who being mild and resigned, have always accepted their lot without envying others. Of those is the Kingdom of Heaven, and also a beggar can be a happy king up there, whereas a Tetrarch, with all his power, will be less than nothing, nay, more than nothing: he will be a prey to Mammon, if he has sinned against the eternal law of the Decalogue. »
The men listen to Him gaping. Near Jesus there are Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon, Philip, Thomas, James and Judas of Alphaeus. The other four continue working, red in their faces and hot, but cheerful. Peter is quite enough to keep them all merry.
« Oh! How right Jonah was in calling You: “Holy!” Everything is holy in You: Your words, Your look, Your smile. We have never felt our souls thus… ! »
« Have you not seen Jonah for a long time? »
« Since he has been ill. »
« Ill? »
« Yes, Master. He cannot stand it any more. He was already dragging himself along before. But after the summer work and the vintage he is unable to stand up. And yet that… makes him work… Oh! You say that we must love everybody. But it is very difficult to love hyenas! And Doras is worse than a hyena! »
« Jonah loves him… »
« Yes, Master. And I say that he is a saint like those who have been martyred because of their loyalty to the Lord Our God. »
« You have spoken the truth. What is your name? »
« Micah, and this is Saul, and this is Jowehel, and this is Isaiah. »
« I will mention your names to the Father. And you were saying that Jonah is very ill? »
« Yes, as soon as he finishes his work he throws himself on the straw and we don't see him. The other servants of Doras tell us. »
« Will he be working now? »
« Yes, if he can stand up. He should be beyond that apple orchard. »
« Was Doras' harvest a good one? »
« Yes, it was famous all over the area. The plants had to be propped up owing to the miraculous size of the fruit, and Doras had to have new vats made because there were so many grapes that the usual ones could not contain them. »
« Doras must have rewarded his servant! »
« Rewarded! Oh! Lord, how little You know of him! »
« But Jonah told Me that years ago Doras thrashed him to death for the loss of a few bunches and that he became a slave through debt, because his master blamed him for the loss of a few crops. Since this year he had a miraculous abundance, he should have given him a prize. »
« No. He lashed him savagely, accusing him of not having the same abundance in past years, because he had not taken due care of the land. »
« But that man is a beast! » exclaims Matthew.
« No. He is soulless » says Jesus. « I leave you, My sons, with a blessing. Have you bread and food for today? »
« We have this bread » and they show Him a dark loaf which they take out of a sack lying on the ground.
« Take My food. I have but this. But I am staying at Doras' today and… »
« You at Doras’ house? »
« Yes. To ransom Jonah. Did you not know? »
« No one knows anything here. But… distrust him, Master. You are like a lamb in the wolf's den. »
« He will not be able to do Me any harm. Take My food. James, give them what we have. Also your wine. You must rejoice a little, too, My poor friends. Both your souls and your bodies. Peter! Let us go. »
« I am coming, Master. There is only this furrow to cut. » And he runs to Jesus, his face drawn with fatigue. He dries himself with the mantle he had taken off, he puts it on again and he laughs happily. The four men cannot thank them enough.
« Will you pass by here again, Master? »
« Yes. Wait for Me. You will say goodbye to Jonah. Can You do that? »
« Oh! yes. The field is to be ploughed by evening. More than two thirds has been done. How well and quickly. Your friends are strong! May God bless You. Today for us is a greater feast than Passover. Oh! May God bless you all! »
Jesus goes straight to the apple-orchard. They cross it and reach Doras' fields. Other peasants are at the ploughs or are bent down removing all the loose herbs from the furrows. But Jonah is not there. The men recognize Jesus and salute Him without leaving their work.
« Where is Jonah? »
« After two hours he fell on the furrow and has been taken home. Poor Jonah. He will not have to suffer long now. He is nearing his end. We shall never have a better friend. »
« You have Me on the earth and him in Abraham's bosom. The dead love the living with a double love: their own and the love they obtain by being with God, therefore a perfect love. »
« Oh! Go to him at once. That he may see You in his suffering! » Jesus blesses and goes away.
« What are You going to do now? What will You say to Doras? » ask the disciples.
« I will go as if I knew nothing. If he sees that he is being met fairly and squarely, he may be pitiless towards Jonah and the servants. »
« Your friend is right: he is a jackal » says Peter to Simon.
« Lazarus speaks nothing but the truth and he is not a backbiter. You will meet him and you will like him » replies Simon.
The house of the Pharisee can be seen. Large, low, but well built, in the middle of an orchard now fruitless. A country house, but rich and comfortable. Peter and Simon go ahead to warn.
Doras comes out. An old man with the hard profile of a rapacious person. Ironic eyes, a serpent's mouth wriggling a false smile in a beard more white that black. « Hail, Jesus » he greets informally and with obvious condescension.
Jesus does not say: « Peace »; He replies: « May your salutation return to you. »
« Come in. My house receives You. You have been as punctual as a king. »
« As an honest person » replies Jesus.
Doras laughs as if it was a joke.
Jesus turns round and says to His disciples, who had not been invited: « Come in. They are My friends. »
« Let them come in… but isn't that one the exciseman, the son of Alphaeus? »
« This is Matthew, the disciple of Christ » says Jesus in a tone that the other understands and he gives a laugh more forced than before.
Doras would like to crush the « poor » Galilean Master under the wealth of his house which is sumptuous inside. Sumptuous and icy. The servants seem slaves. They walk with bent shoulders, stealing away swiftly,' always afraid of punishment. One feels that the house is dominated by coldheartedness and hatred.
But Jesus cannot be crushed by a display of wealth or by reminding Him of one's wealth and relatives and Doras, who understands the indifference of the Master, takes Him to his orchard-garden, showing Him rare plants and offering Him their fruits, which servants bring on golden trays and cups. Jesus enjoys and praises the delicious fruit, partly preserved as a julep, and they are beautiful peaches, partly in their natural state, and they are pears of a rare size.
« I am the only one to have them in Palestine and I don't think that there are any in the whole peninsula.
I sent for them to Persia and even farther away. The caravan cost me as much as a talent. But not even the Tetrarchs have such fruits. Perhaps not even Caesar has them. I count all the fruits and I want their stones. And the pears are eaten only at my table because I do not want even one seed to be taken away. I send some to Annas, but only cooked ones so that they are sterile. »
« But they are plants of God. And all men are equal. »
« Equal? No! I equal to… to Your Galileans? »
« Souls come from God and He creates them equal. »
« But I am Doras, the faithful Pharisee!… » He looks as proud as a peacock in saying so.
Jesus darts a glance at him with His sapphire eyes which are becoming brighter and brighter, a sign that denotes oncoming pity or severity. Jesus is so much taller than Doras and towers over him, stately in His purple tunic near the small, slightly bent Pharisee, wrinkled in a garment strikingly wide and rich in fringes.
Doras, after some time of self-admiration, exclaims: « Jesus, why did You send Lazarus, the brother of a prostitute, to the house of Doras, the pure Pharisee? Is Lazarus Your friend? You must not do that. Don't You know that he is anathematized because his sister Mary is a prostitute? »
« I know but Lazarus and his deeds which are honest. »
« But the world remembers the sin of that house and sees that its stains spread to its friends… Don't go there. Why are You not a Pharisee? If You wish… I am influential… I will have You accepted, although You are a Galilean. I can do anything in the Sanhedrin. Annas is in my hands, like the edge of my mantle. People would be more afraid of You. »
« I want only to be loved. »
« I will love You. You can see that I already love You because I am yielding to Your wish and I am giving You Jonah. »
« I paid for him. »
« True, and I am surprised that You can afford to pay so much. »
« Not I. A friend paid for Me. »
« Well, well. I am not inquisitive. I say: You see that I love You and I want to make You happy. You will have Jonah after our meal. It is only for You that I make this sacrifice… » and he laughs his cruel laughter.
Jesus darts a more and more severe glance at him, His arms folded on His chest. They are still in the orchard garden awaiting mealtime.
« But You must make me happy. A joy for a joy. I am giving You my best servant. I am therefore depriving myself of something useful for the future. This year Your blessing, I know that You were here at the beginning of summer, has given me crops which have made my farm famous. Now bless my herds and my fields. Next year I will not regret the loss of Jonah… and in the meantime I will find someone like him. Come and bless. Give me the joy of being celebrated throughout Palestine and having folds and granaries full of all sorts of good things. Come » and he grasps Jesus and tries to drag Him, overwhelmed by gold-fever.
But Jesus resists. « Where is Jonah? » he asks severely.
« Where they are ploughing. He wanted to do also that for his good master. But before the meal is over he will come. In the meantime, come and bless the herds, the fields, the orchards, the vineyards, the oilmills. Bless everything. Oh! How fruitful they will be next year! Come then. »
« Where is Jonah? » asks Jesus in a louder thundering voice.
« I told You! Where they are ploughing. He is the first servant and does not work: he is at the head of the men. »
« Liar! »
« Me? I swear to it by Jehovah! »
« Perjurer! »
« Me? I a perjurer? I am the most faithful believer! Watch how You speak! »
« Killer! » Jesus has been raising His voice louder all the time and this last word is like thunder. His disciples go near Him, servants look out of doors frightened. Jesus' face is unendurable in its severity. Phosphorescent rays seem to be emanating from His eyes.
Doras is frightened for a moment. He shrinks, a bundle of fine cloth near the tall person of Jesus, clad in a dark red woollen tunic. Then his pride prevails and he shouts with his squeaky voice like a fox's:
« Only I give orders in my house. Get out, vile Galilean. »
« I will go out after cursing you, your fields, herds and vineyards, for this year and the years to come. »
« No, don't! Yes. It is true. Jonah is ill. But he is being taken care of. He is well looked after. Withdraw Your curse. »
« Where is Jonah? Let a servant lead Me to him, at once. I paid for him; and since he is a piece of merchandise, a machine, for you, I consider him as such; and since I purchased him, I want him. »
Doras pulls out a gold whistle from his chest and blows it three times. A group of servants, both of the house and of the fields, come out from everywhere, they run near the dreaded master, bowing down so deeply, that they seem to be crawling, « Bring Jonah to Him and hand him over. Where are You going? »
Jesus does not even answer. He follows the servants who have rushed beyond the garden towards the peasants' dwellings, the filthy holes of the poor peasants. They enter Jonah's hovel.
He is only skin and bones now and is panting half-naked because of a high temperature, on a cane-mat, where the mattress is a patched up garment and the blanket an even more worn out mantle. The same woman as last time is looking after him as best she can.
« Jonah! My friend! I have come to take you away! »
« You? My Lord! I am dying… but I am happy to have You here! »
« My faithful friend, you are now free, and you will not die here. I am taking you to My house. »
« Free? Why? To Your house? Oh! Yes. You did promise me that I would see Your Mother. »
Jesus is most loving, bending over the miserable bed-of the unhappy man. And Jonah seems to be recovering on account of his joy. « Peter, you are strong. Lift up Jonah, and you, give your mantles. This bed is too hard for one in his state. »
The disciples take off their mantles at once, they fold them several times and lay them on the mat, using some as a pillow. Peter lays down his load of bones and Jesus covers him with His own mantle.
« Peter, have you got any money? »
« Yes, Master, I have forty coins. »
« Good. Let us go. Cheer up, Jonah. A little more trouble and then there will be so much peace in My house, near Mary… »
« Mary… yes… oh! Your house! » In his extreme weakness poor Jonah weeps. He can but weep.
« Goodbye, woman. The Lord will bless you for your mercy. »
« Goodbye, Lord. Goodbye, Jonah. Pray for me. » The young woman is weeping.
When they are at the door, Doras appears. Jonah makes a gesture of fear and covers his face. But Jesus lays a hand on his head and goes out beside him, more stern than a judge. The unhappy procession goes out into the rustic yard and takes the orchard path.
« That bed is mine! I sold You the servant, not the bed. »
Jesus throws the purse at his feet without saying a word.
Doras picks up the purse and empties it. « Forty coins and five didrachmas. It's too little! »
Jesus looks the greedy revolting torturer up and down, but does not reply. It is impossible to say what His gesture means.
« At least tell me that You are withdrawing the anathema! »
Jesus crushes him once again with a glare and a few words: « I entrust you to the God of Sinai » and goes past upright, beside the rustic litter, which Peter and Andrew are carrying most cautiously.
When Doras sees that it is all to no good, that the punishment is certain, he shouts: « We will meet again, Jesus! I will have You in my clutches again! I will fight You to death. You can take that worn out man. I no longer need him. I will save his burial money. Go, go away, cursed Satan! I will set the whole Sanhedrin on You. Satan! Satan! »
Jesus feigns that He does not hear. The disciples are dismayed.
Jesus attends only to Jonah. He looks for the smoothest and most sheltered paths until they reach a crossroad near Johanan's fields. The four peasants run to say goodbye to their friend who is leaving and to Jesus Who is blessing.
But the road from Esdraelon to Nazareth is a long one, and they cannot proceed speedily, because of their pitiful load. There is no wagon or cart along the main road. There is nothing. They proceed in silence. Jonah seems to be sleeping, but he holds on to Jesus' hand.
Towards evening, a military Roman wagon catches up with them.
« In the name of God, stop » says Jesus lifting His arm.
The two soldiers stop; from under the cover pulled over the wagon, as it has started raining, peeps out a pompous noncommissioned officer. « What do You want? » he asks Jesus.
« I have a dying friend. I ask you to take him into the wagon. »
« We are not allowed… but… get on. We are not dogs either. » The litter is lifted into the wagon.
« Your friend? Who are You? »
« Rabbi Jesus of Nazareth. »
« You? Oh!… » The non-commissioned officer looks at Him curiously. « If it is You, then… get on as many as you can. But don't let anyone see you… It is an order… but above orders there is also humanity, isn't there? You are good, I know. Eh! We soldiers know everything… How do I know? Even stones speak well or evil, and we have ears to listen to them in order to serve Caesar. You are not a false Christ like the others before You, who were agitators and rebels. You are good. Rome knows. This man… is very ill. »
« That is why I am taking him to My Mother. »
« Hum! She won't cure him for long! Give him some wine. It's in that canteen. Aquila, whip the horses, Quintus, give me the ration of honey and butter. It's mine, it will do him good. He has a cough and honey will help. »
« You are good. »
« No. Not quite so bad as many. And I am happy to have You here with me. Remember Publius Quintilianus of the Italica legion. I stay at Caesarea. But I am now going to Ptolomais. Inspection order. »
« You are not My enemy. »
« I? I am an enemy of bad people. Never of good people. And I would like to be good, too. Tell me: What doctrine do You preach for us, military people? »
« The doctrine is one only, for everybody. Justice, honesty, continence, compassion. One must do one's duty without any abuses. Also in the hard necessities of the army, one must be human. And one must endeavor to know the Truth, that is God, one and eternal, without which knowledge every action is deprived of grace and consequently of eternal reward. »
« But when I am dead, what will I do with the good I have done? »
« Who comes to the true God will find that good in the next life. »
« Am I going to be born again? Will I become a tribune or even an emperor? »
« No. You will become like God, being united to His eternal beatitude in Heaven. »
« What? Me in Olympus? Amongst the gods? »
« There are no gods. There is the true God. The One I preach. The One Who hears you and notes your goodness and your desire to know the Good. »
« I like that! I did not know that God could be concerned with a poor heathen soldier. »
« He created you, Publius. He therefore loves you and would like to have you with Himself. »
« Eh!… why not? But… no one ever speaks to us of God. »
« I will come to Caesarea and you will hear Me. »
« Oh! Yes. I will come to hear You. There is Nazareth. I would like to serve You further. But if they see me… »
« I will get off, and I bless you for your kindness. »
« Hail, Master. »
« May the Lord show Himself to you, soldiers. Goodbye. »
They get off and resume walking.
« In a short while you will be able to rest, Jonah » says Jesus encouragingly.
Jonah smiles. He becomes calmer and calmer as night falls and now that he is sure that he is far from Doras. John and his brother run ahead to inform Mary. And when the little procession arrives in Nazareth, almost deserted in the late evening, Mary is already at the door awaiting Her Son.
« Mother, here is Jonah. He is taking shelter under Your kindness to begin enjoying his Paradise. Are you happy, Jonah? »
« Happy! Happy! » whispers the exhausted man as if he were in ecstasy.
He is taken into the little room where Joseph died.
« You are in My father's bed. And here is My Mother, and I am here. See? Nazareth becomes Bethlehem, and you are now the little Jesus between two people who love you, and these are the ones who venerate you as the faithful servant. You cannot see the angels, but they are waving their bright wings above you and are singing the words of the Christmas psalm…»
Jesus pours all His kindness on poor Jonah who is getting worse from one second to the next. He seems to have resisted so far to die here… but he is happy. He smiles and tries to kiss Jesus' hand and Mary's, and to say… but his anguish interrupts his words. Mary comforts him like a mother. And he repeats: « Yes… yes » with a blissful smile on his emaciated face.
The disciples, standing at the kitchen garden entrance, are silent and watch deeply moved.
« God has listened to your long desire. The Star of your long night is now becoming the Star of your eternal Morning. You know its name » says Jesus.
« Jesus, Yours! Oh! Jesus! The angels… Who will sing the angelical hymn for me? My soul can hear it… but also my ears wish to hear it… Who?… to make me sleep happy… I am so sleepy! So much work I have done! So many tears… So many insults… Doras… I forgive him… but I do not want to hear his voice and I hear it. It is like the voice of Satan near me, who am dying. Who will cover that voice for me with the words that came from Heaven? »
It is Mary Who on the same tune as Her lulluby sings softly: « Glory to God in the Highest Heaven and peace to men down here. » And She repeats it two or three times because She sees that Jonah calms down on hearing it.
« Doras does not speak any more » he says after some time. « Only the angels… It was a Child… in a manger… between an ox and a donkey… and it was the Messiah… And I adored Him… and with Him there was Joseph and Mary… » His voice fades away in a short gurgle and then there is silence.
« Peace in Heaven to the man of good will! He is dead. We shall bury him in our poor sepulcher. He deserves to await the resurrection of the dead near My just father » says Jesus.
And it all ends, while Mary of Alphaeus, informed I do not know by whom, is coming in.