18th April 1945.
John and his brother knock at a door in a village. I recognise the house which the two disciples of Emmaus entered With Christ after His resurrection. When the door is opened, they go in and speak to someone I do not see. They come out and walk along a street and join Jesus, Who is standing with the others in a lonely place.
« He is at home, Master. And he is really happy that You have come. He said to us: “Go and tell Him that my house is at His disposal. I am coming, too.” »
« Let us go, then. »
They walk for a little while and then meet the old head of the synagogue Cleopas, whom we saw at the Clear Water. They bow to one another, then the old man, who looks like a patriarch, kneels down in veneration. Some citizens, who see him, draw near curiously.
The old man stands up and says: « Here is the promised Messiah. Remember this day, o citizens of Emmaus. »
Some people watch with a completely human curiosity, some instead look with religious respect. Two men elbow their way through the crowd and say: « Peace to You, Rabbi. We were there, too, on that day. »
« Peace to you all. I have come as your head of the synagogue asked Me. »
« Will You work miracles also here? »
« If there are children of God who believe and need a miracle, I will certainly work it. »
The head of the synagogue says: « Those who wish to hear the Master, should come to the synagogue. Also those who have sick people. Can I say that, Master? »
« Yes, you can. After the sixth hour I shall be entirely at your disposal. Now I am entirely of good Cleopas. » And followed by a train of people He walks beside the old man to his house.
« Here is my son, Master. And this is my wife. And this is the wife of my son and her little children. I am sorry that my other son is in Jerusalem, with the father-in-law of my son Cleopas, and with another poor man from here… But I will tell You. Come in, my Lord, with Your disciples. »
They go in and are refreshed in the usual Jewish custom. They then sit near the fire burning in a large fireplace, because it is a cold damp day.
« We will soon be sitting at the table. I have invited the notables of the place. It is a great feast, today. They do not all believe in You. But they are not enemies either. They are only inquirers… They would like to believe. But we have been disappointed too often, lately, about the Messiah. People are distrustful. A word from the Temple would suffice to dispel all doubts. But the Temple… I think that if people see You and hear You, in a simple way, a lot can be done in that direction. I would like to give You some real friends. »
« You are one. »
« I am a poor old man. If I were younger, I would follow You. But old age is a burden. »
« You already serve Me by believing. You preach Me with your faith. Be good, Cleopas. I will not forget you in the hour of Redemption. »
« Here is Simon with Hermas. They are arriving » informs the son of the head of the synagogue.
They all stand up while two middle-aged gentlemanlike men come in.
« This is Simon and this is Hermas. They are true Israelites. But their souls are genuine. »
« God will reveal Himself to their souls. May in the meantime peace descend upon them. Without peace one cannot hear God. »
« It is also stated in the book of the Kings speaking of Elijah. »
« Are these Your disciples? » asks the one named Simon.
« Yes, they are. »
« They are of every age and from every place. And are You Galilean? »
« From Nazareth. But I was born in Bethlehem at the time of the census. »
« You are a Bethlehemite, then. It confirms Your figure. »
« It is a benign confirmation, for human weakness. But the confirmation is in the supernatural. »
« You mean, in Your works » says Hermas.
« In them and in the words that the Spirit puts on My lips. »
« They have been repeated to me by those who heard them. Your wisdom is really great. And are You going to found Your Kingdom on it? »
« A king must have subjects who know the laws of his kingdom. »
« But all Your laws are spiritual! »
« You are right, Hermas. They are all spiritual. I will have a spiritual kingdom. I have therefore a spiritual code. »
« What about the reconstruction of Israel then? »
« Do not fall into the common error of understanding the name Israel for what its human meaning is. Israel means “People of God”. I will rebuild the true freedom and power of this people of God and I will rebuild it by giving back to Heaven the souls which have been redeemed and made wise of the eternal truth. »
« Please, let us sit at the table » says Cleopas who sits with Jesus at the centre of the table. Hermas is on Jesus' right and Simon is next to Cleopas, then the son of the head of the synagogue and the disciples.
Jesus, at the request of the landlord, makes the offering and blesses and the meal starts.
« Have You come to this area? » asks Hermas.
« No, I am going to Galilee. I will pass here later. »
« What? Are You leaving the Clear Water? »
« Yes, Cleopas. »
« Crowds of people used to come there, notwithstanding it was winter. Why disappoint them? »
« Not I. That is what the pure ones of Israel want. »
« What? Why? What harm were You doing? Palestine has many rabbis who speak where they wish. Why are You not allowed to do so? »
« Do not investigate, Cleopas. You are old and wise. Do not put the poison of bitter knowledge into your heart. »
« Perhaps You were preaching a new doctrine, which through an error of evaluation, was considered dangerous by the Scribes and Pharisees? What we know of You does not seem… is that right Simon? Perhaps we do not know everything. According to You, in what does the Doctrine consist? » asks Hermas.
« In the exact knowledge of the Decalogue. In love and mercy. Love and mercy, this breath and this blood of God, are the rule of My behaviour and of My Doctrine. And I practise it in all my daily difficult situations. »
« But that is not a fault! It is goodness. »
« It is considered a sin by the Scribes and Pharisees. But I cannot misrepresent My mission, neither can I disobey God Who sent Me as “Mercy” on to the earth. The time of full Mercy has come after centuries of Justice. Justice is the sister of Mercy. They were born of the same womb; but whereas before Justice was stronger and the other only mitigated its rigours – because God cannot be forbidden to love – now Mercy is the queen and Justice rejoices, because it was so grieved at having to punish! If you consider the situation properly, you will easily see that they always existed since Man compelled God to be severe. The fact that mankind still exists is the proof of what I say. Adam's very punishment is blended with mercy. God could have burnt them to ashes in their sin. He granted them expiation. And he made a Woman, the cause of good, shine in the eyes of the woman, the cause of all evil, depressed for being the cause of evil. And He granted both of them children and the knowledge of existence. To Cain, the killer, together with justice He granted the mark, which was mercy, so that he might not be killed. And He granted Noah to mankind corrupted, that he might save man in the ark and He then promised the eternal covenant of peace. No more fierce deluges. Justice was subdued by Mercy. Do you wish to go back through Sacred History with Me as far as My moment? You will see greater and greater waves of love follow one upon the other. Now the sea of God is full and it lifts you, o mankind, upon its clear tranquil water, it lifts you cleansed and beautiful up to Heaven, and says to you: “I hand you back to my Father.” »
The three men are absorbed in the astonishment of so much loving light. Then Cleopas sighs: « It is so. But You are the only one like that! But what will happen to Joseph? Should they have already listened to him? Will they have listened to him? »
Cleopas addresses Jesus: « Master, a man of Emmaus has fallen into a grave sin. His father, a long time ago, repudiated his wife, who went to Antioch and settled there with her brother, who owned an emporium. He had never met that woman, who, for reasons which I am not investigating, was repudiated a few months after she had been married. He had been told nothing about her, because her name had of course been banished from that house. When he grew into a man and he inherited his father's wealth and business, he decided to get married and having met a woman at Joppa, who owned a rich emporium he married her. Now I do not know how, but it became common knowledge that that woman was the daughter of his father's first wife. It was therefore a grave sin, although, from my point a view, the paternity of the woman is most uncertain. Joseph, who was condemned, all at once lost his peace both as a believer and as a husband. And although he most regretfully repudiated his wife, perhaps his sister, who was so grieved that she became feverish and died, he has not been forgiven. In all conscience I say that, if he had had no enemies eager for his wealth, he would not have been hit so hard. What would You do? »
« It is a very grave case, Cleopas. Why did you not speak to Me about it, when you came to see Me? »
« I did not want to keep You away from here… »
« Oh! But I am not driven away by such things! Now listen. From a material point of view, there is an incest. And consequently a punishment. But a fault is a moral sin, only when there is a will to commit a sin. Did the man consciously commit incest? You say no. Well, where is the sin? I mean, his guilt in wanting to commit a sin? There is still to consider the fault of a common life with the daughter of his father. But you say that it is uncertain whether she was such. And even if she were, the fault ended when their common life ended. And it certainly ended both because of the repudiation and of her subsequent death. I therefore say that the man should be forgiven his seeming sin. And I say that since there is no conviction for the royal incest, which persists and is known to the whole world, people should feel pity for this sad case, the origin of which goes back to the right of repudiation granted by Moses to avoid more evils, if not graver ones. I do not approve of that right, because man and wife, whether they are married happily or unhappily, should live together, without any repudiation, which encourages adultery and situations like the present one. And further, I would repeat, if you are going to be severe, you must be equally so with everybody. First of all with yourselves and then with the mighty ones. But as far as I know, with the exception of the Baptist, no one has raised his voice against the royal sin. Are those who condemn, immune from similar or worse sins, or does their name or their power cast a veil over them, as their pompous mantles protect their bodies, which are often unhealthy because of their vices? »
« You are right, Master. It is so. But, in short, who are You?… » ask together the two friends of the head of the synagogue.
Jesus has no time to reply because the door opens and Simon, the father-in-law of Cleopas junior comes in.
« You are welcome. What is the news? »
They are all so curious that no one thinks of the Master any more…
« Well… he has been condemned. They would not even accept the offer of the sacrifice. Joseph has been cut off from Israel. »
« Where is he? »
« Out there. He is weeping. I have tried to speak to the most powerful ones. But they rejected me as if I were a leper. Now… But… That man is ruined. Both his wealth and his soul. What can he do? »
Jesus stands up and goes towards the door, without saying one word.
Old Cleopas thinks that He has taken offence for being neglected and says: « Oh! forgive me, Master! But I am so grieved that my mind is upset. Please, stay here! »
« I will stay, Cleopas. I am only going to see that poor man. Come, if you wish, with Me. » Jesus goes out into the hall.
There is a strip of ground in front of the house, with some small flower-beds, and beyond it there is the road. There is a man lying on the threshold. Jesus goes near him with His arms stretched out. Behind Him are all the others who are anxious to see.
« Joseph, has no one forgiven you? » Jesus speaks most kindly. The man starts on hearing a new voice which sounds so kind after the many voices that condemned him. He looks up full of amazement.
« Joseph, has no one forgiven you? » asks Jesus once again and He bends to take the hands of the man, trying to lift him up.
« Who are You? » asks the unhappy fellow.
« I am Mercy and Peace. »
« There is no more mercy or peace for me. »
« There is always some in the bosom of God. That bosom is full of them, particularly for unhappy children. »
« But my sin is such that I am separated from God. You are certainly good, but leave me, that You may not get contaminated. »
« I will not leave you. I want to give you peace. »
« But I am… Who are You? »
« I told you: Mercy and Peace. I am the Saviour, I am Jesus. Stand up. I can do what I want. In the name of God I absolve you from your unintentional contamination. The other evil does not exist. I am the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. All judgement has been given to Me by the Eternal Father. Who believes in My word will have eternal life. Come, poor child of Israel. Refresh your tired body and fortify your depressed spirit. I will forgive much graver sins. No. The desperation of hearts will not come from Me! I am the spotless Lamb, but I do not run away from wounded sheep, lest I should get contaminated. On the contrary I look for them and take them with Me. Too many people have been completely ruined through an excessive and also unfair sternness of judgement. Woe to those who lead a spirit to desperation because of their intolerant strictures! They do not act in the interests of God, but for Satan's. Now I have seen a prostitute, who was anxious to redeem herself, driven away from the Redeemer, I have seen the head of a synagogue persecuted because he was a just man. I now see a man struck for an unintentional fault. I see too many things being accomplished where vice and falsehood are thriving. And like a wall that is raised by placing one brick on top of another and thus forms a barrier, so the things I have seen, and I have already seen too many in one year, are building up a wall of hardness between Me and them. Woe to them when it will be completely built with the materials supplied by them! Take this, eat and drink. You are exhausted. Then, tomorrow you will come to Me. Do not be afraid. When You are back in a peaceful frame of mind, you will be free to decide on your future. You are not able now and it would be dangerous to let you do it. »
Jesus has taken the man back into the dining room and has forced him to sit in His place. He then serves him and addressing Hermas and Simon He says: « That is My Doctrine. That and nothing else. And I do not only preach it. I practise it. Let those who thirst for Truth and Love come to Me. »
« And My first year of evangelisation ends here. Take note of that. What shall I tell you? I gave it because it was my wish to make it known. But what happens with the Pharisees, happens also with this work. My desire to be loved – to know is to love – is rejected by too many things. And that deeply grieves Me, the Eternal Master imprisoned by you… »