12th June 1945.
Jesus dismisses the boats saying: « I am not coming back » and followed by His apostles, and across the area, which appeared to be very fertile also from the opposite shore, He turns His steps towards a mountain, which appears towards the south-west.
The apostles are walking in silence, communicating with one another only by casting glances. In fact they are not enthusiastic for the journey across this beautiful but wild area, which is full of bog grass that gets entangled with their feet; of reeds that cause a drizzle of dew to fall on their heads from the edges of the leaves; of hazels that strike their faces with the hard canes of their dry fruit; of willow trees the fragile branches of which hang down everywhere tickling them; of treacherous patches of grass that seems to be growing on solid ground, whereas it conceals puddles of water into which their feet sink, they are in fact patches of foxtails and tares, growing in tiny pools and so thick as to conceal the element in which they have come up.
Jesus, instead, seems to be extremely happy in the midst of all that green and the thousand hues of all the flowers, which creep on the ground, or stand upright, or cling to other plants to climb up, forming thin festoons strewn with light convolvuli of a very delicate mallow pink, or forming delicate blue carpets for the thousand corollas of water myosotises, which open the perfect cups of white, pink, blue corollas among the large flat leaves of the water lilies. Jesus admires the tufts of the water reeds, as soft as silk and pearled with dew, and He bends joyfully to watch the delicate features of foxtails, which lay an emerald veil on the water. He stops ecstatically in front of the nests which the birds are building, flying happily to and fro, trilling, darting from branch to branch, working happily, with their beaks full of wisps of hay, of down of reeds, of flocks of wool picked on hedges, which had torn it from migrating sheep... He seems the happiest person in the world. Where is the world with its wickedness, falsehood, sorrows, snares? The world is beyond this green flowery oasis, where everything scents, shines, smiles, sings. This is the earth created by the Father and not desecrated by man and man can be forgotten here.
He wants to share His happiness with the others. But He does not find a favourable ground. The hearts of the apostles are tired and embittered by so much and they react against things and also against the Master by means of a stubborn silence, which is like the stillness of the air before a storm. Only His cousin James, the Zealot and John take an interest in what interests Jesus. All the others are... absent, if not hostile. Perhaps they are keeping quiet, not to grumble. But inwardly they must be speaking, and speaking too much.
It is a more lively exclamation of admiration before the living jewel of a kingfisher which flies down, taking a little silver fish to its mate, that makes them open their mouths.
Jesus says: « Can there be anything more gentle? »
Peter replies: « Perhaps not more gentle... but I can assure You that a boat is more comfortable. Here it is damp just the same, but we are not comfortable...»
« I would prefer the track for caravans to this... garden, if You wish to call it so, and I am in full agreement with Simon » says the Iscariot.
« It was you who did not want the caravan route » replies Jesus.
« Ehi! certainly... But I would not have given in to the Gherghesenes. I would have gone away from there, but I would have continued beyond the river to Gadara, Pella and down to the south » grumbles Bartholomew.
And his great friend Philip concludes: « The roads belong to everybody, after all, and we could have passed through them as well. »
« My friends! I am so anguished and disgusted... Do not increase My grief with your pettiness! Let Me seek some comfort in things which do not know how to hate...»
The reproach, kind in its sadness, moves the apostles.
« You are right, Master. We are not worthy of You. Forgive our foolishness. You can see the beautiful, because You are holy and You look with the eyes of Your heart. We are coarse flesh and can only perceive coarse flesh... But never mind. Believe me, even if we were in paradise, we would be sad without You. But with You... oh! it is always beautiful for our hearts. It is only our limbs that refuse » many of them whisper.
« We will soon be going out of here and will find a more comfortable ground, even if not so cool » promises Jesus.
« Where are we going exactly? » asks Peter.
« To give Passover to those who suffer. I have been wanting to do it for a long time. But I could not. I would have done it going back to Galilee. Now that they compel us to go along roads that we have not chosen, I am going to bless Jonah's poor friends. »
« We will be wasting a lot of time! Passover is near! There are always delays for various reasons. » Another chorus of complaints rises to the sky. I do not know how Jesus can be so patient...
Without reproaching anyone, He says: « Please, do not hinder Me! Endeavour to understand My need to love and to be loved. I have but this solace on the earth: to love and do the will of God. »
« And are we going from here? Was it not better to go from Nazareth? »
« If I had suggested that, you would have rebelled. No one will suspect that I am here... and I am doing it for you... because you are afraid. »
« Afraid? Ah! No! We are ready to fight for You. »
« Pray the Lord not to put you to the test. I know that you are quarrelsome, resentful, anxious to offend those who offend Me and to humble your neighbour. I know all that. But I do not know you to be brave. As far as I am concerned, I would have gone also by Myself and along the main road and nothing would have happened because it is not yet the time. But I feel sorry for you. But I have to obey My Mother, yes, also that and I do not want to upset Simon the Pharisee. I will not disgust them. But they will disgust Me. »
« And where do we go from here? I am not familiar with this area » says Thomas.
« We will reach Tabor, we will coast part of it and will go to Nain via Endor; from there to the plain of Esdraelon. Be not afraid!... Doras, the son of Doras, and Johanan are already in Jerusalem. »
« Oh! It will be beautiful! They say that from the summit, from a certain spot, one can see the Great Sea, the Sea of Rome. I like it so much! Will You take us to see it? » John begs with his kind childish face raised towards Jesus.
« Why do you like to see it so much? » asks Jesus caressing him.
« I do not know... Because it is huge and you cannot see its end... It makes me think of God... When we were up on Lebanon I saw the sea for the first time, because I had never been anywhere else, except along the Jordan or on our little sea... and I was moved so much that I wept. So much blue! So much water! And it never overflows!... What a wonderful thing! And the stars make paths of light on the sea... Oh! do not laugh at me! I looked at the golden way of the sun until I was dazzled, at the silvery way of the moon, until I could see nothing but whiteness and I saw them getting lost far far away. Those ways spoke to me. They said: God is in that infinite distance and these are the ways of fire and purity, which a soul must follow to go to God. Come. Dive into the infinite, travelling on these two ways, and you will find the Infinite One. »
« You are a poet, John » says Thaddeus admiringly.
« I do not know whether this is poetry. I know that it inflames my heart. »
« But you have seen the sea also at Caesarea and at Ptolomais, and quite close, too. We were on the beach! I do not see the need to go all that way to see some more sea water. After all... we were born on the water...» remarks James of Zebedee.
« And we are in it also now, unfortunately! » exclaims Peter, who diverting his mind for a moment to listen to John, has not noticed a treacherous puddle and has got soaked... They all laugh, and he laughs too.
But John replies: « That is true. But from high above it is more beautiful. You see more and farther. You think that it is deeper and vaster... You wish... you dream...» and John is already dreaming... He looks in front of himself and smiles at his dream... He looks like a flesh-coloured rose spread with minute dew drops, so downy becomes his smooth clear skin of a young fair-haired man and as it gets sprinkled with a light perspiration it looks more like the petal of a rose.
« What do you wish? What are you dreaming? » Jesus asks His favourite disciple in a low voice and He looks like a father who questions a dear son speaking in his sleep. Jesus speaks to John's soul, questioning him so gently as not to spoil the dream of His loving disciple.
« I wish to go on to the infinite sea... towards other lands beyond it. I wish to go and speak of You. I am dreaming... of going towards Rome, towards Greece, towards dark places to take the Light there... so that those living in darkness may get in touch with You and may live in communion with You, Light of the world... I am dreaming of a better world... to be bettered through the knowledge of You, that is, through the knowledge of the Love that makes people good, pure, heroic, of the Love that makes the world love and raise Your Name, Your Faith, Your Doctrine above hatred, sin, flesh, above the vices of the mind, above gold, above everything... and I dream of going with my brothers on the sea of God, on the road of light to take You... as Your Mother once brought You down to us from Heaven... I dream that I am a child, who knowing nothing but love, is happy also when facing trouble... and sings to comfort the adults who ponder too much, and moves forward... facing death smiling... towards glory with the humility of one who does not know what he is doing, but knows only that he is coming to You, Love...»
The apostles have not breathed during John's ecstatic confession... They remained still where they were, looking at the youngest one speaking with his eyes covered by his eyelids, like a veil thrown over the ardour rising from his heart, and looking at Jesus Who is enraptured finding Himself so completely in His disciple...
When John stops speaking, slightly bent forward he reminds me of the gracefulness of the Virgin Mary at the Annunciation in Nazareth Jesus kisses his forehead saying: « We shall go and contemplate the sea, to let you dream once again My future Kingdom in the world. »
« Lord... You said that afterwards we shall be going to Endor. Make me happy too... that I may get over the bitterness of that boy's judgement...» says the Iscariot.
« Oh! are you still thinking about that? » asks Jesus.
« Yes, always. I feel degraded in Your eyes and in the eyes of my companions. I think of what Your thoughts...»
« Why do you fret over trifles? I was not thinking of that trifle any longer, neither were the others. You are reminding us... You are a child accustomed only to being caressed and the word of a little boy seems the sentence of a judge to you. But you must not be afraid of that word, but of your actions and of God's judgement. But to convince you that you are as dear to Me as previously, as always, I tell you that I will satisfy you. What do you wish to see at Endor? It is a poor village among the rocks...»
« Take me there... and I will tell You. »
« All right. But mind it does not cause you to suffer afterwards...»
« If it cannot be painful for him to contemplate the sea, it cannot be harmful to me to see Endor. »
« To see?... But it is the desire of what one seeks to see in looking that can be harmful. But we shall go...»
And they resume the road towards Mount Tabor, the huge mass of which appears to be nearer and nearer, while the marshy aspect of the ground changes, as the soil becomes solid and dry and the vegetation thinner, making room for taller plants and bushes of clematis and blackberries, the new leaves and early flowers of which are a pleasant sight.