22nd June 1945.
Peter is really stately while entering the enclosure of the Temple, acting as the father of Jabez, whom he is holding by the hand. He is walking so erect, that he looks even taller than he really is.
All the others are behind him, in a group. Jesus is last and is engaged in close conversation with John of Endor, who seems to be ashamed to enter the Temple.
Peter asks his protégé: « Have you ever been here before? » and the boy replies: « When I was born, father. But I do not remember » which makes Peter laugh heartily. Also the others, when they are told by Peter, laugh and say gently and wittily: « Perhaps you were sleeping and so...» or « We are all like you. We do not remember when we came here when we were born. »
Also Jesus asks John of Endor the same question and gets a similar reply. In fact John says to Him: « We were proselytes and my mother carried me here in her arms, just at Passover, because I was born early in Adar and my mother, who came from Judaea, set out as soon as she was able to, to offer her son to the Lord in good time. Perhaps too early, because she was taken ill and never recovered. I was under two years of age when I lost my mother. The first misfortune in my life. I was her first-born, I became her only child because of her disease, and she was very proud to die having complied with the Law. My father used to say to me: “She died a happy death because she had offered you to the Temple.”.. Poor mother! What did you offer? A future murderer...»
« John, do not say that. You were Felix then, now you are John. Bear in mind the great grace that God granted you, always remember that. Forget your past debasement... Did you not come back to the Temple again? »
« Oh! Yes. When I was twelve years old and always after that, as long as... I was able to... Later, when I could have come, I did not, because I told You that I worshipped only one thing: Hatred... And that is why I dare not proceed further here. I feel a stranger in the House of the Father... I have abandoned it for too long...»
« You are coming back to it led by the hand by Me Who am the Son of the Father. If I am taking you up to the altar, it means that I know that everything has been forgiven. »
John of Endor sobs deeply and says: « Thank You, my God. »
« Yes, thank the Most High. Can you not see that your mother, a true Israelite, had a prophetic spirit? You are the son sacred to the Lord and never ransomed. You are Mine, you belong to God, you are a disciple and thus a future priest of your Lord in the new era and in the new religion, which will be called after Me. I absolve you of everything, John. Proceed confidently towards the Holy. I solemny tell you that among those who live in this enclosure there are many more guilty and less worthy than you to go near the altar...»
Peter in the meantime is busy showing the boy the most noteworthy things in the Temple, but he asks the more learned ones, particularly Bartholomew and Simon, to help him, because in the fulfillment of his duty as a father he feels more at ease with the elder ones.
They are near the treasury to make their offering when Joseph of Arimathea calls them. « You are here? When did you arrive? » he asks after greeting them.
« Yesterday evening. »
« And the Master? »
« He is over there, with a new disciple. He is coming. »
Joseph looks at the boy and asks Peter: « One of your grandsons? »
« No... yes... well: nothing by blood, a great deal by faith, everything by love. »
« I do not understand...»
« He is a little orphan... so nothing by blood. A disciple, therefore a great deal by faith. A son.., so everything by love. The Master took him... and I caress him. He is becoming of age in the next few days...»
« Already twelve years old? And so small? »
« Eh!... The Master will tell you... Joseph, you are good... one of the few good people in here... Tell me... would you help me in this matter? You know... I am presenting him as if he were my son. But I am a Galilean and I am a nasty leper...»
« A leper?! » exclaims Joseph inquisitively moving away in fright.
« Don't be afraid! I am a leper because I belong to Jesus! The most loathesome form of leprosy for those of the Temple, with a few exceptions. »
« No! Don't say that! »
« It's the truth and we must admit it... So I am afraid they will be cruel to the boy because of me and because of Jesus. In any case I do not know how much he knows of the Law, of the Halascia, the Haggadha and of the Midrasciots. Jesus says that he knows quite a lot...»
« Well, if Jesus says so! Don't be afraid! »
« Only to cause me trouble they would...»
« You are very fond of this little fellow! Do you keep him with you all the time? »
« I cannot!... I am always about... The boy is too young and delicate...»
« But I would willingly come with you...» says Jabez who has been reassured by Joseph's caresses.
Peter is bright with joy... But he says: « The Master says that we must not do that and we will not do it... But we shall meet now and again just the same... Joseph... will you help me? »
« Of course, I will! I will come with you. They will not do him an injustice in front of me. When? Oh! Master! Give me Your blessing! »
« Peace to you, Joseph. I am happy to see you and I am glad that you are in good health. »
« I am happy, too, Master, and also Your friends will be pleased t o see You. Are You staying at Gethsemane? »
« I was there, but after the prayer I am going to Bethany. »
« To Lazarus'? »
« No, to Simon's. My Mother, the mother of My brothers and the mother of John and James are also there. Will you come and see Me? »
« Are You asking me? I will come with great joy and it is a great honour, for which I thank You. I will come with some friends...»
« Be careful, Joseph, with friends!...» suggests Simon Zealot.
« Oh! You already know them. Prudence teaches: “Do not let the air know.” But when you see them you will understand that they are friends. »
« Master, Simon of Jonah was telling me about the ceremony for the little one. You arrived when I was asking when you intend having it. I want to be there, too. »
« On the Wednesday before Passover. I want him to keep Passover as a son of the Law. »
« Very good. That is settled. I will come and join you at Bethany. But I will come with my friends on Monday. »
« Agreed. »
« Master, I must leave You. Peace be with You. It is the hour of incense. »
« Goodbye, Joseph. Peace be with you. Come, Jabez. This is the most solemn hour of the day. There is another one in the morning. It is right that man should bless the Lord to be blessed during the day, in all his deeds. But in the evening it is more solemn. Light fades, work ends, night falls. The fading light reminds us of the fall into sin and in fact sinful deeds are generally accomplished during the night. Why? Because man, no longer engrossed in his work, can be more easily entrapped by the Evil One who avails himself of his allurements and nightmares. It is therefore right, after thanking God for protecting us during the day, that we should implore Him to deliver us from night phantasms and temptations. Night, sleep... the symbols of death. Blessed be those who after living with the blessing of the Lord go to sleep in a bright dawn and not in darkness. The priest who offers incense, does so on behalf of us all. He prays for all the people, in communion with God, and God entrusts him with the blessing for the whole people of His children. See how great the ministry of a priest is? »
I would like... I would feel as if I were closer to my mummy...»
If you are always a good disciple and a good son to Peter, you will become one. Come now. The trumpets are announcing that the time has come. Let us go and praise Yahweh with veneration. »