29th July 1945.
Jesus is on the road that comes from lake Merom towards the lake of Galilee. He is with the Zealot and Bartholomew near a modest little brook, which nevertheless nourishes many plants, and the trio seem to be waiting for the others who are about to arrive from two different directions.
It is a very warm day, and yet many people have followed the three groups that have been preaching in the country addressing those who are in good health and taking the sick to the Master. Many people who have been cured miraculously form a happy group sitting among the trees, and their joy is such that they do not even feel tired notwithstanding the heat, the dust, the dazzling light, which are a great trial for everybody else.
When the group led by Judas Thaddeus first arrives near Jesus, all those forming it or following it appear to be very tired. The last group to arrive is the one led by Peter and it comprises many people from Korazim and Bethsaida.
« We have finished, Master. But there ought to be many groups... You can see Yourself. It is not possible to walk far, because of the heat. So what can we do? The more we have to do, the more the world seems to be widening out, scattering villages and increasing distances. I never realised that Galilee was so large. We are in a corner of Galilee, just a corner, and yet we cannot evangelize it, so wide it is and so large the number of those who need You and want You » sighs Peter.
« It is not the world that is growing wider. It is the knowledge of our Master that is spreading » replies Thaddeus.
« Yes, it is true. Look how many people. Many have been following us since this morning. During the warmest hours we took shelter in a copse. But even now, when it is almost evening, it is painful to walk. And these poor people are much farther from their homes than we are. If our work keeps growing like this, I do not know what we shall do... » says James of Zebedee.
« The shepherds will be coming too, in Tishri » says Andrew to encourage them.
« Yes! Shepherds, disciples, how lovely! They are only good at saying: “Jesus is the Saviour. He is over there.” Nothing else » replies Peter.
« At least people will know where to find Him. Instead now... ! If we come here, they rush here, and while they are coming here, we go there, and they have to run after us. Which is not very pleasant when there are children and sick people. »
Jesus speaks: « You are right, Peter. I feel sorry as well for these souls and this people. The fact that many of them may not find Me at a certain moment, may be the cause of irreparable misfortunes. Look how tired and bewildered are those who are not yet certain of My Truth and look how hungry are those who have already tasted My word and can no longer go without it, and no other word can satisfy them. They look like sheep without a shepherd, wandering about without finding anyone who may lead them and pasture them. I will see to them, but you must help Me, with all your spiritual, moral and physical strength. You will no longer have to go around in large groups, but in couples. And we will send also the best disciples two by two. Because the harvest is really rich. Oh! I will prepare you in summer for this great mission. By the month of Tammuz Isaac will join us with his best disciples. And I will prepare you. But even so you will not be enough. Because the harvest is really rich but the labourers are few. So pray the Lord of the harvest to send many labourers to His harvest. »
« Yes, my Lord. But that will not make much difference to the situation of those who seek You » says James of Alphaeus.
« Why, brother? »
« Because they are looking not only for doctrine and words of Life, but they want to be cured and to be assisted and helped in all their ailments and in the impairments that either Satan or life have brought to their inferior or superior parts. And only You can do that, because Yours is the Power. »
« Those who are one with Me will be able to do what I do and the poor will be helped in all their miseries. But you do not have as yet what is required to do that. Endeavour to overcome yourselves, to trample on your humanity and thus let your spirit triumph. Absorb not only My word, but the spirit of it, that is, sanctify yourselves through it and then you will be able to do everything.
And now let us go and speak to them, as they do not wish to go away unless I speak the word of God to them. Then we shall go back to Capernaum. There will be someone waiting for us there as well... »
« Lord, is it true that Mary of Magdala asked You to forgive her, in the Pharisee's house? »
« It is true, Thomas. »
« And did You forgive her? » asks Philip.
« I did. »
« You did the wrong thing! » exclaims Bartholomew.
« Why? She was sincerely repentant and deserved to be forgiven. »
« But You should not have forgiven her in that house, publicly... » says the Iscariot reproachingly.
« But I do not understand where I was wrong. »
« This is the point: You know who the Pharisees are, how full their heads are of cavils, how they watch You, slander and hate You. One of them in Capernaum was Your friend and that was Simon. And You called a prostitute into his house to desecrate it and cause scandal to Your friend Simon. »
« I did not call her. She came. She was not a prostitute. She repented. That throws a different light on the matter. If they were not overcome with nausea beforehand, when they approached her and desired her, also in My presence, now that she is no longer just flesh, but a soul, they should not feel disgust seeing her enter the house to kneel at My feet and accuse herself weeping, humiliating herself in humble public confession represented by her tears. Simon the Pharisee had his house sanctified by a great miracle: “the resurrection of a soul.” Five days ago in the square in Capernaum he asked Me: “Is that the only miracle You worked?” and he replied himself: “Certainly not” showing his desire to see one. And I gave it to him. I chose him to be the witness, the middleman of this engagement of a soul with Grace. He ought to be proud of it. »
« Instead he is scandalised. Perhaps You have lost a friend. »
« I found a soul. It is worth losing a man with his friendship, the poor friendship of a man, to give a soul the friendship of God. »
« It is useless. We cannot get You to consider matters from a human point of view. We are on the earth, Master! Remember that. And the laws and the ideas of the world are in force. You act according to the method of Heaven, You live in the Heaven You have in Your heart, You see everything in the light of Heaven. Poor Master of Mine! How divinely unsuited You are to live among us wicked people! » exclaims Judas embracing Him. The apostle, who is amazed and desolate at the same time, concludes: « And I am sorry because, through too much perfection, You make enemies of too many people. »
« Do not be sorry, Judas. It is written that it must be thus. But how do you know that Simon is offended? »
« He did not say that he is offended. But he made Thomas and me understand that it should not have happened. You should not have invited her to his house, which only honest people enter. »
« Well! With regard to the honesty of the people going to Simon's house, let us drop the subject » says Peter.
And Matthew adds: « I could say that the perspiration of prostitutes poured several times on the floors, on the table and beyond them in the house of Simon, the Pharisee. »
« But not publicly » retorts Judas.
« No. Hypocrisy concealed it. »
« So you can see that there is a difference. »
« There is also a difference between a prostitute who goes in to say: “I am giving up my disgraceful sinful life” and one who goes in to say: “Here I am to commit sin with you.” »
« Matthew is right » they all say.
« Of course, he is right. But they do not reason the way we do. We must come to a compromise with them, and adjust ourselves to their ways to have them friendly. »
« No, never, Judas. In truth, honesty, in moral behaviour there are neither adjustments nor compromises! » thunders Jesus. And He concludes: « In any case I know that I acted rightly and for a good purpose. And that is enough. Let us go and dismiss those tired people. »
And He goes towards those who are spread under the trees, looking in His direction, anxiously waiting to hear Him.
« Peace to you all who have walked for miles and in dog days to come and hear the Gospel. I solemnly tell you that you are beginning to really understand what the Kingdom of God is, how precious its possession is and how blissful to belong to it. And labour is no longer burdensome for you, as it is for others, because you are ruled by your soul, which says to the flesh: “Rejoice because I am oppressing you. I am doing it for your own happiness. When you are joined to me again, after resurrection, you will love me for crushing you and you will see me as your second saviour.” Do your souls not say that? Of course they do! You now base your actions on the teaching of the parables I spoke to you some time ago. But I will now give you further light to make you love more and more the Kingdom which awaits you and the value of which cannot be measured.
Listen: A man went by chance into a field to get some mould for his little kitchen garden and while he was digging with some difficulty the very hard soil, he came across a vein of precious metal. What did the man do then? He covered up with earth what he had discovered. He did not mind working a little more, because the discovery justified the work. He then went home, he gathered together all his wealth consisting of money and valuables and he sold the latter to make more money. He then went to the owner of the field and said to him: “I like your field. How much do you want for it?” “I am not selling it” replied the owner. But the man offered larger and larger sums of money disproportionate to the value of the field, and at last he succeeded in convincing the owner who thought: “This man must be mad! And supposing he is, I am going to take advantage of the situation. I will accept the money he offers me. It is not a matter of money-grubbing, because he insists in offering me it. With that money I will be able to buy at least three more fields, and better ones as well.” And he sold the field and was sure he had done very good business. But it was the other man who had done a wonderful deal because he gave away what could be stolen by thieves, or lost or used up, and he gained a treasure, which being real and natural, was inexhaustible. It was worth while sacrificing what he had, to make that purchase, although for some time he possessed nothing but the field, because in actual fact he possessed, and forever, the treasure hidden in it.
You have understood all that and you behave like the man of the parable. Give up transient riches in order to possess the Kingdom of Heaven. Sell them or give them to the fools in the world and let them laugh at you because the world thinks it is foolish to do that. Do that, always behave like that, and your Father Who is in Heaven will rejoice giving you one day your seat in the Kingdom.
Go back to your homes before the Sabbath comes, and on the day of the Lord meditate on the parable of the treasure, which is the heavenly Kingdom. Peace be with you. »
The crowds slowly spread along the road and the country paths, while Jesus goes towards Capernaum as night is falling.
He arrives there at night. They noiselessly cross the silent town in the moonlight, which is the only light in the dark unevenly paved narrow streets. They silently enter the little kitchen garden near the house, as they think that everybody is in bed. Instead a lamp is lit in the kitchen and three shadows, made mobile by the flickering flame, are thrown on the white wall of the stone-oven.
« There is somebody waiting for You, Master. But it is not possible to go on like this! I will go and tell them that You are too tired. Go up on to the terrace in the meantime. »
« No, Simon. I am going into the kitchen. If Thomas kept these people here, there must be a good reason for it. »
In the meantime those inside the house have heard the whispering and Thomas, the landlord, comes to the door.
« Master, the usual lady is here. She has been waiting for you since yesterday evening, at sunset. She is with a servant » and he adds in a low voice: « She is very nervous. She weeps all the time... »
« All right. Tell her to come upstairs. Where did she sleep? »
« She did not want to sleep. Then she withdrew to my room for a few hours, at dawn. I let the servant sleep in one of your beds. »
« Very well. He can sleep there also tonight. And you will sleep in Mine. »
« No, Master. I shall sleep on some mats on the terrace. I shall sleep very well just the same. »
Jesus goes up to the terrace. Martha follows Him.
« Peace to you, Martha. »
A sob is her reply.
« Are you still weeping? Are you not happy? »
Martha shakes her head.
« But why? »...
There is a long pause full of sobs. At last she moans: « Mary has not come back for many nights. And we cannot find her. Neither I nor Marcella nor the nurse can find her... She went out after ordering the wagon to be ready for her. She was magnificently dressed... Oh! she would not put on my dress again!... She was not half-nude – she has some such dresses as well – but it was still a very provoking one... And she took jewels and perfumes... and has not come back. She dismissed the servant when they reached the first houses in Capernaum saying: “I will come back in the company of other people.” But she has not come back. She deceived us! Or she felt lonely, perhaps she was tempted... or something has happened to her... She has not come back... » And Martha falls on her knees, weeping, with her head reclined on her forearm, which is resting on a pile of empty sacks.
Jesus looks at her and like an overlord He says slowly and confidently: « Do not weep. Mary came to Me three evenings ago. She anointed My feet and left at My feet all her jewels. She thus consecrated herself, and forever, and has become one of My disciples. Do not disparage her in your heart. She has excelled you. »
« But where is my sister then? » exclaims Martha looking up with a troubled face. « Why has she not come back home? Has she been assailed? Has she taken a boat and drowned herself? Or has a rejected lover carried her off? Oh! Mary! My Mary! I had found her and I have lost her at once! » Martha is really beside herself. She does not consider that those downstairs can hear her. Neither does she consider that Jesus can tell her where her sister is. She is in despair and does not ponder on anything.
Jesus takes her by the wrists and compels her to be still and to listen to Him, towering above her with His height and dominating her with His magnetic look. « That is enough! I want you to have faith in My words. I want you to be generous. Have you understood? » He does not let her go until Martha calms down a little. « Your sister has gone to savour her joy, and she has enveloped herself in holy solitude because she is full of the supersensitive modesty of redeemed souls. I told you in advance. She cannot bear the kind but inquisitive look of relatives on her new dress of a bride of Grace. And what I say is always true. You must believe Me. »
« Yes, my Lord, I do. But my Mary has been too long a prey to the demon, He has recaptured her at once, he... »
« He is avenging himself on you for the prey he has lost forever. Am I therefore to see that you, the strong woman, are becoming his prey through a foolish dismay for no reason whatsoever? Am I to see that because of her, who now believes in Me, you are going to lose the beautiful faith that I always saw in you? Martha! Look at Me carefully. Listen to Me. Do not listen to Satan. Do you not know that when he is compelled to give up a prey, because God has defeated him, he busies himself at once to find other victims, because he is an untiring torturer of human beings and an indefatigable thief of God's rights? Do you not know that the recovery of a soul is consolidated by the torture of another good faithful soul that resists the demon's attacks? Do you not know that nothing of what exists and happens in creation is uncontrolled, but everything follows an eternal law of subordination and consequence, whereby the deed of one person has very wide natural and supernatural repercussions? You are weeping here, you are tormented here by a horrible doubt, but you remain faithful to your Christ also in this hour of darkness. Not far from you, but in a place unknown to you, Mary feels that her last doubt on the infinity of forgiveness received is being dissipated and her weeping changes into smiles and her shadow into light. It is your torture that guided her where there is peace, where souls are regenerated near the immaculate Mother, Who is such Life that She was granted the privilege of giving birth to the Christ, Who is the Life. Your sister is with My Mother. Oh! she is not the first to furl sail in that peaceful harbour after the gentle ray of the living Star of Mary called her to Her loving bosom, out of silent but active love for Her Son! Your sister is at Nazareth. »
« But how did she go there if she does not know Your Mother, or Your house?... By herself... At night... Thus... Without means... Wearing that dress... Such a long way... How? »
« How? As a tired swallow flies back to its native nest, crossing seas and mountains, through storms, fog and hostile winds. As swallows fly to hibernating places. Instinct guides them, warmth invites them, the sun calls them. She also went to the ray inviting her... to the universal Mother. And we will see her come back happily at dawn... coming out forever from darkness, with a Mother beside her, Mine, never to be an orphan again. Can you believe that? »
« Yes, my Lord. »
Martha looks as if she were charmed. Jesus in fact has been the dominator. Tall, upright, and yet lightly bent over Martha who was kneeling, He has spoken slowly, but incisively, as if He wished to transfuse Himself into the perturbed disciple. I have seldom seen Him so powerful, to persuade by means of His word a person listening to Him. But at the end, what light, what smile is on His face! Martha's face mirrors it with a smile and a milder light.
« And now go and rest. With My peace. »
Martha kisses His hands and goes downstairs in better spirits...