31st August 1945.
Jesus is working diligently in a carpenter's workshop. He is finishing a wheel. A delicate sad child helps Him handing this or that tool to Him. Manaen, although an idle witness, admires Him sitting on a bench near a wall.
Jesus has taken off His beautiful linen tunic and has put on a dark one, which is obviously not His own as it reaches only half way down His shins. It is an overall, clean although patched, which probably belonged to the deceased carpenter.
Jesus encourages the boy with smiles and kind words, teaching him what he must do to prepare the glue properly and polish the sides of the chest.
« It did not take You long to finish it, Master » says Manaen standing up and running a finger on the mouldings of the finished chest that the boy is polishing with a fluid.
« It was almost finished!... »
« I wish I had this work of Yours. But the buyer has already come and he seems to have acquired some rights... You have disappointed him. He was hoping to be able to take everything to make up for the little money he had lent. Now he has to take his articles and nothing else. If he were one who believed in You... they would be of infinite value to him. But did You hear?... »
« Leave him. On the other hand there is some wood here, and the woman will be happy to make use of it and have some profit. Give an order for a chest and I will make it for you... »
« Really, Master? Do you intend to go on working? »
« Until there is no more wood left. I am a conscientious worker » He says smiling more frankly.
« A chest made by You! Oh! What a relic! But what shall I put in it? »
« Anything you like, Manaen. It will only be a chest. »
« But made by You! »
« So? The Father also made man, He made all men. And what did man put in himself, what do men put in themselves? » Jesus speaks while working, moving about looking for the necessary tools, tightening vices, drilling, planing, turning, according to what is needed.
« We have put sins in ourselves. That's true. »
« See! And you may rest assured that man created by God is worth much more than a chest made by Me. Never mix up objects and actions. Of My chest just make a relic for your soul. »
« That is? »
« Give your spirit the teaching you get from what I do. »
« Your charity, humility, activity, then... These virtues, is that right? »
« Yes. And do likewise yourself in future. »
« Yes, Master. But will You make me a chest? »
« Yes, I will. But since you still consider it a relic, I will make you pay for it as such. Thus they will be able to say that at least once I have been greedy for money... But you know for whom the money is... For these little orphans... »
« Ask me whatever You want. I will give it to You. At least it will justify my idling while You, the Son of God, are working. »
« Agreed: “With sweat on your brow, you shall eat your bread.” »
« But that was said for the guilty man. Not for You! »
« Oh! One day I shall be the Guilty One and I shall have on Me all the sins of the world. I will take them away with Me, on My first departure. »
« And do You think that the world will not sin any more? »
« It should not. But it will always sin. That is why the burden I shall have on Me will be such as to break My heart. Because I will have to bear the sins committed from the time of Adam down to that hour, and those from that hour until the end of the world. I will expiate everything on behalf of man. »
« And yet man will not understand You and will not love You... Do You think that Korazim will turn to You because of this holy silent lesson You are giving by this work You are doing to help a family? »
« No, they will not. They will say: “He preferred to work to kill the time and keep the money for Himself.” I had no more money. I had given it all. I always give everything I have, to the last little coin, and I have worked to give the money away. »
« And what about food for Yourself and Matthew? »
« God would have provided it. »
« But You gave us to eat. »
« Of course. »
« How did You do that? »
« Ask the landlord. »
« I will, as soon as we go back to Capernaum. »
Jesus smiles mildly into His fair beard.
In the silence that follows one can hear only the squeaking of the vice tightened on two pieces of a wheel.
Then Manaen asks: « What are You thinking of doing before the Sabbath? »
« I will go to Capernaum and wait for the apostles. We decided to meet every Sabbath eve and spend the Sabbath all together. Then I will give them instructions, and if Matthew is well there will be six couples going out to evangelize. If not... Do you wish to go with them? »
« I would rather stay with You, Master... But may I give You a piece of advice? »
« Tell Me. I will accept it if it is just. »
« Never be all by Yourself. You have many enemies, Master. »
« I know. But do you think that the apostles would be of much help, in case of danger? »
« They love You, I think. »
« Of course. But that would not help. If My enemies are thinking of capturing Me, they would come with greater forces than the apostles'. »
« It does not matter. Do not be alone. »
« In two weeks' time many disciples will join Me. I am going to prepare them to send them to evangelize as well. I will no longer be alone. Do not worry. »
While they are talking thus, many curious people of Korazim come to eye them and then go away without speaking.
« They are astonished seeing You work. »
« Yes. But they are not so humble as to say: “That is how He teaches us.” The best ones I had here are with the disciples, with the exception of an old man who died. It does not matter. A lesson is always a lesson. »
« What will the apostles say when they know you have been working? »
« They are eleven, because Matthew has already said what he thinks. There will be eleven different opinions. And most of them will oppose Me. But it will help Me to teach them. »
« Will You let me attend the lesson? »
« If you wish to stay... »
« But I am a disciple, they are apostles. »
« What is good for apostles will be good also for a disciple. »
« They may resent being reminded what justice is, in my presence. »
« It will do their humility good. Stay, Manaen. I keep you willingly with Me. »
« And I remain willing with You. »
The woman shows herself and says: « Your meal is ready, Master. But You are working too much... »
« I am earning My bread, woman. And... Here is another customer. He wants a chest as well. And he will pay a good price for it. The place where you keep the wood will be empty » says Jesus taking off the worn out apron He had on, and going out of the room to wash Himself in a basin the woman brought Him into the kitchen garden.
And with one of the uncertain smiles that reappear after a long period of deep sorrow, she says: « The place for the wood empty, the house full of Your presence and my heart in peace. I am no longer afraid of tomorrow, Master. And You... be not afraid that we may ever forget You. »
They enter the kitchen and it all ends.