20th November 1945.
« You will put here the vision that you saw on 11th September 1944.»
Ishmael Ben Fabi.
Jesus is once again with His disciples on the road that from the Esdraelon plain takes one to Nazareth. They must have spent the night somewhere, because it is early morning. They walk for some time in silence. Jesus is ahead of them, alone, then He calls Peter and Simon and walks with them, finally they are all in a group until they reach a cross-roads where the Nazareth road joins the road that leads to the north.
Jesus beckons those who are speaking to be quiet and says: « We shall now part. I am going to Nazareth with My brothers, with Peter and Thomas. Under the guidance of Simon Zealot, along the Tabor and caravan road, you will go to Debaret, Tiberias, Magdala, Capernaum, and then towards Meron. You will stop at Jacob's to see whether he has been converted and you will take My blessing to Judas and Anne. You will stay in those houses where they offer you hospitality more insistently. You will stay one night only in each place, because on the Sabbath evening we will meet on the Saphet road. I will spend the Sabbath at Korazim, in the house of the widow. Call on her and tell her. In this way we will at last give peace to the soul of Judas, who will be convinced that John is not in any of those hospitable places...»
« Master! But I believe it!...»
« But it is always better to make sure, so that you will not blush before Caiaphas and Annas, as I do not blush before you or any other man when I say that John is no longer with us. I am taking Thomas to Nazareth, so that he may rest assured also with regard to that place, as he will be able to see with his own eyes...»
« But, Master... I! What do I care? I am only sorry that that man is no longer with us. He may have been what he was. But since we have known him, he has always been better than many famous Pharisees. It is enough for me to know that he did not deny You and did not grieve You and then... whether he is on the earth or in Abraham's bosom, I do not care. Believe me. If he were in my house... I would not disdain him. I hope that You do not think that in the heart of Your Thomas there is more than a natural curiosity, but no animosity, no spur of a more or less honest investigation, no inclination to voluntary or involuntary or authorised espionage, no desire to be harmful...»
« You are offending me! You are insulting me! You are lying! You have seen that I have always acted in a holy way during this time. So why do you say that? What can you say about me? Speak up!» Judas is furious and wild.
« Be silent. Thomas will reply to Me. To Me only, as I spoke to him. I believe Thomas' words. But that is what I want, and that will be done, and none of you are entitled to reprove My conduct.»
« I am not reproaching You... But his insinuation struck me and...»
« You are twelve. Why did it strike you only, when I spoke to everybody?»
« Because I looked for John.»
Jesus says: « Also other companions of yours did so, and other disciples will do so, but none will feel offended by Thomas' words. It is not a sin to ask after a fellow disciple in an honest manner. Words like those just uttered do not hurt, when our hearts are full of love and honesty and nothing pricks them or makes them supersensible having already been bitten by remorse. Why do you want to remonstrate thus in the presence of your companions? Do you want to be suspected of sin? Wrath and pride are two bad companions, Judas. They drive one to frenzy, and a frenzied person sees what does not exist, and says what should not be said... just as greed and lust drive people to guilty actions in order to be satisfied... Get rid of such wicked servants... And in the meantime you had better know that during the many days while you were away, there has always been very good harmony among us, as well as obedience and respect. We love one another, do you understand?... Goodbye, My dear friends. Go and love one another. Is that clear to you? Love one another and bear with one another, speak little and act well. Peace be with you.»
He blesses them and while they go to the right, Jesus continues on His way with His cousins, Peter and Thomas.
They proceed in dead silence. Then Peter explodes in a thundering solitary: « Who knows!» as a consequence of I wonder what long meditation. The others look at him...
Jesus immediately wards off possible questions by saying: « Are you two happy to come to Nazareth with Me?» and He lays His arms round the shoulders of Peter and Thomas.
« Can You doubt it?» says Peter in his exuberance.
Thomas, more calmly, with his plump face shining with joy, adds: « Do You not know that to be near Your Mother is such a joy that I cannot find words to explain it to You? Mary is my love. I am not a virgin, and I was not against having a family and I had already set my eyes on some girls, but I was uncertain as to which I should choose as my wife. But now! No... My love is Mary. The love exceeding sense. Sense dies only by thinking of Her! The love that fills the soul with delight. I compare all the good I see in women, also in the dearest ones, such as my mother and my twin sister, to what I see in Your Mother, and I say to myself: “All justice, grace and beauty is in Her. Her loving soul is a bed of heavenly flowers... Her appearance is a poem... Oh! in Israel we dare not think of angels and with fearful reverence we look at the Cherubim of the Holy of Holies!... How foolish of us! As we do not tremble ten times as much with venerable fear looking at Her! Because I am sure that in the eyes of God She exceeds all angelical beauty...»
Jesus looks at His apostle who loves His Mother so much that he seems to become almost spiritualised, as his feelings for Mary change his good-natured countenance so deeply. « Well, we shall be with Her for a few hours. We shall stay until the day after tomorrow. Then we shall go to Tiberias to see the two children and to get a boat to Capernaum.»
« And what about Bethsaida?»
« We will go there on our way back, Simon, to get Marjiam for the Passover pilgrimage.»...
... It is the evening of the same day, at Nazareth, in the peaceful little house, where Peter and Thomas are already sleeping. Mother and Son are conversing gently.
« Everything went well, Mother. And they are now in peace. Your prayers helped the pilgrims and are now soothing their grief, like dew on parched flowers.»
« I would like to soothe Yours, Son! How much You must have suffered! Look. Your temples and Your cheeks have become hollow, and a wrinkle furrows Your forehead like the cut of a sword. Who hurt You like that, My darling?»
« The grief of having to grieve, Mother.»
« Just that, My Jesus? Did Your disciples distress You?»
« No, Mother. They have been as good as saints.»
« Those who were with You... But I mean: everyone...»
« You see that I brought Thomas here to reward him, and I would have liked to bring also those who did not come here the last time. But I had to send them elsewhere, ahead...»
« And Judas of Kerioth?»
« Judas is with them.»
Mary embraces Her Son, and reclines Her head on His shoulder, weeping.
« Why are You weeping, Mother?» asks Jesus caressing Her hair.
Mary is silent and weeps. Only after a third question, She whispers: « Because I am terrified... I would like him to leave You... It is a sin, is it not, to wish that? But I am so much afraid of him, for You...»
« Things would change only if he disappeared dying... But why should he die?»
« I am not so bad as to wish that... He has a mother as well! And a soul... A soul, which may still be saved. But... oh! Son! Would death perhaps not be a good thing for him?»
Jesus sighs and whispers: « Death would be a good thing for many people...» He then asks in a loud voice: « Have You heard of old Johanna? What about her fields?...»
« I went to see her with Mary of Alphaeus and Salome of Simon after the hailstorms. But as her corn had been sown late, it had not yet come up and so it suffered no damage. Mary went back to see her three days ago. She says the fields are like carpets. The nicest fields in the district. Rachel is well and the old woman is happy. Mary of Alphaeus also is happy now that Simon is all in Your favour. You will certainly see him tomorrow. He comes here every day. He had just gone away today when You arrived. You know? No one noticed anything. They would have spoken if they had noticed that they were here. But if You are not really tired, tell Me all about their journey...»
And Jesus tells His Mother everything, except His suffering in the cave at Jiphthahel.