4th December 1945.
They are now once again in the house in Nazareth: or, more precisely, they are scattered on the terrace of the olive-trees, waiting to part and go to rest. And they have lit a little bonfire to illuminate the night, because it is already dark and the moon rises late. It is a warm evening, « even too warm» state the fishermen, who foresee rain. And it is pleasant to be there, all together, the women in the flowery garden round Mary, the men up here; and Jesus on the edge of the terrace, between the two groups, replying to various questions of the disciples, while the women listen attentively. They must have spoken of the lunatic who was cured at the foot of the mountain and they are still making comments.
« It took You to do it!» exclaims His cousin Simon.
« Oh! But those falcons were not convinced even when they saw that their own exorcisers could not do anything, although they admitted that they had used the strongest formulae!» says Solomon, the ferryman, shaking his head. « And even if they tell the scribes their conclusions, they will not persuade them.»
« Of course not! I got the impression that they spoke well, did they not?» asks one whom I do not know.
« Very well. They excluded all demoniac witchcraft from Jesus' power stating that they felt they were pervaded with a deep peace, when the Master worked the miracle, whereas when it comes from a wicked power, they said that they feel it is painful» replies Hermas.
« However, it was a strong spirit! It did not want to go away! But why did it not always possess the boy? Was it an expelled or lost spirit, or was the boy so holy that he expelled it by himself?» asks another disciple whose name I do not know.
Jesus, without being questioned, replies: « I have explained several times to you that every disease, as it is a torment and a disorder, may conceal Satan and Satan may hide himself in a disease, causing it and making use of it to torture a soul and make it curse God. The boy was ill, he was not possessed. He is a pure soul. That is why I was so pleased to free his soul from the most cunning demon who wanted to dominate it and make it impure.»
« In that case, if it was only a simple disease, why did we not succeed in curing it?» asks Judas of Kerioth.
« Of course it is obvious that the exorcisers could not do anything if he was not possessed! But we...» remarks Thomas.
And Judas of Kerioth, who is not prepared to swallow his humiliating failure, as he made several attempts with the child with the only result of getting him into a frenzy if not into a convulsive fit, says: « On the contrary, we seemed to be making things worse. Do you remember, Philip? You were helping me and you heard and saw how he gibed at me. He even said to me: “Go away! Of the two of us, you are the worse demon.” Which made the scribes laugh at me behind my back.»
« And were you sorry for that?» asks Jesus with indifference.
« Of course! It is not pleasant to be gibed at. And it is not useful when one is Your apostle. One loses one's authority.»
« When you have God with you, you are authoritative even if the whole World sneers at you, Judas of Simon.»
« Very well. But increase our power, at least the power of Your apostles, so that we may not suffer such defeats again.»
« It is not right for Me to increase your power and it would be of no avail. You must do that by yourselves, in order to succeed. It is through your insufficiency that you failed, and also because you diminished what I gave you by means of unholy elements, which you wanted to add hoping to attain greater triumphs.»
« Are You referring to me, Lord?» asks the Iscariot.
« You know whether you deserve it. I am speaking to everybody.»
Bartholomew asks: « Then, what is necessary to cast out such demons?»
« Prayer and fasting. Nothing else is required. Pray and fast. And not only in your bodies. It is good for you that your pride has been left devoid of satisfaction. Satisfied pride makes mind and soul listless and prayer becomes tepid and inert, just as the body, when it is too full, becomes sleepy and sluggish. And now let us go and have a well deserved rest. Tomorrow morning at dawn, you will all be on the road to Cana, except Manaen and the shepherd disciples. Go. Peace be with you.»
But He keeps Isaac and Manaen and gives them special instructions for the following day, when the women disciples and Mary will begin their Passover pilgrimage with Simon of Alphaeus and Alphaeus of Sarah.
« You will go through Esdraelon, so that Marjiam may see his old grandfather. You will give the peasants the purse that I asked Judas of Kerioth to give you. And with the other purse, which I gave you a short while ago, you will assist any poor people you come across on your way. When you arrive in Jerusalem go to Bethany and tell them to wait for Me at the new moon of Nisan. I will not be very late after that date. I entrust the person Who is dearest to Me and the women disciples to you. But I am not worried as I know they will be safe. Go. We will meet at Bethany and will be together for a long time.»
He blesses them, and while they disappear in the night, He jumps clown into the kitchen garden and goes into the house, in which the women disciples and His Mother are already tying with Marjiam the strings of the travelling bags and arranging everything for their absence, which they do not know how long it will last.