7th December 1945.
The vision of the second miracle of the loaves given on 28th May 1944 and relevant dictation are to be put before the vision of 7th December.
The beach at Capernaum is crowded with people disembarking from a flotilla of boats of all sizes. And the first to land spread among the crowds looking for the Master, or an apostle or at least a disciple. And they ask after them...
A man at last replies: « The Master? The apostles? No, they are not here. They went away immediately after the Sabbath and have not come back. But they will come back, because some of the disciples are here. I spoke just now to one of them. He must be an important disciple. He speaks as well as Jairus! He went along the coast towards that house in the fields.»
The man who asked the question, spreads the news and they all rush towards the house. But after about two hundred metres they meet on the beach a group of disciples coming towards Capernaum gesticulating animatedly. They greet them and ask: « Where is the Master?»
The disciples reply: « During the night, after the miracle, He went with His disciples by boat to the other side of the sea. We saw the sails in the moonlight going towards Dalmanuta.»
« Ah! We looked for Him at Magdala, at Mary's house, but He was not there! However... the fishermen of Magdala should have told Us!»
« They probably did not know. He may have gone up the Arbela mountains to pray. He has been there before, last year, before Passover. I met Him then, by the great grace of the Lord to His poor servant» says Stephen.
« But is He not coming back here?»
« He will certainly come back. He has to give us instructions before sending us away. But what do you want?»
« We want to hear Him again, to follow Him and become His disciples.»
« He will be going to Jerusalem. You will find Him there. And in the House of God, the Lord will speak to you and you will know whether you ought to follow Him. Because you must know that, although He does not reject anybody, there are tendencies in us which reject the Light. Now, he who has so many of them as to be not only saturated with them - which is not a great evil because He is Light and when we firmly decide to become His loyal followers His Light penetrates into us and overwhelms darkness but to be also deeply attached to them, as to one's own body, then it is better for him to refrain from coming, unless he is prepared to demolish his old being and form a completely new one. Consider, therefore, whether you have the strength to take on a new spirit, a new way of thinking and wanting. Pray in order to see the truth concerning your vocation. Then come, if you should so decide. And may the Most High, Who guided Israel in the “passage”, guide you also in this “Pesach”, so that you may follow in the wake of the Lamb, from the desert, towards the eternal Earth, the Kingdom of God» says Stephen, speaking on behalf of all his companions.
« No, no! Now! At once! No one does what He does. We want to follow Him» shout the crowds in tumult.
Stephen smiles meaningly. He opens his arms and says: « Do you want to come because He gave you plenty good bread? Do you think that in future He will give you only that? He promises His followers what is His own lot: sorrow, persecution, martyrdom. Not roses, but thorns; not caresses, but slaps; not bread but stones are awaiting the followers of Christ. And I say so without becoming a blasphemer, because His true followers will be anointed with the holy oil made by His Grace and His suffering; and we shall be “anointed” to be the victims on the altar and the kings in Heaven.»
« Well? Are you jealous perhaps? If you are there, we want to be there as well. The Master belongs to everybody.»
« All right. I told you because I love you and I want you to know what it means to be “disciples”, so that you may not become deserters later. Let us now go all together and wait for Him at His house. The sun is already setting and the Sabbath is about to begin. He will come to spend it here before departing.»
And they go towards the town, talking. And many ask Stephen and Hermas, who has joined them, many questions, as they are both placed in a very favourable light in the eyes of the Israelites, because they are Gamaliel's dearest pupils. Many ask: « But what does Gamaliel say about Him?», and some: « Did he send you?», and some: « Did he not regret losing you?», or: « What does the Master say of the great rabbi?»
The two disciples reply patiently: « Gamaliel speaks of Jesus of Nazareth as of the greatest man in Israel.»
« What? Greater than Moses?» exclaim some, who are almost scandalised.
« He says that Moses is one of the many precursors of the Christ. But he is only the servant of the Christ.»
« So, according to Gamaliel, this man is the Christ? Is that what he says? If rabbi Gamaliel says that, the matter is settled. He is the Christ!»
« He does not say that. He cannot yet believe that, unfortunately for him. But he says that the Christ is on the earth, because he spoke to Him many years ago. Both he and wise Hillel. And he is waiting for the sign that Christ promised him so that he may recognise Him» says Hermas.
« But how could he believe that that man was the Christ? What did He do? I am as old as Gamaliel, but I never heard of anyone doing the things that the Master does. If he is not convinced by these miracles, what miracles did he see in that Christ that he believed in Him?»
« He saw Him anointed with the Wisdom of God. So he says» replies Hermas once again.
« Well, then, what is this one according to Gamaliel?»
« The greatest man, master and precursor in Israel. If he could say: “He is the Christ”, the wise and just soul of my first master would be saved» says Stephen and he concludes: « And I pray that that may happen, at all costs.»
« But if he does not believe that He is the Christ, why did he send you to Him?»
« We wanted to come. He let us come saying that it was a good thing.»
« Perhaps he wanted to find out things and report them to the Sanhedrin...» insinuates one.
« Man, what are you saying? Gamaliel is honest. He does not play the spy for anybody, and particularly for the enemies of an innocent person!» objects Stephen and he is so indignant and almost beaming with holy indignation that he looks like an archangel.
« But he must have been sorry to lose you» states another man.
« He was and was not. As a man who was fond of us, yes. As a very righteous spirit, no. Because he said: “He is greater than I am and younger than I am. So I will be able to breathe my last peacefully, as far as your future is concerned, as I know that you are with the 'Master of masters'.”»
« And what does Jesus of Nazareth say of the great rabbi?»
« Oh! He speaks but highly of him!»
« Is He not envious of him?»
« God does not envy» replies Hermas severely.
« Do not make sacrilegious suppositions.»
« So He is God according to you. Are you sure?»
And the two reply together: « As we are sure that we are alive just now.» And Stephen concludes: « And believe it yourselves if you wish to possess eternal Life.»
From the beach they go into the square, which they cross going towards the house. Jesus is at the door caressing some children.
The disciples and some curious people crowd round Him asking: « Master, when did You come?»
« A few minutes ago.» Jesus' countenance is still as majestically solemn, somewhat ecstatic, as when He has been engrossed in prayer for a long time.
« Have You been praying, Master?» asks Stephen in a low voice out of respect, and for the same reason he has stooped.
« Yes, I have. What makes you understand that, My son?» asks Jesus laying His hand on the disciple's dark hair with a kind caress.
« Your angelical face. I am a poor man, but the expression of Your face is so clear that one can read on it the emotions and deeds of Your spirit.»
« Yours also is clear. You are one of those who remain children...»
« And what is there on my face, Lord?»
« Come aside and I will tell you» and Jesus takes him by the wrist and leads him into a dark corridor. « Charity, faith, purity, generosity, wisdom; God gave them to you and you have improved them and you will do so even more in future. Finally, in accordance with your name, you have a crown: it is of pure gold with a large gem glittering in front. On the gold and on the gem there are two expressions engraved: “Predestination” and “Early Fruit”. Be worthy of your destiny, Stephen. Go in peace with My blessing.» And once again He rests His hand on Stephen's dark hair while he kneels down and bends to kiss His feet.
They go back to the others. « These people have come to hear You...» says Philip. « It is not possible to speak here. Let us go to the synagogue. Jairus will be pleased.»
They go to the beautiful synagogue of Capernaum: Jesus leads the way and is followed by the procession of all the others. Jairus greets Him and He enters, giving instructions to leave all the doors open, so that those who cannot go inside may hear Him from the street and square beside the synagogue.
Jesus goes to His place, in the friendly synagogue, in which, fortunately, there are no Pharisees today. They have probably already left for Jerusalem in full plumage. And He begins to speak.
« I solemnly tell you: You are looking for Me not to hear Me or because of the miracles which you have seen, but because of the bread that I gave you to eat to your fill and without any expense. That is why three quarters of you were looking for Me, and also out of curiosity and that is why you came from every part of our Fatherland. So there is no supernatural spirit in your quest, dominated by human spirit with its unsound curiosities or at least with childish curiosity, not because it is simple like that of children, but because it is maimed like the intelligence of a dull-minded person. And linked to such curiosity there is sensuality and vitiated feeling. Sensuality, as subtle as the demon whose daughter it is, hides behind appearances and seemingly good deeds, and vitiated feeling is simply a morbid deviation of sentiment. And like everything which is “disease” it needs and craves after drugs, which are not plain food, good bread, good water, unadulterated oil, the first milk which is sufficient to live and live well. Vitiated feeling needs extraordinary things to be roused, to feel the thrill of pleasure, the sickly thrill of paralysed people who need drugs to feel the sensation, which beguiles them into believing that they are still healthy and virile. The sensuality that wants to satisfy one's gluttony without work, in this case, with bread which was not hard-earned, but given by God's bounty.
The gifts of God are not common ordinary things, they are special ones. One cannot claim them nor can one become lazy and say: “God will give them to me.” It is written: “You shall eat bread moistened with the sweat of your forehead”, that is the bread earned through hard work. If He Who is Mercy said: “I feel sorry for these people, who have followed Me for three days and have nothing left to eat and may faint on the way before they reach Hippo on the lake, or Gamala, or any other town”, and He provided accordingly, that does not imply that He is to be followed just because of that. I am to be followed for much more than a little bread, which becomes excrement after it is digested. I am to be followed not for the food that fills the stomach, but for that which nourishes the soul. Because you are not only animals, which must browse and ruminate, or grout and get fat. You are souls! That is what you are! Your body is the garment, your being is the soul. It is the soul that lasts. Your body, like every garment, wears out and comes to an end and it is not worth taking care of it as if it were something perfect, deserving every care.
Seek, therefore, what is just to attain, not what is unjust. Endeavour to get not the food that does perish, but that which lasts for eternal life. The Son of man will always give it to you, whenever you want it. Because the Son of man has at His disposal everything that comes from God, and He can give it; He is the Master, the generous Master of the treasures of the Father God, Who has impressed His seal on Him so that no honest eye may be confused. And if you have the food that does not perish, you will be able to do the works of God, having been nourished with the food of God.»
« What shall we do, to work the deeds of God? We keep the Law and respect the Prophets. Thus we are already nourished with the food of God and we do the works of God.»
« That is true. You keep the Law. Or better still: you “know” the Law. But to know is not to practise. For instance, we know the laws of Rome, but no faithful Israelite puts them into practise, except in those specific cases when he is compelled to do so as a subject. Otherwise, I am referring to faithful Israelites, we do not put into practise the heathen customs of the Romans, although we know them. The Law which you know and the Prophets should, in fact, nourish you with God and make you capable of working the deeds of God. But in order to do so, they should have become one thing with you, like the air you breathe and the food you assimilate, which become your life and your blood. Instead they are like strangers to you, although they belong to your house, just like an object in the house, which is known and useful to you, but will not interfere with your life if it were lost. But try not to breathe for a few minutes, or to go without food for days... and you will see that you cannot live. And that is how your ego should feel in your malnutrition and asphyxia of the Law and Prophets, known to you but not assimilated and thus not all one with you. This is what I have come to teach you and to give you: the juice, the air of the Law and of the Prophets, to give blood and breath back to your souls dying from inanition and asphyxia. You are like children whom a disease has made unable to tell what can nourish them. You have plenty food in front of you, but you do not know that it must be eaten to be changed into something vital, that is, that it must really become part of us, through pure generous loyalty to the Law of the Lord, Who spoke to Moses and the Prophets on behalf of all of you. It is your duty, therefore, to come to Me to receive the air and juice of eternal Life. But that duty presupposes faith in you. Because if one has no faith, one cannot believe My words, and if one does not believe, one cannot come to Me and say: “Give me the true bread.” And if you do not have the true bread, you cannot work the deeds of God, because you are unable to do them. So in order to be nourished by God and to work the deeds of God, you must do the basic work, which is: to believe in Him Whom God sent.»
« But what miracles do You work that we may believe that You have been sent by God and we may see the seal of God upon You? What do You do, which the Prophets have not already done, although in a more modest form? Nay, Moses exceeded You, because he fed our ancestors with wonderful food not once, but for forty years. It is in fact written that our forefathers ate manna in the desert for forty years, and it is written that Moses gave them the bread of heaven to eat, as he was able to do so.»
« You are wrong. Not Moses but the Lord was able to do so. And in Exodus we read: “Now I will rain down bread from the heavens. Let the people go out and gather what is sufficient for each day, so that I may test whether the people will follow My law or not. And on the sixth day they will gather twice as much, out of respect for the seventh day, which is the Sabbath.” And the Hebrews every morning saw the desert become covered with that “delicate thing that resembles what is pounded in a mortar and is like hoarfrost and coriander seed and has the lovely taste of flour kneaded with honey.” So it was not Moses but God who supplied manna. God can do everything. He can punish and bless. He can grant and take away. And I tell you that He always prefers to bless and grant rather than punish and take away.
God, as the Book of Wisdom states, out of love for Moses - who, according to Ecclesiasticus, “was beloved by God and men, of blessed memory, and was made by God the equal of the holy ones in glory, and strong to the terror of his enemies, and was able to work miracles and stop them, and was raised high in the respect of kings, and was His minister before the people, and saw the glory of God and heard the voice of the Most High, and was the guardian of the precepts and of the Law of life and science” - God, I was saying, out of love for Moses, nourished His people with the bread of angels and from heaven untiringly sent them bread already prepared, containing every delight, satisfying every taste. And remember what Wisdom says - as it came from heaven, from God, and demonstrated His sweetness towards His children, it tasted as each eater wished and produced the effects that each person wanted, and was thus useful to babies, whose stomachs are still delicate, and to adults enjoying good appetite and healthy digestions, and to delicate girls and to decrepit old people. And, to testify that it was not the work of man, it overturned the laws of elements, and the mysterious bread, which at sunrise melted like frost, endured fire. Or rather - it is still Wisdom speaking - fire forgot its own nature out of respect for the work of God, its Creator, and for the needs of the just people of God, so that, while it burns to torture, in this case it became mild to assist those who confided in God. Thus by transforming itself in many ways, it served the grace of the Lord, nourishing everyone, according to the will of those who prayed the Eternal Father, so that the beloved children might learn that it is not the reproduction of fruit which nourishes men, but it is the word of the Lord that preserves those who believe in God. In fact it did not consume the sweet manna, as it was able to do, not even when it flared, whereas the mild morning sunshine could melt it, so that men should learn and remember that the gifts of God are to be sought from the very beginning of the day and of life, and that one must anticipate Light to receive them, and rise and pray the Eternal Father at daybreak.
That is what manna taught the Hebrews. And I am reminding you because that duty still lasts and will last forever. Seek the Lord and His celestial gifts without idling until the late hours of day or of life. Rise and praise Him before the rising sun does, and feed on His word, which consecrates, preserves and leads to True life. It was not Moses who gave you the bread of Heaven, but it was God the Father, and now I solemnly tell you that it is My Father Who gives you the true Bread, the new Bread, the eternal Bread, which descends from Heaven, the Bread of mercy, the Bread of Life, the Bread that gives Life to the world, the Bread that satisfies every hunger and removes all languor, the Bread that gives eternal Life and eternal joy to those who eat it.»
« Give us some of that bread, Lord, and we shall not die.»
« You will die as every man dies, but you will rise to eternal Life, if you feed holily on that Bread, because those who eat it, become Incorruptible. With regard to giving it, it will be given to those who ask My Father for it with pure hearts, upright intentions and holy charity. That is why I taught you to say: “Give us our daily Bread.” But those who eat it unworthily, will become swarms of infernal worms, like the baskets of manna kept contrary to instructions received. And the Bread of health and life will become conviction and death for them. Because the greatest sacrilege will be committed by those who place that Bread on a corrupt foul spiritual table and profane it by mixing it with the sink of their incurable passions. It would have been better if they had never taken it!»
« But where is that Bread? How can one find it? What is its name?»
« I am the Bread of Life. You will find it in Me. Its name is Jesus. He who comes to Me will never be hungry again, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty again, because celestial rivers will flow into him quenching all material ardour. I have already told you. And you have known Me by now. And yet you do not believe Me. You cannot believe that everything is in Me. And yet it is so. All the treasures of God are in Me. And everything pertaining to the earth has been given to Me; thus the glorious Heavens and the militant earth are united in Me and even the expiating and expecting mass of those who died in the grace of God are in Me, because all power has been given to Me and is in Me. And I tell you: everything the Father gives Me, will come to Me. And I will not reject those who come to Me, because I descended from Heaven not to do My will, but the will of Him Who sent Me. And this is the will of My Father, of the Father Who sent Me: that I may lose not even one of those He gave Me, but I may raise them from death on the last day. Now the will of the Father Who sent Me is that whoever knows the Son and believes in Him, will have eternal Life and I may raise him on the Last Day, seeing that he is nourished with faith in Me and is signed with My seal.»
People begin to grumble both inside and outside the synagogue because of Jesus' new hardy words. And the Master, after taking breath, looks with ecstatically shining eyes towards the people who are grumbling more loudly, that is towards the groups in which there are some Judaeans. He resumes speaking.
« Why are you grumbling among yourselves? Yes, I am the Son of Mary of Nazareth, the daughter of Joachim of the house of David, a virgin consecrated in the Temple and then married to Joseph of Jacob, of the house of David. Many of you have known the just parents of Joseph, a royal carpenter, and those of Mary, the virgin heiress of the royal stock. And you thus say: “How can He say that He descended from Heaven?”, and you become doubtful.
I remind you of the Prophets who prophesied the Incarnation of the Word. And I remind you that it is a dogma, more for us Israelites than for any other people, that He, Whose name we dare not mention, could not become Flesh according to the laws of mankind, and an impoverished mankind at that. The Most Pure Uncreated One, if He humiliated Himself by becoming Man for the sake of man, could but choose the womb of a Virgin purer than lilies to clothe His Divinity with Flesh. The Bread that descended from Heaven in the days of Moses, was placed in the gold Ark, which supported the Mercy Seat and was Watched over by Cherubim, behind the veils of the Tabernacle. And the Word of God was with the Bread. And it was right that it should be so, because the deepest respect is to be paid to the gifts of God and to the tables of His most holy Word. So what will God have prepared for His own Word and for the true Bread that has come from Heaven? A more immaculate and precious Ark than the gold one, to support the precious Mercy Seat of His pure will to immolate Himself, watched over by the cherubim of God, veiled by virginal purity, by perfect humility, sublime charity and all the most holy virtues.
So? Do you not understand yet that My Paternity is in Heaven, and that, consequently, I come from there? Yes, I descended from Heaven to fulfill the decree of My Father, the decree of salvation of men, according to what He promised at the same moment of condemnation, and He repeated to Patriarchs and Prophets. And that is faith. And faith is given by God to souls of good will. No one, therefore, can come to Me, unless My Father leads him to Me, as although He sees that he is in darkness, He knows that he is craving for light. It is written in the Prophets: “They will be all taught by God.” So, that was decided. It is God Who instructs them where to go to be taught by God. Therefore, whoever has heard God speak in the depth of his righteous soul, has learned from the Father to come to Me.»
« And who has ever heard God or seen His Face?» ask many who begin to show signs of irritation and scandal. And they conclude: « You are either raving or You are a day-dreamer.»
« No one has seen God except Him Who came from God: He has seen the Father. And I am He. And now listen to the Creed of future Life, without which no one can be saved.
I solemnly tell you that he who believes in Me has eternal Life. I solemnly tell you that I am the Bread of eternal Life.
Your fathers ate manna in the desert and they died. Because manna was a holy but temporary food and gave life as was required to reach the Land Promised by God to His people. But the Manna Which I am, will have no limit of time or power. It is not only celestial, but divine and produces what is divine: the incorruptibility and immortality of what God created to His image and likeness. It will not last forty days, forty months, forty years, forty centuries. But it will last until the end of Time and will be given to all those who hunger for what is holy and pleasing to the Lord, Who will rejoice at giving Himself incommensurably to men, for whom He became incarnate, that they may have the Life which does not die.
I can give Myself, I can transubstantiate for the sake of men, so that the bread may become Flesh and the Flesh may become Bread, for the spiritual hunger of men, who without that Food would die of starvation and spiritual diseases. But if one eats this Bread with justice, one will live forever. The bread which I will give is My Body sacrificed for the Life of the world, it is My Love spread in the houses of God, so that all loving or unhappy souls may come to the Table of the Lord, and may find solace to their need to be united to God and relief to their sorrows.»
« But how can You give us Your flesh to eat? Who do You think we are? Blood-thirsty beasts? Savages? Murderers? Blood and crime disgust us.»
« I tell you solemnly that man is very often more cruel than beasts, that sin makes men savages, that pride makes them bloodthirsty murderers and that blood and crime will not disgust all the people present here. And also in future man will be the same, because Satan, sensuality and pride make him brutal. Man therefore with greater care must rid himself of the dreadful germs through the infusion of the Holy One. I tell you solemnly that if you do not eat the Flesh of the Son of man and you do not drink His Blood, you will not have Life in you. He who eats My Flesh worthily and drinks My Blood, has eternal Life and I will raise him up on the Last Day. For My Flesh is real Food and My Blood is real Drink. He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood lives in Me, and I live in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live for the Father, so whoever eats Me will live also for Me and will go where I send him, and will do what I want, and will live austerely, as a man, and as ardently as a Seraph, and will be holy, because in order to be able to feed on My Flesh and My Blood, he will abstain from sin and will live ascending and finish his ascent at the feet of the Eternal Father.»
« He is mad! Who can live like that? In our religion only the priest is to be purified to offer the victim. He wants to make us victims of His madness. His doctrine is too painful and his language too hard! Who can listen to Him and practise what He says?» whisper the people present and many are disciples known as such.
The crowds disperse making their comments. And when the Master is alone in the synagogue with His most faithful followers, the number of disciples has diminished considerably. I cannot count them, but I would say that, more or less, they are about one hundred. So there must have been a remarkable defection also in the group of the old disciples by now at the service of God. Among those left there are the apostles, John the priest and John the scribe, Stephen, Hermas, Timoneus, Ermasteus, Agapo, Joseph, Solomon, Abel of Bethlehem of Galilee, and Abel the leper of Korazim, with his friend Samuel, Elias (the one who did not bury his father to follow Jesus), Philip of Arbela, Aser and Ishmael of Nazareth, and some whose names I do not know. They are speaking to one another in low voices commenting on the defection of the others and the words of Jesus, Who with folded arms is leaning against a high lectern.
« Are you scandalised at what I told you? And if I told you that one day you will see the Son of man ascend to Heaven where He was before, and sit beside His Father? What have you understood, assimilated and believed so far? And how have you heard and assimilated? Only through your humanity? It is the spirit that gives life and is important. The flesh is of no avail. My words are spirit and life, and they are to be heard and understood through the spirit to have life. But there are many among you whose spirits are dead because they are without faith. Many of you do not really believe. And they are staying with Me in vain. They will not receive Life, but Death. Because they are staying with Me, as I said at the beginning, either out of curiosity, or for human pleasure, or worse still, for more worthless purposes. They have not been led here by My Father, as a reward to their good will, but by Satan. Nobody can really come to Me, unless it is granted to him by My Father. You may go, you who find it difficult to remain here, because you are ashamed, from a human point of view, to leave Me, but you are more ashamed to stay at the service of One Who seems “mad and hard” to you. Go. It is better for you to be far away, than be here and do harm.»
Many of the disciples withdraw, among them there is John, the scribe, Marcus, the possessed Gerasene, who was cured by Jesus and the devils possessing him were sent into pigs. The good disciples consult with one another and run after their faithless companions endeavouring to stop them.
In the synagogue there is only Jesus with the chief of the synagogue and the apostles...
Jesus turns towards the twelve apostles, who are deeply humiliated and are standing in a corner and says to them: « Do you want to go as well?» He says so without bitterness and without sadness, but very seriously.
Peter replies with sorrowful transport: « Lord, where can we go? To whom? You are our life and our love. You alone have words of eternal Life. We know that You are the Christ, the Son of God. If You wish, send us away. But we will not leave You of our own free not even... not even if You should not love us any more...» and Peter sheds large tears silently...
Andrew, John, Alphaeus' two sons also weep openly, and the others, who are either pale or flushed through emotion, do not weep, but are clearly suffering.
« Why should I send you away? Did I not choose you twelve?...»
Jairus has wisely withdrawn to leave Jesus free to console or reproach His apostles. Jesus, Who has noticed his silent withdrawal, sits down; He is tired, disgusted, grieved and depressed, as if the revelation He is about to make, cost Him a greater effort than He can possibly bear, and He says: « And yet, one of you is a demon.»
His words drop slowly, frighteningly, in the synagogue, where only the light of the lamps seems to be cheerful... and no one dare speak. They look at one another with fearful disgust and painful inquisitiveness and each one examines himself with even greater anguish and uncertainty...
No one moves for a while. And Jesus remains alone, on His seat, with His hands crossed on His knees and lowered face. He at last looks up and says: « Come. I am not a leper! Or do you think I am?...»
John then rushes forward and throwing his arms round Jesus, neck he says: « I will be with You, then, my only love, in Your leprosy. I will be with You in Your conviction, in Your death, if that is what You think is awaiting You...»; and Peter creeps at His feet, takes them in his hands and laying them on his shoulders he says sobbing: « Press them here, tread on me! But do not make me think that You do not trust Your Simon.»
When the others see that Jesus is caressing the first two, they come forward and kiss Jesus' clothes, His hands and hair... Only the Iscariot dares to kiss Him on His cheek.
Jesus springs to His feet and His movement is so sudden that He seems to be repelling him rudely, and He says: « Let us go home. Tomorrow night we will leave for Hippo by boat.»