7th March 1946.
And here is Hebron in the middle of mountains covered with forests and meadows. On entering the town Jesus is greeted with cries of hosanna by the first people who see Him, some of whom run away to give the news to the whole village. The head of the synagogue, those who were miraculously cured the previous year and the notables, all rush towards Him. Everyone wishes to have the Lord as his guest.
But Jesus, thanking them all, says: « I am only stopping long enough to speak to you... So let us go to the poor holy house of the Baptist, so that I may pay My respects to it as well... It is the land of miracles. You are not aware.»
« Oh! We are, Master. The people who were cured are among us!...» say many.
« Long before last year it was the land of miracles. The first time was thirty-three years ago, when the Grace of the Lord revived the withered womb to make it the tree that bore the sweet apple of My Precursor. And it was thirty-two years ago, when by mysterious deed, I presanctified him, while he and I were two fruits maturing in deep wombs. And then again, when I loosened the tongue of John's father. But a great miracle of two years ago, of which none of you is aware, is to be added to the secret deeds of the not yet born Incarnate. Do you remember the woman who lived in there?...»
« Who? Aglae?» ask many.
« Yes. I revived her, not her womb, but her soul withered by paganism and sin, and I made her prolific of justice, freeing her from her fetters, as I was assisted by her good will. And I propose her to you as a model. Do not be scandalised. I solemnly tell you that she is to be held up as an example to be imitated, because few people in Israel have gone as far as the heathen and sinner to reach the sources of God.»
« We thought that she had gone away with other lovers... Some people said that she had changed and had become good... But we said: “It's a whim of hers!” There were also some people who said that she had come to You... to sin...» explains the head of the synagogue.
« She did come to Me. But to be redeemed.»
« We committed a sin of rash judgement...»
« That is why I say: “Do not judge”.»
« And where is she now?»
« God only knows. She is certainly doing severe penance. Pray to support her... I salute you, o holy house of My Relative and Precursor! Peace to you! Although you are now alone and desolate, may peace always be with you, o holy dwelling of peace and faith!» Jesus goes in, blessing the garden, which has become wild and He walks along what once were pergolas or tidy laurel or box espaliers and which are now ruffled clusters of plants oppressed by twining ivy, clematis and convolvuli. He goes to the end, where are the remains of the sepulchre, and stops there.
The people crowd round Him silently and orderly.
« Children of God, people of Hebron, listen! I have come to confirm and fortify you in your faith, so that you may not be upset and deceived in judging your Saviour, as you were with regard to the woman who lived here in sin. I have come to give you the viaticum of My word, so that it may shine brightly in you in the hour of darkness and Satan may not make you lose the way to Heaven.
Before long your hearts will moan the words of the psalm of Asaph, the poet prophet, and you will say: “Why, o God, have You rejected us for good? Why are You raging at the flock You used to pasture?”, and then you will really be able to raise the already accomplished Redemption as a right of protection, and shout: “This is Your people whom You redeemed!” to implore protection against the enemies, who will have done all sorts of evil in the true Sanctuary where God is as in Heaven, in the Christ of the Lord. And after prostrating the Holy One, they will strive to demolish His wall: His believers. True desecrators and persecutors of God, worse than Nebuchadnezzar and Antiochus and all future persecutors, they are already raising their hands to knock Me down in their limitless pride, which does not want to be converted and does not want to have faith, charity, justice, and like yeast in a heap of flour, it swells and overflows from the Sanctuary, which has become the citadel of the enemies of God.
Children, listen! When they will persecute you for loving Me, fortify your hearts considering that I was persecuted before you. Remember that they already have in their throats howling cries of triumph, and they are preparing flags to wave them in the hour of victory, and on each flag there will be a lie against Me, and I shall seem the Defeated One, the Evil-Doer, the Cursed One.
Are you shaking your heads? Do you not believe Me? Your love is preventing you from believing... Love is a great thing! A great strength... and a great danger! Yes, danger. The impact of realities in the hour of darkness will be violent in a superhuman way in the hearts which love, not yet perfectly settled, blinds. You cannot believe that I, the King, the Powerful One, can be at the mercy of nonentities. Above all, you will not be able to believe it later, and the doubt will arise: “Was it really Him? And if it was, how could He be defeated?”
Strengthen your hearts for that hour! Remember that if “in a moment” the enemies of the Holy One have knocked the doors down, demolishing everything, and set the fire of hatred to the Word of God, if they have pulled down the Tabernacle of the Most Holy Name, saying in their hearts: “Let us stop all the feasts of God on the Earth”, because it is a feast to have God among you, and saying: “Let His insignia never be seen again, let there be no prophet who knows what we are”, He Who gave the sea its boundaries and crushed the filthy heads of the sacred crocodiles and of their worshippers in the waters, He Who opened springs and torrents and dried up inexhaustible rivers, He Who is the master of day and night, of summer and springtime, of life and death, of everything, will make His Christ rise quickly, even more quickly, as it is written, and He will be King forever. And those who have been firm in their faith will reign with Him in Heaven.
Remember that. And when you see Me raised and scorned, do not vacillate. And when you will be raised and despised, do not vacillate.
Oh! Father! My Father! On behalf of these people, who are dear to You and to Me, I implore You. Hear Your Word, listen to the Propitiator! Do not leave to wild beasts the souls of those who praise You by loving Me, do not forget forever the souls of Your little children. Remember Your promises, o good God, because the dark places of the Earth are haunts of wickedness from which terror comes out to frighten Your little ones. Father! Oh! My Father! Do not let the humble who hope in You go away confused! Let the poor and the needy praise Your Name because of the assistance You will give them! Rise, o God! I implore You for that hour, for those hours! Rise, o God! For the sake of the sacrifice of John and of the holiness of Your patriarchs and prophets! For the sake of My sacrifice, o Father, defend this flock of Yours and Mine! Grant them light in darkness, faith and strength against seducers! Grant them Yourself, Father! Give them Us, now, tomorrow and always, until they enter Your Kingdom! Let Us be in their hearts until they will be forever and ever where We are. Amen.»
And since there are no miracles to be worked, Jesus walks through the almost ecstatic crowds blessing His listeners one by one. And He resumes His journey in the sun, which is already high but is made tolerable by leafy trees and the cool mountain air.
Behind Him, in a group, the apostles are talking. They are speaking eagerly to one another.
« What sermons! They make one shudder!» says Bartholomew.
« But how sad they are! They make you weep!» says Andrew with a sigh.
« Eh! It's His farewell. I am right. He is really moving towards His throne» exclaims Judas Iscariot.
« Throne! H'm! I think He refers to persecutions rather than honours!» remarks Peter.
« Not at all! The time of persecutions is over! Ah! I am happy!» shouts the Iscariot.
« You are lucky! I would like to be back in the days when we were not known, two years ago... or at the Clear Water... I tremble thinking of future days...» says John.
« Because you are faint-hearted... But I! I already see the future... Processions!... Singers!... People prostrated!... Homage by other countries!... Oh! It's time! Camels will really come from Midian and crowds from everywhere... and there will be a multitude... not just the three poor Wise Men... Israel as great as Rome... Greater than Rome... The glory of the Maccabees, of Solomon... all glories will be exceeded... He... the King of kings... and we... His friends... Oh! Most High God! Who will give me strength for that hour?... I wish my father were still alive!...» Judas is elated. He is bright evoking the future which he dreams of living.
Jesus is far ahead. But He stops. The future king according to Judas, is thirsty and cups His hands to get some water from a little stream, and drink... like a bird or a grazing lamb. He then turns round and says: « There are some wild fruits here. Let us pick some to appease our appetite...»
« Are You hungry, Master?» asks the Zealot.
« Yes, I am» Jesus confesses humbly.
« No wonder! You gave everything to that poor wretch yesterday evening!» exclaims Peter.
« But why did You not want to stop at Hebron?» asks Philip.
« Because God calls Me elsewhere. You do not know.»
The apostles shrug their shoulders and begin to pick the sour fruits of wild plants scattered over the mountain slopes. They look like tiny wild apples. And the King of kings feeds on them with His companions, who make wry faces because of the sourness of the wild unripe fruit. Jesus, engrossed in thought, eats and smiles.
« You almost make me angry!» exclaims Peter.
« Because You could have been comfortable and the people of Hebron would have been happy, instead You are ruining Your stomach and teeth with this poison, which is more bitter and sour than grass dressed with vitriol.»
« Oh! I have you who love Me! When I am raised and I am hungry and thirsty, I will think with longing desire of this hour, of this food, of you who are now with Me, and who then...»
« But you will be neither hungry nor thirsty then! A king has everything! And we will be even closer to You!» exclaims the Iscariot.
« You say so.»
« And do You think that that will not happen, Master?» asks Bartholomew.
« No, Bartholmai. When I saw you under the fig-tree, its fruit was so sour that any man who had eaten of it, would have had his tongue and throat scorched... But the sour fruit of a fig-tree or of these plants is sweeter than a honeycomb compared to what My accession will be for Me... Let us go...» and He sets forth again, ahead of everybody, meditating, while the apostles behind Him whisper...