9th April 1946.
The city is full of people. The Temple is crowded. Jesus ascends to it as soon as He enters Jerusalem and He goes in through the gate near the Bethesda, that is, almost immediately, before the people realise that He is in Town and before the news may spread from the house where they leave their baggage and where they wash and tidy themselves, in order to enter the Temple clean and free from dust and perspiration.
There is the usual indecorous din of vendors and money-changers, and the usual kaleidoscope of colours and faces.
Jesus, with the apostles who have bought what is necessary for the offering, goes straight to the place of prayer and remains there for a long time. Of course, He is noticed by many people, both good and bad, and a whisper spreads like the wind and with the noise of leaves rustling in the wind, through the large outer yard, where people stop to pray. And when, after praying, He retraces His steps, a train of people, which becomes bigger and bigger, follows Him through the other atria, porches, yards, until they become a crowd, which surrounds Him and asks Him to speak.
« Another time, children! And in some other place!» says Jesus and He raises His arm to bless, trying to go away.
Scribes, Pharisees, doctors and their disciples, scattered among the people, sneer saying to one another sharp phrases, which are real mockery, such as: « Prudence is advising» or: « Eh! somewhat afraid...» or: « He has reached the age of reason» or also: « Not such a fool as we thought...» But the greater part, those who know and love Him or those who sincerely wish to know Him, and thus nurse no grudge against Him, insist in saying: « Are You going to deprive us of a feast in the Feast? Good Master, You cannot do that! Many of us have made sacrifices to remain here waiting for You...» and some hiss the mockers or give them sharp answers.
It is very obvious that the mass would be ready to overwhelm the wicked minority, who, shrewd and crafty as they are, take the hint, and they not only become quiet, but endeavour to go away. And although they are in the enclosure of the Temple, many do not hesitate to scoff at or hurl abuse at those who are departing, whilst others, mainly elderly people, and thus more reflective, ask Jesus: « Since You know, please tell us, what will happen to this place, to this town, to the whole of Israel, who will not surrender to the Voice of the Lord?»
Jesus looks at those grey or white haired heads pitifully and replies:
« Jeremiah told you what will happen to those who reply to the flash of divine wrath by increasing their sins, and consider divine mercy as a proof of weakness on God's side. Because God is not to be derided, children. You, as the Eternal God said through the lips of Jeremiah, are like clay in the hands of the potter, as clay are those who consider themselves mighty, as clay are the inhabitants of this place and those of the royal palace. There is no human power that can resist God. And if the clay resists the potter and wants to take strange horrible shapes, the potter turns it into a handful of clay again and starts afresh and works it into another vessel until it realises that the potter is the stronger and thus it yields to his will. And it may also happen that the vessel breaks into pieces, because it persists in not being modelled, as it refuses the water with which the potter moistens it in order to be able to shape it without cracks. The potter then throws the refractory clay and the useless unworkable bits and pieces into the garbage-can and he takes fresh clay and moulds it as he thinks best. Does the Prophet not say so when explaining the symbol of the potter and the clay vessel? That is what he says. And repeating the words of the Lord, he says: “As the clay is in the potter's hand, so you, Israel, are in the hand of God.” And the Lord adds, as a warning to those who are refractory, that only penance and repentance, when God reproaches man, can change the decree of God to punish a rebellious people.
Israel did not repent. Thus the threats of God have struck Israel many times. Israel is not repenting even now that not a prophet, but One Who is more than a prophet speaks to her. And God Who has had supreme mercy on Israel and has sent Me, now says to you: “As you do not listen to My own Voice, I will regret the good I have done to you and I will prepare a disaster for you.” And I, Who am Mercy, although I know that I am speaking in vain, I shout to Israel: “Each one of you, turn back from your evil ways. Amend your conduct and your inclinations. So that, when the plan of God will be carried out against the guilty Nation, at least the better ones in it may preserve their spirits free from sin in the general loss of goods, of freedom, of union, and united to God they may not lose the eternal goods as they lost the earthly ones.”
The visions of prophets have always one aim: to warn men of what may happen. And it is stated by the symbol of the earthenware vessel, broken in the presence of the people, what is in store for towns and kingdoms that do not surrender to the Lord, and...»
The elders, scribes, doctors and Pharisees, who had gone away previously, must have gone to inform the Temple guards and the magistrates in charge of order. And one of them, followed by a handful of comical cardboard soldiers, whose faces only seem belligerent, as they are a mixture of stupidity with a little malice and much harshness, not to say criminality, comes towards Jesus. The Master is speaking leaning against a column of the porch of Pagans and as the magistrate cannot get through the crowds, which have formed an impenetrable circle round Jesus, he shouts: « Go away! Or I will get my soldiers to throw You out of the enclosure...»
« Ugh! The big green flies! Heroes against lambs! Can you not go in and put in prison those who have turned Jerusalem into a brothel, and the Temple into a market? Go away, you chicken-hearted man, go away and stay with beech-martens... Ugh! Ugh!» The people turn against the grotesque soldiers and make it clear that they will not let the Master be insulted.
« I am carrying out the instructions I received...» says apologetically the leader of those... policemen.
« You are carrying out Satan's instructions and you do not realise that. Go away now, and implore God's mercy as you dared insult and threaten the Master! You dare not touch the Master! Is that clear to you? You are our oppressors, He is the Friend of the poor. You are our corruptors, He is our holy Master. You are our ruin, He is our Salvation. You are perfidious, He is good. Go away, or we shall do to you what Mattathias did at Modein. We will hurl you down the slope of Moriah like idolatric altars, and we will cleanse the place you have desecrated, washing it with your blood, and the feet of the only Holy Man in Israel will tread upon that blood to go to the Holy of Holies and reign there, as He deserves! Away from here! You and your masters! Away, you hired ruffians serving hired assassins...»
It is a frightful uproar... Roman guards rush from the Antonia led by an elderly severe hasty non-commissioned officer.
« Make room, you stinkers! What's happening? Are you tearing one another to pieces over some of your scabby lambs?»
« They are rebelling against the soldiers...» the magistrate endeavours to explain.
« By invincible Mars! These... soldiers? Ah! Ah! Go and fight cockroaches, you wine-cellar warrior.» He then addresses the people saying: « Tell me...»
« They did not want to let the Galilean Rabbi speak. They wanted to drive Him away. Perhaps they wanted to capture Him...»
« The Galilean Rabbi? Non licet. I say to you in the language of Rome the word of John Decollate. Ah! Ah! March to your kennel you and your curs. And tell the mastiffs to lie down as well. The She-Wolf knows how to tear to pieces those, too... Is that clear? Rome only has the right to judge. And You, Galilean... You may go on telling Your stories... Ah! Ah!» and he turns round all of one piece, his breastplate shining in the sun, and goes away.
« Exactly as with Jeremiah...»
« As with all the prophets, you ought to say...»
« But God triumphs just the same.»
« Master, go on speaking. The vipers have run away.»
« No, let Him go, lest the new Pashhurs should come back with greater strength and put Him in chains...»
« There is no such danger... While the lion roars the hyenas do not come out...»
The people speak making their comments in utter confusion.
« You are wrong» says an unctuous Pharisee enveloped in his pompous mantle, followed by his likes and by some doctors of the Law. « You are wrong. You must not think that the entire caste is like some of its members. Eh! Eh! There is good and bad on every tree.»
« Yes. In fact figs are generally sweet. But if they are unripe or too ripe they are sour or acid. You are acid. Like the figs of the very bad basket of the prophet Jeremiah» says one from the middle of the crowd: a man I do not know, but he must be well known to the crowds and is also a mighty one, because I see the people wink approvingly while the Pharisee pockets the blow without reacting. On the contrary, in an even more sugary manner, he turns towards the Master and says to Him: « A wonderful subject for Your Wisdom. Rabbi, do speak to us on this subject. Your elucidations are so... new... so... learned... We savour them with greedy appetite.»
Jesus stares at the Pharisaic champion and then replies to him: « You, Helkai, and your friends have also another unavowed appetite. But you will be given also that food... which is even more acid than figs. And it will contaminate your hearts as sour figs infect bowels.»
« No Master. I swear to it in the name of the living God! My friends and I hunger only to hear You speak... God sees whether...»
« That's enough. Honest people need not swear. Their deeds are their oath and witness. But I shall not speak of the very good and very bad figs...»
« Why not, Master? Are You afraid that facts may contradict Your explanations?»
« Oh! no! On the contrary...»
« So You foresee torment, shame, sword, plague, famine for us?»
« All that and even more.»
« Even more? What? So God no longer loves us?»
« He loves you so much that He fulfilled His promise.»
« You? Are You His promise?»
« I am.»
« In that case, when are You going to establish Your Kingdom?»
« Its foundations have already been laid.»
« In the hearts of good people.»
« But that is not a kingdom. That is teaching!»
« As My Kingdom is a spiritual one, spirits are its subjects. And spirits need no palaces, houses, armies, walls. They need to know only the Word of God and practise it. Which is happening in good people.»
« But can You speak that Word? Who authorises You?»
« The possession.»
« Which possession?»
« The possession of the Word. I give what I am. One who has life, can give life. One who has money, can give money. By My eternal Nature I have the Word that translates the Divine Thought and I give the Word, because the Love to make known the Thought of the Most High, Who is My Father, urges Me to give that gift.»
« Mind what You say! It's an audacious language! It may be detrimental to You!»
« It would be more detrimental to lie, because it would imply perverting My Nature and disowning Him from Whom I proceed.»
« So You are God, the Word of God?»
« I am.»
« And You say so like that? In the presence of so many witnesses who could report You?»
« The Truth does not lie. The Truth does not make calculations. The Truth is heroic.»
« And that is the truth?»
« The Truth is He Who is speaking to you. Because the Word of God translates the Thought of God, and God is Truth.»
The crowds are all ears, paying attention, in silence, to the discussion, which, however, is carried on without harshness. More people have rushed there from other parts, and the yard is crammed: hundreds of faces all turned towards one spot. And more faces, with stretched necks, appear from the openings leading to this yard, anxious to see and hear...
Helkai, the member of the Sanhedrin, and his friends look at one another... A rapid exchange of anxious glances. But they control themselves. Nay, an old doctor asks very kindly: « What should we do to avoid the punishments that You foresee?»
« You ought to follow Me, and above all believe Me. And even more: love Me.»
« Are You a mascot?»
« No. I am the Saviour.»
« But You have no armies…»
« I have Myself. Remember, you should all remember, for your own sake and out of pity for your souls, remember the words of the Lord to Moses and Aaron, when they were still in the land of Egypt: “Each man of the people of God must take a lamb without blemish, a male one year old. One animal for each household, and if the number of persons in the family is too small to eat all the animal, they must join with their neighbour. And you shall immolate it on the fourteenth day of the month of Abib, which is now called Nisan, and with the blood of the immolated animal you shall wet the doorposts and the lintel of your houses. And the same night you shall eat the flesh roasted over the fire, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. And you shall burn what might be left over. And you shall eat it with a girdle round your waist, sandals on your feet, a staff in your hand, you shall eat it hastily, because it is the passover of the Lord. And that night I will pass and strike down all the first-born of man and animal, that are in the houses not marked with the blood of the lamb.” At present, in the new passover of God, the truest passover, because God really passes amongst you in a visible manner, recognizable by His signs, those will be saved who are marked with the salutary mark of the Blood of the Lamb. Because, truly, you will all be marked with it. But only those who love the Lamb and will love His Sign, will receive salvation from that Blood. With regard to the others it will be the mark of Cain. And you know that Cain no longer deserved to see the face of the Lord and had no more peace. And chased by remorse, by punishment, by Satan, his cruel king, he became a fugitive and wanderer over the Earth as long as he lived. He is a really great figure of the People who will strike the new Abel...»
« Ezekiel also speaks of the Tau... Do You think that Your Sign is Ezekiel's Tau?»
« It is.»
« So You accuse us because there is abomination in Jerusalem?»
« I wish I could not do so. But it is so.»
« And are there no sinners amongst those marked with the Tau? Can You swear to that?»
« I do not swear anything. But I say that if there are sinners among those who are marked, their punishment will be even more dreadful, because adulterers of the spirit, abjurers, the killers of God, who become so after being His followers, will be the greatest in Hell.»
« But those who cannot believe that You are God, will not commit sin. They will be justified...»
« No. If you had not known Me, if you had not been able to verify My deeds, if you had not had the opportunity to examine My words, you would not be guilty. If you were not doctors in Israel, you would not be in the wrong. But you know the Scriptures and you see My works. You can make a comparison. And if you do so honestly, you will see Me in the words of the Scripture and you will see the words of the Scripture in Me, translated into My actions. Thus you will not be justified for failing to recognise Me and for hating Me. There are too many idols, too much abomination, too much fornication, where God only should be. And the same applies to every place where you are. Salvation consists in disowning all that and in accepting the Truth that speaks to you. Consequently, where you kill or you try to kill, you will be killed. And that is why you will be judged at the border of Israel, where all human power lapses, and the Eternal Father only is the Judge of His creatures.»
« Why do You speak so, Lord? You are severe.»
« I am truthful. I am the Light. The Light was sent to illuminate Darkness. But the Light must shine freely. The Most High would have sent His Light in vain, if He had hidden that Light under a bushel. Not even men do so when they light a lamp, otherwise there would be no sense in lighting it. If they light it, they do so that it may give light and those in the house may see. I have come to give light to the darkened earthly house of My Father, so that those who are in it may see. And the Light shines. And bless it, if its most pure beams disclose reptiles, scorpions, traps, cobwebs, cracks in the walls. It does so for your sake, to give you the opportunity to know yourselves, to cleanse yourselves, driving away harmful animals, that is, passions and sins, so that you may rebuild yourselves before it is too late, and you may see where you set your foot: on Satan's trap, before you fall into it. But in order to see, in addition to a clear light, one needs a clear eye. No light can illuminate an eye that a disease has covered with pus. Cleanse your eyes and your spirits, so that the Light may descend into you. Why perish in Darkness when the Most Good God sends you Light and Medicine to cure you? It is not too late yet. In the time still left to you, come to the Light, the Truth, the Life. Come to your Saviour Who stretches His arms to you, and opens His heart to you, imploring you to receive Him for your own eternal good.»
Jesus is really imploring, yearning lovingly, and nothing but love emanates from Him... Even the most stubborn beasts, even those who are most intoxicated with hatred, perceive so, and their weapons avow defeat and their poison fails to spit out its acid bitterness.
They look at one another. Then Helkai speaks on behalf of everybody: « You have spoken the truth, Master! I beg You to accept the banquet which I offer to honour You.»
« The only honour I ask for, is to conquer your souls. Leave Me in My poverty...»
« You will not offend Me by refusing?!»
« No offence. I beg you to leave Me with My friends.»
« They are invited as well, who could doubt it? They are invited with You. A great honour for my house!... You go to other great people! Why not come to Helkai?»
« Well... I will come. But, believe Me, in the secret of your house I will not be able to speak words different from those that I have spoken here, among the people.»
« Neither will I! Nor my friends! Do You perhaps doubt it?...»
Jesus looks at him. He then says: « I doubt only what I do not know. But I do know the thoughts of men. Let us go to your house... Peace to those who have listened to Me.»
And beside Helkai He directs His steps out of the Temple, followed by the train of His apostles mixed, but not enthusiastic about it, with Helkai's friends.