27th June 1946.
It is a cool morning when the people wait for Jesus to come out of a house in the lake village to begin His preaching.
I think that the inhabitants slept very little that night, deeply moved as they were by the miracles which had been worked, by the joy of having the Master with them, by their desire not to waste one moment of His presence. They were late in going to sleep, because of the long talking in houses, recapitulating the events, examining whether their spirits were endowed with faith, hope and charity, firm against every painful event, praised by the Master and proclaimed sure means to obtain grace from God in this and in the next life. And they woke early fearing that the Master might come out and go away early in the morning and they might not be present when He departed. Thus houses opened early to let their inhabitants go out into the streets, where, seeing that they were so many, practically all, and all prompted by the same thoughts, they said to one another: « It is really the first time that one only thought has urged our hearts and united them » and with fresh, kind, brotherly friendship, by mutual consent, they all set out towards the house where Jesus has been given hospitality and they crowded round it, noiselessly, waiting patiently and untiringly, quite decided to follow the Master, as soon as He comes out.
And many market-gardeners have picked in their gardens the fruits still covered with dew and are protecting them from the rising sun, from dust and flies, by covering them with fresh vine-leaves or large fig-leaves, through the indentations of which peep red apples, which seem to have been painted by a miniaturist, and grapes like amber or onyx, or soft round figs of all kinds, some firmly closed within their skin delicately withered on the sweet pulp, some turgid and smooth as if they were covered with well-ironed silk and decorated with diamond drops at their lower ends, some open in a smile of their blond, rosy, deep red fibres, according to qualities. And some fishermen have brought some fish in small baskets, fish which they certainly caught during the night, sacrificing their sleep, because some are still alive and are gasping in their last painful aspirations and spasms of agony, while their panting and faint wriggling increase the silvery or delicately blue hues of their stomachs and backs, lying on a bed of grey-green leaves of willow-trees or poplars.
The lake, in the meantime, has changed from the delicate milky hue which light bestows on waters at daybreak - a hue so pure, I would say so angelical, almost abstract, so calmly the water rests on the shingly shore, just murmuring delicately among the pebbles - to the resplendent, more human, I would say carnal hue of dawn, which tinges the water with red as the rosy clouds are reflected in the lake. And the lake becomes sky-blue in the pure light of dawn and begins to live again, to pulsate, with its wavelets which stir and run joyfully breaking into foam on the shore, then run back to dance with other wavelets, adorning the entire sheet of the lake with a light snow-white lace, thrown on the silky blue water, rippled by the morning breeze. Then the first ray of sunlight strikes the water over there, towards Tarichea, where it was so green-blue because of the woods which it reflected, and it assumes a golden hue and shines like a broken mirror struck by the sun, and the mirror expands incessantly, tinging with gold and topazes waters still blue, cancelling the rosy hues of the clouds reflected in the water, enveloping the keels of the last boats which are returning to port after fishing, as well as the keels of the first boats going out, while the sails, in the triumphal light of the risen sun, are as white as the wings of an angel against the blue of the sky and the green of the hills. Magnificent lake of Galilee which with its fruitful shores reminds me of our Lake Garda, and with its mystical peace Lake Trasimeno, gem of Palestine, worthy surroundings for most of the public life of Jesus!
Jesus appears at the door of the hospitable house and He smiles, raising His arms to bless the patient citizens awaiting Him. « Peace be with you all. Were you waiting for Me? Were you afraid that I might run away without saying goodbye to you? I always keep My promises. I am with you today to evangelize you and I will remain with you as I promised, to bless your houses, your gardens and boats, so that each family may be sanctified, and your work may be sanctified as well. But, remember, My blessing is to be assisted by your good will in order to be fruitful. And you know which is the good will that must enliven a family so that the house sheltering it may be holy. The husband is to be the head, but not the despot, of the wife, of the children and of the servants, and at the same time he is to be the king, the true king in the biblical sense of word.
Do you remember chapter eight of the first Book of the Kings? The elders of Israel gathered together and went to Ramah, where Samuel lived and they said to him: “Look, you are old and your children do not follow your ways. So give us a king to judge us, like the other nations.” King, therefore, means judge, and he should be a just judge in order not to make his subjects unhappy here on the earth with wars, abuse of power, unfair heavy taxes, or in eternal life with a kingdom permissive of lasciviousness and vice. Woe to those kings who fail in their ministry, who turn a deaf ear to the voices of their subjects, who turn a blind eye to the evils of the nation, who become responsible for the sufferings of the people through alliances formed against justice for the only purpose of strengthening their power with the help of allies! But woe also to those fathers who fail in their duties, who are blind and deaf to the needs and faults of the members of their families, who are the cause of scandal or grief for it, who stoop to arrange worthless marriages by compromise, in order to enter into an alliance with rich powerful families, without considering that matrimony is intended, besides procreation, for the elevation and comfort of man and woman; it is a duty, a ministry, not a bargain, it is not sorrow, it is not debasement of either husband or wife. It is love, not hatred. The head of the family, therefore, must be just without excessive hardness or pretensions and without excessive compliance and weakness. But if you had to choose between the former excess and the latter, pick the latter, because God, with regard to it, may say to you: “Why were you so good?” and will not condemn you, because excess in kindness is already a punishment for man through the overbearing action which other people take the liberty of performing against good persons; whereas He would always reproach you for your hardness, which is lack of love for your closest neighbour.
And the wife at home must be just with her husband, her children and servants. She must obey, respect, console and help her husband. She is to be obedient, providing her obedience does not imply consent to sin. The wife must be submissive but not degraded. Beware, o wives, that the first to judge you, after God, for certain guilty condescensions, are your very husbands, who persuade you to comply. They are not always desires of love, but they are also tests for your virtue. Even if he does not think about it at the moment, the day may come when the husband may say to himself: “My wife is very sensual” and thence he may begin to be suspicious of her fidelity. Be chaste in your conjugality. Behave in such a way that your chastity may impose on your husbands that reservedness which one has for pure things, and they may consider you as their equals, not as slaves or concubines kept only for “pleasure” and rejected when they are no longer liked. The virtuous wife, I would say the wife who also after conjugality retains that virginal “something” in attitude, in words, in her transports of love, can lead her husband to an elevation from sensuality to sentiment, whereby the husband divests himself of lewdness and becomes really “one thing” with his wife, whom he treats with the same respect with which a man treats a part of himself, which is just, because the wife is “bone from his bones and flesh from his flesh” and no man ill-treats his bones or his flesh, on the contrary he loves them, and therefore husband and wife, like the first married couple, look at each other without seeing their sexual nakedness, but let them love each other because of their spirits, without degrading shame.
Let the wife be patient and motherly with her husband. Let her consider him as the first of her children, because a woman is always a mother and man is always in need of a patient, prudent, affectionate, comforting mother. Blessed is the woman who knows how to be the companion and at the same time the mother of her husband to support him, and his daughter to be guided by him. A wife must be industrious. Work, while it does away with daydreams, is good for honesty and to one's purse as well. She should not torture her husband with foolish jealousies, which serve no purpose. Is the husband honest? A stupid jealousy, by driving him out of the house, exposes him to the danger of falling into the snares of a prostitute. Is he not honest and faithful? The fury of a jealous wife will not correct him, but her grave attitude, free from grudge and rudeness, her dignified and loving, still loving behaviour, will make him ponder and return to reason. Learn how to win back your husbands, when a passion separates them from you, through your virtue, just as you conquered them in your youth through your beauty. And, to gain strength for such duty, and resist the grief which might make you unfair, love your children and consider their welfare.
A woman has everything in her children: joy, a royal crown for the cheerful hours when she is really the queen of the house and of her husband, and a balm in sorrowful hours, when betrayal or other grievous experiences of married life scourge her forehead and above all pierce her heart with the thorns of her sad regality of martyr spouse. Are you so depressed as to wish to go back to your family, divorcing, or to find compensation in a false friend who craves for the female but feigns to feel pity for the heart of the betrayed wife? No, women, no! Your children, your innocent children, who are already upset and prematurely sad because of the domestic milieu, which is no longer serene or just, are entitled to their mother, to their father, to the comfort of a house, where, if one love has perished, the other remains vigilant to watch over them. Their innocent eyes look at you, they study you and they understand more than you think, and they mould their spirits according to what they see and understand. Never scandalise your innocent children, but take shelter in them, as in a bulwark of adamantine lilies, against the weakness of the flesh and the snares of snakes.
And let the woman be a mother. The just mother who is the sister as well as the mother, who is the friend as well as the sister of her sons and daughters. And who, above all and in everything, is an example. She must watch over her sons and daughters, correcting them gently, supporting them, making them ponder, and all that without preferences; because the children were all born of the same seed and of the same womb and if it is natural that good children are well-liked, because of the joy they give, it is also fair that children who are not good should be loved as well, although with sorrowful love, bearing in mind that man must not be more severe than God, Who loves not only good people, but also those who are not good, and He loves them to try and make them good, to give them means and time to become so, and He is patient until the death of man, reserving to Himself the right to become just Judge when man can no longer make amends.
And let Me tell you now something which does not concern this subject, but is useful for you to bear in mind. Very often, too often, we hear people say that wicked persons are better off than good persons and that that is not fair. First of all I say to you: “Do not judge by appearances and by what you do not know.” Appearances are often misleading and the judgement of God is not known on the Earth. You will become aware of it in the next life and you will see that the fleeting welfare of the wicked was granted as a means to attract them to Good and as a reward for the little good which even the most wicked man may do. But when you see things in the right light of future life, you will realise that the joyful time of the sinner was shorter than the life of a blade of grass, which began to grow in spring in the gravel-bed of a torrent, which dries up in summer, whereas one moment of glory in Heaven is greater than the most triumphant life any man ever lived, because of the joy which it confers on spirits who delight in it. Therefore, do not envy the prosperity of the wicked, but strive, through good will, to possess the eternal treasure of the just.
And reverting to how the members of a family and the inhabitants of a house should be, so that My blessing may remain fruitful in it, I tell you, children, to be submissive to your parents, to be respectful and obedient, so that you may be so also with the Lord your God. Because if you do not learn to obey the simple orders of your fathers and mothers, whom you see, how will you be able to obey the commands of God, which are given to you in His name, but you neither see nor hear Him? And if you do not learn to believe that he who loves, as a father and a mother love, can but order good things, how can you believe that the things, which are related to you as commands of God, are good? God loves, you know? and is a Father. And just because He loves you and wants you to be with Him, dear children, He wants you to be good. And the first school where you learn to become so, is your family. You learn there to love and to obey and there begins for you the way that leads to Heaven. So be good, respectful, docile. Love your fathers also when they correct you, because they do so for your own good, and love your mothers if they restrain you from doing actions which by their experience they know are not good. Honour your parents and do not make them blush because of your wicked deeds. Pride is not a good thing, but there is a holy pride, the pride of saying: “I did not grieve my father or my mother.” Such behaviour, which makes you enjoy their company while they are alive, is peace on the wound of their death, whereas the tears, which a son causes his parents to shed, scorch the heart of the wicked son like melted lead, and notwithstanding every effort to soothe the injury, it is painful, and all the more so when the parent's death prevents the son from making amends... Oh! children, be good, always, if you want God to love you.
Lastly, holy is that house in which, through the justice of the masters, the servants also become just. Masters should remember that bad behaviour exacerbates and spoils servants, and the servants should bear in mind that their bad behaviour disgusts masters. Let each stay in his own place, but with a tie of love for the neighbour to fill the division existing between servants and masters.
Then the house blessed by Me will keep its blessing and the Lord will dwell in it. And likewise, My blessing and thus My protection will remain on boats, kitchen gardens, working and fishing implements, when you lead your lives as fishermen or market-gardeners working holily on days permitted and holily devoted to worshipping God on holy Sabbaths, and you do not cheat when selling or weighing, and you do not curse your work, neither do you make it the sovereign of your lives by preferring it to God. Because if work gives you a profit, God gives you Heaven.
And now let us go and bless houses and boats and oars and kitchen gardens and hoes, then we will go and speak near the place where John is, before he goes to the priest. Because I will not come back here again, and it is fair that he should hear Me at least once. Take some bread, fish and fruit; we will take them into the wood and we will eat in the presence of the cured leper giving him the best bits, so that also his body may rejoice and he may feel that he is already a brother among the believers in the Lord. »
And Jesus sets out, followed by the people of the village and by other people who have come from nearby towns, where, during the night some inhabitants of this village perhaps went with the news that the Saviour is on this shore.