21st November 1946.
People taken as a mass, men taken individually are always somewhat childish and wild, or at least primitive, and thus very sensitive to anything having the savour of novelty, of extraordinariness, and creating a joyful atmosphere. The approaching of solemnities always has the power of elating men, as if the festivity cancelled what makes them sad and tired. At the first approach of a feast, everybody is affected by a sort of animation, of a light exaltation, as if the approach were like the beat of tom-tom of savages at their idolatrous festivals or in their warlike enterprises:
Also the apostles, in the imminence of the Feast of Lights, are in that state of lightheartedness. Talkative and cheerful as they are, they begin to make plans, to remember past festivities, a touch of melancholy is noticeable in their conversation, then the festal atmosphere cheers them again urging them to be active, so that everything may be beautiful for the festival. Are the lights in John's house only few? Oh! Thomas' house at Ramah is full of them! And Thomas leaves for Ramah to get them. Is the oil not plentiful? Oh! Eliza has plenty oil at Bethzur and she offers it. And Andrew and John go to Bethzur to get it. Is the mild fire of brushwood necessary to bake the cakes? The two Jameses go to the mountains to collect some. Is there not enough flour, barley and honey for the ritual dishes? And Nike, who is almost offended because they never ask her for anything, is she not in Jerusalem just to give them some of her very blond honey, barley and flour from her beautiful estate? So Peter and Simon Zealot go to Nike, while Judas of Alphaeus helps Eliza to adorn the house, and even old Bartholomew partakes of the general mirth and with Philip whitewashes the smoky kitchen to make it look more pleasant. Judas Iscariot reserves for himself the decoration side and he comes back several times laden with branches of sweet-smelling evergreens adorned with berries and he arranges them nicely on shelves and around the fireplace. And on the eve of the Feast the little house seems to be prepared to receive a bride, such is the change in the copper kitchenware now so shiny, in the lamps as bright as the sun, with the green branches decorating the white walls, while the smell of bread and cakes spreads in the air already scented with the fresh branches.
Jesus lets them do as they wish. He seems so remote from everybody, He is very pensive, and sad. He replies to those who ask Him questions with the intent of being praised for what they have done. And their questions make it possible for me to reconstruct the work done by the disciples. In fact by asking: « Was my idea to go home and get the lamps not a good one? »; or: « Did Philip and I not do a good job by whitewashing everything? It is clean and pleasant and looks larger »; or: « See, Master? Eliza is happy. She seems to be at home and to have gone back to the time when she had her sons. She was singing today when filling the lamps with her oil and when kneading the flour with her honey and mixing it with milk for the barley »; or also: « Helkai can say what he likes. But a little green looks nice. After all!... If the Creator made branches, it means that we have to use them, isn't that right? » they allow me to reconstruct the work done by each of them. But even if Jesus replies to such questions that imply a wish for praise, His mind is absent, as one can easily see.
Night falls. After the last greetings of the citizens who before going home drop in at the kitchen to say good night to the Master, silence reigns in Nob. It is supper time. It is bedtime for children and old people, for those who are weakly through illness or age.
It must be a custom to give presents at the Feast of the Lights, because as soon as old John withdraws to his little room near the kitchen, I see Eliza and the apostles busy themselves, the former finishing a garment, the latter completing useful items carved in wood, and a tent in network, made with little ropes dyed red, green, yellow and indigo, a special work of fishermen. Thomas, Matthew, Bartholomew and the Zealot are looking at them.
« Here it is. I have finished » says Eliza standing up and shaking loose threads off the garment.
« It will keep him warm, poor old man! Eh! we men are really poor wretches without women. I do not know what we would be like without you, after being away from home for months. I can do this, but if I have to sew on a clasp!... » says Peter feeling the cloth.
« You have done it quickly, too. You are like my wife » says Bartholomew.
« I have finished, too. This was good wood. Soft to carve but strong at the same time » says Judas Thaddeus laying a small wooden box to be used for salt or spices on the dark table.
« Mine instead is not yet finished. There is a hard vein here that is difficult to carve. Perhaps I will not be able to finish the job. And I am sorry. The beauty of it was in the dark veins in the light wood. Look, Jesus. Don't they look like mountain crests painted on wood? » says James of Alphaeus showing a kind of vase, I do not know for what use it may be destined, of a really beautiful shape, with a dome-shaped lid and gracefully veined in the belly and lid. It is just the wood of the lid near the knob that is resisting stubbornly.
« Insist, and you will see that it can be done. Make your tool red-hot.
It will bite into its fibre and then you will manage. When the first layer is broken... » replies Jesus Who has been watching.
« But will the fire not spoil it? » asks Matthew.
« Not if it is used skillfully. In any case, either that or it will have to be thrown away. »
James makes a sharp bradawl red-hot and presses its red point against the obstinate part. There is a smell of burning wood...
« That's enough. Carve it now and you will succeed » says Jesus. And He helps His cousin holding the lid tight like a vice.
The blade slips twice and skims Jesus' fingers. « Take Your hand away, Brother. I wouldn't like to hurt You... » says James of Alphaeus. But Jesus goes on holding the vase. The third time the sharp knife makes Jesus' thumb bleed.
« There You are! See? You have hurt Yourself! Let me see! »
« It is nothing. Two drops of blood... » replies Jesus shaking His finger to let the blood drop. « You should rather dry the lid. It is stained » He then adds.
« No. Leave it! It is precious thus. Wipe Your finger here, Master. Here, in my veil. Your blood is blessed blood » says Eliza enveloping the hand in her linen veil.
The lid, the cause of so much trouble, is conquered. The carving is accomplished.
« It wanted to do some harm first » remarks the Zealot.
« Yes! Then it was persuaded. Obstinate wood! » says Thomas.
« With iron, fire and pain. It sounds like one of those sentences so dear to the Romans » states the Zealot.
« It reminds me, I do not know why, of the prophets in certain parts. We are obstinate wood as well... and will it take iron, fire and pain to make us good? » asks Bartholomew.
« It will really take that. And it will not be enough either. I am working with iron and My grief, but not every heart can imitate that piece of wood... Be quiet! There is someone outside... There is the shuffling of feet... »
They listen. No noise is heard. « It was the wind, perhaps, Master. There are dry leaves in the kitchen garden... »
« No. It was footsteps... »
« A night animal. I cannot hear anything. »
« Neither can I, neither can I... »
Jesus is listening. He seems to hear. He then looks up and gazes at Judas of Kerioth, who is also listening very carefully. More than anybody else. He gazes at him so intently that Judas asks: « Why are You looking at me thus, Master? » But there is no reply because a hand knocks at the door. Of the fourteen faces lit up by the lamp, only Jesus' remains as it was. The others change colour.
« Open, open the door, Judas of Kerioth! »
« No, I am not opening! It may be wicked people who have deliberately come at night. Do not let it be me who may hurt You! »
« Simon of Jonas, open it, please. »
« Less than never! On the contrary, I am going to push the table against the door! » says Peter and he is about to do so.
« Open, John, and be not afraid. »
« Oh! if You really want to let people in, I am going into the old man's room. I don't want to see anything » says the Iscariot covering with four strides the distance between him and the door of the old man's room, into which he disappears.
John, standing near the door, with his hand already on the key, casts a frightened glance at Jesus and murmurs: « Lord!... »
« Open and be not afraid. »
« Of course. After all we are thirteen strong men. It cannot be an army! With four blows and a few screams - Eliza, make sure you scream if necessary - we will put them to flight. We are not in a desert! » says James of Zebedee and he takes off his mantle and rolls up the sleeves of his tunic or vest, ready for action. Peter imitates him.
John, still hesitant, opens the door, he looks out. He does not see anything. He shouts: « Who is disturbing? »
A woman replies in a subdued, suffering voice: « A woman. I want the Master. »
« This is no time to come to people's houses. If you are sick, why are you about at this time? If you are a leper, why do you venture to come into a village? If you are grieved, come back tomorrow. Go away and mind your own business » says Peter who is standing behind John.
« Oh! for pity's sake! I am all alone in the road. I am cold and hungry. I am a poor wretch. Call the Master for me. He is merciful... »
The apostles look at Jesus perplexedly. Jesus is very severe and silent. They close the door.
« What shall we do, Master? Shall we give her at least a little bread. There is no room for her. To go to people's houses with an unknown woman... » asks Philip.
« Wait. I will go and see » says Bartholomew and he gets hold of the lamp to see.
« You need not go. The woman is neither cold nor hungry, and she knows very well where to go. She is not afraid of the night. But she is a poor wretch, although she is neither sick nor a leper. She is a prostitute and has come to tempt Me. I am telling you that, so that you may be aware that I know, that you may be convinced that I know. And I also tell you that she has not come owing to a whim of her own; but she has come because she is paid to come. » Jesus has spoken in a loud voice, so that He could be heard in the adjoining room, where is Judas.
« And who would do that? And why? » says the Iscariot appearing once again in the kitchen. « Certainly not the Pharisees, or the scribes, or the priests, if she is a prostitute. Neither do I think that the Herodians are so... resentful as to take all the trouble to... I do not know myself why. »
« I will tell you why. To be able to say that I am a sinner, one who has relations with public sinners. And you know as well as I do that it is so. And I also tell you that I do not curse her or those who sent her. I am still and always Mercy. And I am going to her. If you wish to come with Me, come. I am going to her because she really is a poor wretch. When she says that she is, she thinks that she is telling a lie, because she is young, beautiful and well paid, she is healthy and pleased with her ill-famed life. But she is wretched. It is the only truth among all her lies. Go ahead of Me and be present at our conversation. »
« No, I don't want to be present. Why should I? »
« To bear witness to those who will ask you. »
« And who do You think is going to ask me? There is no question to be asked among us, and the others... I cannot see anybody. »
« Be obedient. Go ahead. »
« No. I don't want to obey You, and You cannot compel me to approach a prostitute. »
« Hey! What are you? The High Priest? I will come, Master, and without any fear of getting infected » says Peter.
« No. I will go by Myself. Open the door. »
Jesus goes out into the kitchen garden. In the dark moonless night it is not possible to see anything.
The kitchen door is opened again, and Peter comes out with a lamp. « Take this at least, Master, if You really do not want me » he says in a loud voice. And then in a subdued voice: « Bear in mind that we are behind the door. In case of need, call... »
« Yes. Go. And do not quarrel with one another. »
Jesus takes the lamp and lifts it up to see. Behind the big trunk of the walnut-tree there is a human figure. Jesus takes two steps towards it, saying: « Follow Me. » And He goes and sits down on the stone bench placed against the house, on the eastern side.
The woman comes forward, she is covered with a veil and is stooped. Jesus lays the lamp on the stone, close to Himself. « Speak. » His order is so austere and so severe, and He is so Divine, that the woman instead of coming forward and speaking, steps back and stoops even more, remaining silent.
« Speak up, I tell you. You wanted Me. I have come. Speak » He says with a shade of kindness in His voice.
Silence. « Then I will speak. I ask you: why do you hate Me so much as to serve those who want My ruin and wish it in every way, and seek all possible causes for it? Tell Me. What wrong have I done you, o wretched woman? What harm have you received from the Man Who has not even derided you in His heart for the ill-famed life you are leading? What? Have you been corrupted by the Man Who not even in His heart has wished to have you, that you hate Him more than you hate those who prostituted you and despise you every time they come to you? Answer Me! What has Jesus of Nazareth done to you, Jesus the Son of man, Whom you hardly know by sight, having met Him in the street in town, Jesus who does not know your face and takes no heed of your favours and seeks only the foul defaced image of your soul, to become acquainted with it and cure it? So speak up!
Do you not know who I am? Yes, you know Me partly. Nay, you know as much as two parts. You know that I am young and that you like My person. Your unrestrained animalism told you that. And your tongue of a drunken woman told those who received the confession of your sensuality and have turned it into a weapon to injure Me. You know that I am Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. You have been told who I am by those who exploiting your sensuality paid you to come here to tempt Me. They said to you: “He says that He is the Christ. The crowds say that He is the Holy One, the Messiah. He is nothing but an impostor. We need the proof that He is a miserable man. Give us that proof, and we will cover you with gold.” And as you, with a remainder of justice, the last particle of the treasure of justice that God had put into your body with your soul, and that you shattered and scattered, did not want to hurt Me, as you loved Me, your way, they said to you: “We shall do Him no harm. On the contrary! We shall surrender the man to you, giving you the means to let Him live as a king beside you. It is sufficient for us to be able to say to ourselves, to be at peace with our own consciences, that He is simply a man. A proof that we are right not believing Him to be the Messiah.” That is what they said to you. And you came. But if I should yield to your allurement, hell would be upon Me. They are ready to cover Me with filth and to capture Me. And you are their instrument to do that.
You can see that I am not asking you questions. I am speaking because I know, without having to ask. But if you know those two things, you do not know the third one. You do not know who I am, in addition to being a man and Jesus. You see the man. Other people say to you: “He is the Nazarene.” But I tell you who I am. I am the Redeemer. In order to redeem one must be without sin. Look how I trampled on My possible sensuality as a man. As I am doing with this disgusting caterpillar that in the darkness was moving from one heap of dirt to another for its lascivious sensuality. That is how I always trampled on it. That is how I trample on it even now. And likewise I am willing to tear your disease away from you and tread on it, freeing you from it to make you holy and healthy. Because I am the Redeemer. Only that. I took the body of man to save you, to destroy sin, not to sin. I took it to remove your sins, not to sin with you. I took it to love you, but with a love that gives its life, its blood, its word, everything, to take you to Heaven, to Justice, not to love you as a brute. And not even as a man, because I am more than a man.
Do you know exactly who I am? You do not know. You did not even know the significance of what you were going to accomplish. And I forgive you for that, without you asking for it. You did not know. But your prostitution? How could you live in that state? You were not like that. You were good. Oh! poor wretch! Do you not remember your childhood? Do you not remember the kisses of your mother? Her words? And the hours of prayer? The words of Wisdom you heard your father explain in the evening and the leader of the synagogue on Sabbaths? Who made you dull-witted and who intoxicated you? Do you not remember? Do you not regret it? Tell Me! Are you really happy? Are you not replying? I will speak in your stead and I say: no, you are not happy. When you wake up you find your shame on your pillow giving you the first daily twist of torture. And the voice of your conscience howls its reproach while you adorn and perfume yourself to look pleasant. And you smell an infamous scent in the finest essences. And a nauseating taste in rare dishes. And your jewels are as heavy as a chain. And they are. And while you laugh and allure, something moans within you. And you get drunk to overcome the boredom and nausea of your life. And you hate those whom you say you love for the sake of gain. And you curse yourself. And your sleep is heavy with nightmares. And the thought of your mother is a sword in your heart. And the curse of your father gives you no peace. And then there are the insults of those who meet you, the cruelty of those who use you, always mercilessly. You are a merchandise. You sold yourself. One makes use of purchased goods as one likes. One tears them, consumes them, treads and spits on them. It is the right of the buyer. You cannot rebel... And does that situation make you happy? No. You are in despair. You are in chains. You are tortured. On the Earth you are a dirty rag on which anybody can tread. If, in some moments of grief, you seek comfort raising your spirit to God, you feel the wrath of God upon you, a prostitute, and that Heaven is more closed to you than it was to Adam. If you are not well, you dread death because you know what your destiny is. The Abyss is for you.
Oh! miserable woman! And was that not enough? To the chain of your sin would you like to add also that of being the ruin of the Son of man? Of Him Who loves you? The Only One Who loves you?
Because He clothed Himself with flesh also for your soul. I could save you, if you wanted. The Abyss of Merciful Holiness is bending over the abyss of your abjection and is waiting for your wish to be saved to draw you up from the abyss of your filth. In your heart you think that it is impossible for God to forgive you. You base this thought of yours on the comparison with the world that does not forgive you for being a prostitute. But God is not the world. God is Goodness. God is forgiveness. God is Love.
You came to Me, being paid to harm Me. I solemnly tell you that the Creator, in order to save one of His creatures, can turn into good even what is evil. And if you want, your coming to Me will be changed into good. Be not ashamed of your Saviour. Be not ashamed of showing Him your bare heart. Even if you wish to conceal it, He sees it and weeps over it. He weeps. He loves. Be not ashamed of repenting. Be as bold in repentance as you were in sin. You are not the first prostitute to weep at My feet and to be led back to justice by Me... I have never rejected any person, no matter how guilty the person was. I have always tried to attract sinners to me and save them. It is My mission. I am not horrified at the state of a heart. I know Satan and his deeds. I know men and their weaknesses. I know the condition of woman who pays, and justly, for the consequences of Eve's sin more severely than man. So I know how to judge and how to pity. And I tell you that I am more severe with those who make women fall than with the women who have fallen. In your case, o unhappy woman, I am more severe with those who sent you than with you who came, not knowing exactly what you were lending yourself to. I would have preferred you to come urged by the desire for redemption, like other sisters of yours. But if you countenance the wish of God, and you turn an evil deed into the headstone of your new life, I will speak to you the word of peace... »
Jesus, Who was severe at the beginning and has become kinder and kinder, still remaining so... divine as to exclude all weakness of senses and also every possible error of evaluation of His goodness, is now silent, looking at the woman, who has been standing all the time, stooping more and more, at about two metres from Him, and who, in the middle of His speech has taken her hands to her face pressing her veil against it, two beautiful hands outstanding against the dark mantle and all adorned with rings. Bracelets are at the wrists of arms bare up to the elbows.
I could not say whether she is weeping or not. If she is, she is doing it so silently because I cannot hear any sobs or see any movement. She is so still in her dark clothes that she looks like a statue. Then all of a sudden she falls on her knees and curls herself up on the ground and then she really weeps without any reluctance to show it. Then, lying on the ground dejectedly, she begins to speak:
« It is true! You really are a prophet... Everything is true... They paid me for this... But they told me that it was a wager... They would have found You in my house... But also close to You... »
« Woman, I will only listen to the story of your sins... » says Jesus interrupting her.
« That is true. I am not entitled to accuse anybody because I am a dung-heap. Everything is true. I am not happy... I do not enjoy riches, banquets, love affairs... I blush when I think of my mother... I am afraid of God and of death... I hate the men who pay me. Everything You said is true. But do not drive me away, Lord. No one, after my mother, has ever spoken to me as You did. Nay, You have spoken to me even more kindly than my mother, who in the last days was hard to me because of my behaviour... I ran away to Jerusalem not to hear her any more... But You... And yet Your kindness is like snow on the fire devouring me. My fire is dying down, it is a different fire. It was scorching, but gave no light or heat. I was as cold as ice and I was in darkness. Oh! how much I suffered through my own will! How much useless cursed grief I have caused myself! Lord, through the half-open door I told you that I was an unhappy woman and to have mercy on me. They were the lies they taught me to tell You to lure You into the trap. They said to me that, afterwards, my beauty would do the rest... My beauty! My clothes! ... »
The woman stands up. Now that she is standing I can see that she is tall. She tears off her veil and mantle and appears in her true beauty of a brown-haired woman with a very white complexion. Her eyes, enlarged with bistre, are large and beautiful and they have the look of amazed innocence, which is odd to be found in this type of woman. Perhaps they have already been washed by her tears. The woman tears and treads on the cloth of her mantle, she rends her veil, she pulls off the precious buckles from both and throws them on the ground, takes off her rings and bracelets, she flings away the ornaments on her head, she gets hold of her curly locks full of shiny clasps and tears and ruffles them to destroy their artificial beauty in a fury of sacrifice that is even frightening. Her necklace, stretched violently, becomes unstrung and falls to the ground and her foot shod in ornate sandals treads on the gems crushing them; her precious belt and a clasp fastening her dress on her breast with artistic style, have the same fate. And all that takes place while in a low panting voice she repeats: « Away! Cursed things. Away! You and who gave them to me. Away, my beauty! Away, my hair. Away, my complexion as white as jasmine! »
With a swift movement she gets hold of a sharp stone that she sees on the ground and she strikes her face and mouth till they bleed and she scratches herself with her painted nails. Blood falls in drops from her wounds, her features are swollen with blows... until her fury dies down and panting, exhausted, disfigured, unkempt, with clothes torn and stained with blood and earth, she throws herself on the ground at Jesus' feet, moaning: « And now You can forgive me, if You see my heart, because there is nothing of my past, nothing of... You have won, Lord, against Your enemies and against my flesh... Forgive my sins... »
« I had already forgiven you when I came to meet you. Stand up and sin no more. »
« Tell me what I must do, so that I may do it. »
« Go away from the places of your sins, from those who know who you are. Your mother... »
« Oh! my Lord! She will not receive me any more. She hates me as my father died because of me, cursing me. »
« If God Who is God receives you, and He receives you because He is a Father, can your mother not receive you, as she gave birth to you and is a woman like you? Go to her with all humility. Weep at her feet as you are weeping at Mine. Make a full confession to her as you did to Me. Tell her your sufferings. Implore her mercy. Your mother has been waiting for this moment for years. She is waiting for it that she may die in peace. Bear her words of loving reproach as you bore Mine. I was a stranger to you, and yet you listened to Me. She is your mother. It is therefore twice as much your duty to listen to her respectfully. »
« You are the Messiah. You are more than my mother. »
« Now you say that. But when you came to tempt Me you did not know that I was the Messiah, and yet you have listened to My words. »
« You were so different from men... so... You are holy, o Jesus of Nazareth! »
« Your mother is holy as a mother and as a creature. Through her prayers you have found mercy with God. A mother is always holy! And God wants her to be honoured. »
« I have dishonoured her. The whole village knows that. »
« That is another reason why you should go to her and say: “Mother, forgive me.” And it is another reason for consecrating your life to her to repay her for the pains she suffered because of you. »
« I will do that... But... Lord, do not send me back to Jerusalem. They are waiting for me... and I do not know whether I will be able to resist their threats... Let me stay here until dawn, and then... »
« Wait a moment. »
Jesus stands up, He goes to the kitchen door, He knocks, and has the door opened. He says: « Eliza, come out. »
Eliza obeys. Jesus takes her towards the woman who seeing another woman, who is also elderly, come towards her, makes a gesture as if she were ashamed, and she tries to cover her face and immodest dress with what remains of her torn mantle and veil.
« Listen, Eliza. I am leaving this house at once. You will tell My disciples to join Me at Herod's Gate at dawn. All of them, except Judas who must come with Me. You will take this woman to sleep with you. You can take My bed because I will not come back to Nob for a long time. Tomorrow, when John gets up, you and he will take this woman where she tells you. You will give her an ordinary dress and one of your mantles. And you will help her in everything. »
« All right, Lord. I will do what You wish. I am sorry for John... »
« I am sorry, too. I wanted to make him happy, but the hatred of men prevents the Son of man from granting an hour of joy to a just man... »
« And afterwards, Lord? »
« Afterwards? You can go back to Bethzur and wait... Goodbye, Eliza. May My blessing and My peace be with you. Goodbye, woman. I am entrusting you to a mother and to a just man. But if you think that you have to come back to get what belongs to you... »
« No. I do not want to have anything of the past. »
« My dear woman, you cannot leave everything abandoned. Have you no servant or relatives? » asks Eliza.
« I have only a maidservant... and... »
« You will have to dismiss her, you will have to... »
« I beg you to do it, when you come back. Help me to recover completely, woman. » There is true anguish in her voice.
« Yes, my daughter, I will. Do not be distressed. We will see to everything tomorrow. Now come upstairs with me » and Eliza takes her by the hand and leads her upstairs, into one of the two little rooms.
She then comes down quickly, and says: « I think that it would be a good thing if they all saw You without her, Lord. Neither should they know where she is. These jewels... » She stoops to pick up rings and bracelets, buckles and hairpins and belt and as many beads of the broken necklace as she can. « What shall we do with these? » she asks.
« Come with Me. You are right. It is better if they see Me. »
They go into the kitchen. They all look at Jesus inquisitively. Also the old man has got up, awakened perhaps by a dispute.
« Eliza, give those precious items to Thomas. And tomorrow, Thomas, you will sell them to some goldsmith. They will be of use for the poor. Yes, they are jewels of a woman, of that woman. And that is the answer to those who think that human flesh can tempt the Son of man and deviate Him from His mission. And it is also an advice to those who hate Me, that every subterfuge to find faults with which to charge Me is useless. John, Eliza will tell you what you are to do. I bless you... »
« Are You leaving me, Lord? » The old man is grieved.
« I must. Goodbye. Peace be with you. » He addresses the apostles: « Go and rest. Everybody except Judas, who will come with Me. »
« Where? It's night-time » objects Judas.
« To pray. It will do you no harm. Or are you afraid of the air of the night, if you breathe it with Me? »
Judas lowers his head taking his mantle with a bad grace, while Jesus takes His.
« Tomorrow at dawn at Herod's Gate. We shall go to the Temple and... »
« No! » The “no” is unanimous. Judas' is the loudest.
« We shall go to the Temple. Did you not say that you have convinced them to leave Me in peace? »
« That is true. »
« Then we shall go to the Temple. Come » and He sets off to go out.
« And that is the end of the feast that we had prepared... » says Peter with a sigh.
« You should say that it ended before beginning » replies James of Zebedee.
Jesus is already on the threshold of the open door. He turns round and blesses them, then He disappears into the night.
In the kitchen they have all been struck dumb. Finally Matthew asks Eliza: « But what happened, after all? »
« I do not know. There was a woman who was weeping. And He said to me what He said also to you. Who she was, from where and why she came, I do not know... »
« Well. Let us go... » And they all go away, with the exception of Matthew and Bartholomew who sleep in the house.