30th December 1946.
It is pleasant to rest among loving friends and near the Master in sunny days that show the early charms of springtime, contemplating the fields growing verdant with the tender sprouts of corn, admiring the meadows that break the even green winter shade with the first little many-coloured flowers, gazing at the hedges displaying gems that begin to open smiling in the more sunny spots, looking at almond-trees the tops of which are covered with early foam-like flowers. And Jesus rejoices at the sight, as well as the apostles and the three friends at Bethany. And everything seems far and remote: malevolence, sorrow, sadness, illness, death, hatred, envy, all the painful, tormenting, worrying things on the Earth.
All the apostles are overjoyed and they say so. They express their conviction – that is so certain, so triumphant – that Jesus has now defeated all His enemies, that His mission will now proceed without any obstacle, that He will be acknowledged as the Messiah also by those who have been most tenacious in opposing Him. And they speak, somewhat elated, rejuvenated, happy as they are, making plans for the future, dreaming... dreaming so much... and so humanly.
The most elated, also because of his psyche that carries him to extremes, is Judas of Kerioth. He congratulates himself on having waited, on his ability in acting, on his lasting faith in the Master's triumph, on defying the threats of the Sanhedrin... He is so elated that he ends up by telling what he has concealed so far, amid the utter astonishment of his companions: « Yes, they wanted to bribe me, they wanted to entice me with blandishments, and when they saw that they were of no avail, with threats. If you only knew! But I paid them back in their own coin. I pretended to love them as they feigned to love me. I allured them as they allured me, I betrayed them as they wanted to betray me... Because that is what they wanted to do. They wanted to make me believe that they were testing the Master to be able to proclaim Him the Holy Man of God solemnly. But I know them, I know them very well. And in all their plans of which they informed me, I contrived to make Jesus' holiness shine more brightly than the sun at midday in a cloudless sky... It was a dangerous game! If they had realised that! But I was prepared for every eventuality, even to die, to serve God in my Master. And thus I was informed of everything... Eh! at times I must have seemed to be mad, wicked, bad-tempered. If you had known what the situation was like! I alone know what I suffered at night, the precautions I had to take to do a good turn without attracting anybody's attention! You were somewhat suspicious of me. I know. But I bear you no grudge. My behaviour could have roused suspicion. But my purpose was good and that was all I worried about. Jesus is not aware of anything. That is, I think that He also suspects me. But I will keep quiet without wishing to be praised by Him. And I ask you not to say anything either. One day, one of the first times I was with Him – and you, Simon Zealot, and you, John of Zebedee, were with me – He reproached me because I boasted of having a practical sense. Since then... I never enhanced this quality of mine in His presence, but I continued to make use of it, for His own good. I did what a mother does for her inexpert child. She removes obstacles from his way, she bends a thornless branch towards him, she pushes aside one that may hurt him, or with shrewd acts she gets him to do what he must learn to do and to avoid what is bad, without the child being aware of it. On the contrary, the son believes that he succeeded by himself in walking without stumbling, in picking a lovely flower for his mother, in doing this and that thing spontaneously. I did the same with the Master. Because holiness is not sufficient in a world of men and demons. It is necessary to fight with equal weapons, at least as men... and at times... it is not a bad thing to add a pinch of infernal cunning to the other weapons. That is my idea. But He will not listen to me... He is too good... Well. I understand everything and everybody, and I excuse everybody for the evil thoughts you might have had about me. You now know. And now we love one another as good companions, and we do everything for His love and His glory » and he points at Jesus Who is walking farther away in a sunny alley speaking to Lazarus, who listens to Him smiling ecstatically.
The apostles go away towards Simon's house. Jesus instead comes closer with His friend. I listen to them.
Lazarus says: « Yes. I had understood that there was some great purpose, certainly a good one, in letting me die. I thought it was to spare me the sight of their persecution against You. And, You know whether I am telling the truth, I was glad to die so that I would not see it. It embitters me. It upsets me. See, Master. I have forgiven those who are the chiefs of our people many things. I had to forgive up to my last days... Helkai... But death and resurrection have cancelled all previous things. Why remember their last efforts to grieve me? I have forgiven Mary everything. She seems to doubt it. And more than that, I do not know why, since I came to life again she has taken an attitude that is so... I do not know how to define it. She is so mild and submissive, which is so strange with my Mary... Not even during the first days when she came here, after being redeemed by You, was she like that... Perhaps You know something and You can tell me, because Mary tells You everything... Do You know whether those who came here have reproached her too severely? I have always tried to weaken the memory of her fault when I saw her engrossed in the thought of her past, in order to alleviate her suffering. She cannot set her mind at rest over it. She seems so... above what might be dejection. Some people may even think that she does not show much regret... But I understand... I know. Everything makes one expiate. I think she does a great deal of penance, of all kinds. I would not be surprised if she wore a cilice under her dresses and if her flesh were familiar to the blows of the scourge... But the brotherly love I have for her and that aims at supporting her by laying a veil between past and present, is not shared by anybody else... Do you know, by any chance, whether she was ill-treated by someone who is not capable of forgiving... and who needs to be forgiven? »
« I do not know, Lazarus. Mary has not mentioned it to Me. She only told Me that she suffered very much on hearing the Pharisees insinuate that I was not the Messiah because I was not curing you or raising you from the dead. »
« And... has she not said anything to You about me? You know... I was suffering so much... I remember that my mother in her last hours revealed things that had escaped Martha's notice and mine. It was as if the depths of her soul and of her past surfaced again with the last agitations of her heart. I hope that... My heart has suffered so much because of Mary... and it has striven in every way not to give her the sensation of what I suffered because of her... I would not like to have struck her now that she is good, whilst out of brotherly love first, and then for Your sake, I never struck her in infamous days when she was a disgrace. What did she say to You about me, Master? »
« Her grief for having had too short a time to give you her holy love as your sister and fellow-disciple. Your loss made her measure the extent of the treasures of love that she had crushed under her feet once... and now she is happy to be able to give all the love that she wishes to give you, to tell you that you are her holy beloved brother. »
« Ah! that is it! I realised that! I am glad of that. But I was afraid I might have offended her... Since yesterday I have been thinking over and over again... I have been trying to remember... but I cannot... »
« But why do you want to remember? There is your future in front of you. Your past was left in the sepulchre. Nay, it was not even left there. It was burnt with the funeral bandages. But if it serves to give you peace, I will tell you your last words to your sisters. To Mary in particular. You said that it was because of Mary that I came and I come here, because Mary knows how to love more than anybody else. That is true. You said that she has loved you more than all the others who have loved you. That is also true, because she has loved you renovating herself for God's sake and for yours. You said to her, and quite rightly, that a whole life of delights would not have given you the joy that you received through her. And you blessed your sisters as a patriarch used to bless his dearest creatures. You equally blessed Martha, whom you called your peace; and Mary, whom you called your joy. Are you happy now? »
« Yes, Master, my mind is at peace now. »
« Then, as peace gives mercy, forgive also the chiefs of the people who are persecuting Me. Because that is what you wanted to say: that you can forgive everything, except the evil they do Me. »
« It is so, Master. »
« No, Lazarus, I forgive them. You must forgive them if you want to be like Me. »
« Oh! Like You! I cannot! I am only a man! »
« The man was left down there. The man! Your spirit... You know what happens at the death of a man... »
« No, Lord. I remember nothing of what happened to me » interrupts Lazarus vehemently.
Jesus smiles and replies: « I was not referring to your personal knowledge, to your particular experience. I was speaking of what every believer knows will happen to him when he dies. »
« Ah! The particular Judgement. I know. I believe. The soul presents itself to God, and God judges it. »
« It is so. And the judgement of God is just and inviolable. And it has infinite value. If the soul is judged mortally guilty it becomes a damned soul. If it is lightly guilty it is sent to Purgatory. If it is just it goes to the peace of Limbo awaiting Me to open the gates of Heaven. So I called your soul back after it had been judged by God. If you had been damned I could not have called you back to life, because by doing so I would have cancelled My Father's judgement. For damned souls no further changes are possible. They are judged forever. So you belonged to the number of those who were not damned. So you either belonged to the class of the blessed souls, or to the class of those who will be blessed after being purified. But consider this, My dear friend. If the sincere will of repentance that man can have while being still a man, that is, body and soul, is valid as purification; if the symbolical rite of baptism in water, that one wants out of spirit of contrition to be cleansed of the foulness contracted in the world and because of one's flesh, has the value of purification for us Hebrews; what value will repentance have, a more real and perfect repentance, a much more perfect repentance of a soul freed from the body, aware of what God is, enlightened on the gravity of its errors, enlightened on the extent of the joy that had moved away for hours, for years, for ages: the joy of the peace of Limbo that will soon be the joy of the achieved possession of God: the double, treble purification of perfect repentance, of perfect love, of the bath in the ardour of the flames lit by the love of God and by the love of spirits, in which and by which the spirits are stripped of all impurity and emerge as beautiful as seraphim, crowned with what does not even crown seraphim: their earthly and ultra-earthly martyrdom against vices and for the sake of love? What will it be? Tell Me, My dear friend. »
« Well... I do not know... perfection. Better still... a new creation. »
« There you are: you have said the right word. The soul becomes as if it were created again. It becomes like the soul of an infant. It is new. The past no longer exists. Its past of man. When the original Sin falls, the soul without stain and the shadow of stain, will be super-created and worthy of Paradise. I called back your soul that had been re-created through your willing attachment to Good, through the expiation of pain and death, and through your perfect repentance and your perfect love, achieved beyond death. So your soul is as innocent as the soul of a baby a few hours old. And if you are a new-born baby, why do you want to put on your spiritual childhood the heavy cumbersome clothes of an adult? The cheerful spirit of a child has wings, not chains. They imitate Me quite easily as they have not yet assumed any personality. They become like Me, because My figure and My doctrine can be impressed on their souls devoid of all traces without any confusion of lines. Their souls are free from human memories, from resentment, from prejudice. There is nothing in them, so I can be there, perfect and absolute as I am in Heaven. You, who are born again, a new-born, because in your old flesh the driving power is new, clean, without past and without traces of what it was, you, who have come back to serve Me, and only for that purpose, you must be as I am, more than anybody else. Look at Me. Look at Me carefully. Look at yourself in Me, and mirror Me in yourself. Two mirrors that look at each other to reflect in each other the figure of what they love. You are a man and a child. A man by age, a child by the purity of your heart. You have the advantage over children of being already acquainted with Good and Evil, and of choosing Good even before your Baptism in the fire of love. Well, I say to you, to the man whose spirit has been cleansed by the purification received: “Be as perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect and as I am. Be perfect, that is, be like Me Who have loved you so much as to go against all the laws of life and death, of heaven and the earth, in order to have once again on the Earth a servant of God and a true friend of Mine, and a blessed soul, a great blessed soul in Heaven.” I say that to everybody: “Be perfect”. And they, the majority, do not have the heart that you had, worthy of the miracle, worthy of being used as an instrument to glorify God in His Son. And they do not have your debt of love with God... I can say that, I can exact it from you. And first of all I exact it by asking you to bear no grudge on those who offended you and now offend Me. Forgive, Lazarus, forgive. You have been immersed in the burning flames of love. You must be “love”, so that you may no longer know anything but the embrace of God. »
« And by doing so shall I fulfill the mission for which You have raised me from the dead? »
« By doing so you will fulfill it. »
« That is enough, Lord. I need not ask or know more. It was my dream to serve You. If I served You by doing nothing, as a sick man and a dead body, and if I shall be able to serve You by doing much, as a man who has recovered, my dream has come true and I do not ask for anything else. May You be blessed, my Jesus, Lord and Master! And may He Who sent You be blessed with You. »
« May the Almighty Lord God be always blessed. »
They go towards the house stopping now and again to watch the reawakening of trees and Jesus, tall as He is, lifts one arm and picks a little bunch of flowers from an almond-tree that is getting warm in the sun, against the southern wall of the house.
Mary comes out and sees them and she approaches them to hear what Jesus is saying: « See, Lazarus? Also to these flowers the Lord said: “Come out.” And they obeyed to serve the Lord. »
« What a mystery germination is! It seems impossible for such fragile petals and such tender stems to sprout from a hard trunk or hard seeds and to change into fruit or plants. Is it wrong, Master, to say that the lymph or the germ is like the soul of the plant or of the seed? »
« It is not wrong because it is the vital part. It is not eternal in them, but was created for each species on the first day that plants and cereals existed. In man it is eternal, like its Creator, created each time a new man is conceived. But matter is alive through it. That is why I say that only through his soul man is alive. And he does not live only here. But also in the beyond. He lives because of his soul. We Hebrews do not draw designs on sepulchres as the Gentiles do. But if we did, we should not design an extinguished torch, an empty sand-glass or any other item symbolising the end, but the seed that is thrown into the furrow and grows into an ear. Because it is the death of the body that frees the soul from the bark and makes it fructify in the flower-beds of God. The seed. The vital spark that God put into our dust and becomes an ear if through our good will and also through sorrow we can fertilise the clod that encloses it. The seed. The symbol of life that lasts forever... But Maximinus is calling you... »
« I will go, Master. Some of the stewards have probably come. Everything came to a standstill these last months. They are now making haste to show me their accounts... »
« That you approve in advance because you are a good master. »
« And because they are good servants. »
« A good master makes servants good. »
« So I shall certainly become a good servant because I have You as a perfect Master » and he goes away smiling, walking nimby, so different from the poor Lazarus as he had been for years.
Mary remains with Jesus.
« And what about you, Mary, will you become a good servant of your Lord? »
« You only know, Rabboni. I... only know that I was a big sinner. »
Jesus smiles: « Have you seen Lazarus? He, too, was seriously ill, and yet do you not think that he is quite well? »
« It is so, Rabboni. You have cured him. What You do is always complete. Lazarus has never been so strong and cheerful as he has been since he came out of the sepulchre. »
« You are right, Mary. What I do is always complete. Thus also your redemption is complete because I worked it. »
« That is true, my beloved Saviour and Redeemer, my King and God. It is true. And, if You want it, I also shall be a good servant of my Lord. As for me, I want it, Lord. I do not know whether you do. »
« I want it, Mary. A good servant of Mine. Today more than yesterday. Tomorrow more than today. Until I will say to you: “Enough, Mary. It is time for you to rest.” »
« Agreed, Lord. I would like You to call me, then. As You called my brother out of the sepulchre. Oh! call me out of this life! »
« No, not out of this life. I will call you to the Life, to the true Life. I will call you out of the sepulchre that is the flesh and the Earth. I will call you to the wedding of your soul with your Lord. »
« My wedding! You love virgins, Lord... »
« I love those who love Me, Mary. »
« You are divinely good, Rabboni! That is why I could not set my mind at rest when I heard people say that You were bad because You were not coming. Everything seemed to be collapsing around me. How hard it was to say to myself: “No. You must not accept this evidence. What seems to you to be obvious is only a dream. The real fact is the power, the goodness, the divinity of your Lord.” Ah! How much I suffered! So much grief for Lazarus' death and for his words... Did he say anything to You? Does he not remember? Tell me the truth... »
« I never lie, Mary. He is afraid that he may have spoken and said what had grieved his life. But I reassured him, without lying, and he is now tranquil. »
« Thank You, Lord. Those words... have done me good. Yes. Just like the cure of a doctor who lays bare the roots of a disease and burns them. They finished destroying the old Mary. I still had too high an opinion of myself. Now... I measure the bottom of my abjection and I know that I must go a long way to climb out of it. But I will do it, if You help me. »
« I will help you, Mary. I will help you also when I have gone away. »
« How, my Lord? »
« By increasing your love in an immeasurable way. There is no other way for you. »
« Too mild when compared with what I have to expiate! Everybody is saved through love. Everybody obtains Heaven. But what is sufficient for the pure, the just, is not sufficient for the great sinner. »
« There is no other way for you, Mary. Because, whatever way you may take, it will still be love. Love if you help people in My name. Love if you evangelize. Love if you live in isolation. Love if you martyrise yourself. Love if you will make people martyrise you. You can but love, Mary. It is your nature. Flames can but burn whether they creep on the ground, burning straw, or they arise like a bright embrace around a trunk, a house or an altar to ascend towards the sky. Everyone has his nature. The wisdom of the masters of the spirit rests in the ability to exploit the inclinations of men directing them along the way where they can develop profitably. Such a law exists also among plants and animals and it would be silly to pretend that a fruit-tree should yield flowers only, or should bear other fruit than its natural ones, or that an animal should fulfill the functions typical of another species. Could you pretend that a bee, destined to make honey, should become a little bird that sings among the leafy branches of a hedge? Or that this little branch of an almond-tree that I am holding in My hands, with all the tree from which I picked it, instead of yielding almonds should exude sweet-smelling resins from its bark? A bee works, a bird sings, an almond-tree bears fruit, a resiniferous plant secretes resins. And each fulfills its task. Souls do the same. Your task is to love. »
« Then inflame me, Lord. Grant me it as a grace. »
« Is the power of love that you possess not sufficient for you? »
« It's too little, Lord. It could have served to love men. Not to love You Who are the infinite Lord. »
« And just because I am such, a limitless love would be required... »
« Yes, my Lord. That is what I want: that You give me a limitless love. »
« Mary, the Most High Who knows what love is, said to man: “You shall love Me with all your strength.” He does not exact more than that. Because He is aware that it is already a martyrdom to love with all one's strength... »
« It does not matter, my Lord. Give me an infinite love that I may love You as You deserve to be loved, that I may love You as I have not loved anybody else. »
« You are asking Me for a suffering that is like a fire that burns and consumes, Mary. It burns and consumes slowly... Think about it. »
« I have been thinking about it for such a long time, my Lord. But I dared not ask You. Now I know how much You love me. Just now I am aware of how much You love me and I dare to ask You. Give me that infinite love, Lord. »
Jesus looks at her. She is in front of Him, still thin after so many long hours of watch and so much grief, wearing a modest dress and with her hair arranged in a simple way, like a girl without malice, her pale face full of eagerness, her imploring eyes already shining with love, looking more like a seraph than a woman. She is really the contemplator asking for the martyrdom of absolute contemplation.
Jesus says one word only after looking at her carefully, as if He wanted to weigh her will: « Yes. »
« Ah! my Lord! What a grace to die out of love for You! » she says falling on her knees and kissing Jesus' feet.
« Stand up, Mary. Take these flowers. They are those of your spiritual wedding. Be as sweet as the fruit of the almond-tree, as pure as its flower and as bright as the oil that is extracted from its fruit, when it is lit, and as sweet smelling as this oil when sated with essences it is spread in banquets or on the heads of kings, scented with your virtues. Then you will really spread on your Lord the balm that He will appreciate infinitely. »
Mary takes the flowers but she does not stand up and in advance of her balms of love she kisses and sheds tears on the feet of her Master.
Lazarus joins them and says: « Master, there is a little boy who wants You. He had gone to Simon's house looking for You and found only John who brought him here. But he does not want to speak to anybody but You. »
« All right. Bring him here. I shall go under the jasmine pergola. »
Mary goes back into the house with Lazarus. Jesus goes under the pergola. Lazarus comes back holding by the hand the boy whom I saw in the house of Joseph of Sephoris. Jesus recognises him at once and greets him: « You, Martial! Peace be with you. How come you are here? »
« They have sent me to tell You something... » and he looks at Lazarus who understands and is about to go away.
« Stay, Lazarus. This is Lazarus, a friend of Mine. You can speak before him, My boy, because I have no other friend more faithful than he is. »
The boy is reassured. He says: « Joseph the Elder has sent me, because I live with him now, to tell You to go at once to Bethphage, to the house of Cleanthes. He must speak to You at once. But it must be at once. And he said that You are to come by Yourself. Because he must speak to You in all secrecy. »
« Master! What is happening? » asks Lazarus worriedly.
« I do not know, Lazarus. There is only one thing to do: to go there. Come with Me. »
« At once, Lord. We can go with the boy. »
« No, Lord. I am going alone. Joseph insisted on that. He said: “If you can do it properly and by yourself, I will love you as if I were your father”, and I want to be loved as a son by Joseph. I am going away at once, and I will run. Come after I have gone. Hail, Lord. Hail, sir. »
« Peace to you, Martial. »
The boy runs away as swift as a swallow.
« Let us go, Lazarus. Bring Me My mantle. I will proceed because, as you can see, the little boy cannot open the gate, and he certainly does not wish to call anybody. »
Jesus walks fast towards the gate, Lazarus hastens towards the house. The former releases the iron lock of the gate for the boy, who runs away. The latter brings Jesus' mantle to Him and walks beside Him on the road towards Bethphage.
« I wonder what Joseph wants? If he sent a boy with so much secrecy... »
« A boy escapes the notice of anyone who may be watching » replies Jesus.
« Do You think that... do You suspect... Do You feel that You are in danger, Lord? »
« I am certain, My dear friend. »
« What? Even now? But You could not have given a greater proof!... »
« Hatred becomes more furious when urged by facts. »
« Oh! it's because of me, then! I have harmed You!... My grief is incomparable! » exclaims Lazarus who is deeply grieved.
« Not because of you. Do not be distressed without reason. You have been the means, but you must understand that the cause was the necessity to give the world the proof of My divine nature. If it had not been you, it would have been somebody else, because I had to prove to the world that I, being God, can do anything I want. And to bring back to life a body that has been dead for days and is already decomposed, can only be the work of God. »
« Ah! You want to comfort me. But my joy, all my joy has vanished... I am distressed, Lord. »
Jesus makes a gesture as if He wanted to say « Who knows! » and then they both become silent.
They walk fast. The distance between Bethany and Bethphage is a short one, and they soon arrive there.
Joseph is walking up and down the street at the beginning of the village. He has his back turned when Jesus and Lazarus come out of a path concealed by a hedge. Lazarus calls him.
« Oh! Peace to you. Come, Master. I waited for You here so that I might see You at once, but let us go into the olive-grove. I do not want anybody to see us... »
He takes them behind the houses into a thick olive-grove that is a comfortable shelter where they can speak without being noticed, as the ruffled leafy branches of the trees conceal the slopes.
« Master, I sent the boy who is smart and obedient and very fond of me, because I had to speak to You but I was not to be seen. I came along the Kidron to get here... Master, You must go away, at once. The Sanhedrin has ordained Your arrest and the announcement will be read in the synagogues tomorrow. Whoever knows where You are, must denounce You. I need not tell you, Lazarus, that your house will be the first one to be watched. I came out of the Temple at the sixth hour and I acted at once, because while they were discussing I had already planned what to do. I went home and I took the boy. I came out through Herod's Gate on horseback, as if I were leaving the town. Then I crossed the Kidron and followed it. I left my mount at Gethsemane and I sent the boy who knew the way as he had already been to Bethany with me. Go away at once, Master. To a safe place. Do You know where to go? Have You got a place where to go? »
« But is it not enough for Him to go away from here? At most from Judaea? »
« It is not enough, Lazarus. They are furious. He must go where they do not go... »
« But they go everywhere, they do! You surely do not want the Master to leave Palestine!... » says Lazarus excitedly.
« Well! What can I tell you?! That's what the Sanhedrin wants... »
« Because of me, is that right? Tell me! »
« H'm! Well... yes. Because of you... that is, because everybody is being converted to Him, and they... they do not want that. »
« But it is a crime! It's a sacrilege... It's... »
Jesus, pale but calm, lifts His hand imposing silence and He says: « Be silent, Lazarus. Everybody is doing his work. Everything is written. I thank you, Joseph, and I assure you that I will go away. Go, you may go, Joseph. So that your absence may not be noticed... May God bless you. I will get Lazarus to let you know where I am. Go. I bless you, Nicodemus and all righteous-hearted people. » He kisses him and they part. Through the olive-grove Jesus goes towards Bethany with Lazarus, while Joseph goes towards the town.
« What will You do, Master? » asks Lazarus who is anguished.
« I do not know. In a few days' time the women disciples will be coming with My Mother. I would have liked to wait for them... »
« With regard to that. I could receive them in Your name and then I would bring them to You. But, in the meantime, where are You going? I don't think You can go to Solomon's house... nor to any of the well-known disciples. Tomorrow!... You must go away at once! »
« I have a place. But I would like to wait for My Mother. Her anguish would begin too early if She did not find Me... »
« Where would You go, Master? »
« To Ephraim. »
« To Samaria? »
« To Samaria. The Samaritans are less samaritans than many people and they love Me. Ephraim is at the border... »
« Oh! and to spite the Judaeans they honour and defend You! But... wait! Your Mother will either come via Samaria or along the Jordan. I will go with some servants along one route, Maximinus with other servants along the other, and either one or the other will find Her. We will come back only when we meet them. You know that no one in Lazarus' house will betray You. In the meantime You will go to Ephraim. At once. Ah! it was my destiny that I should not enjoy Your company! But I will come. Across the Adummim mountains. I am sound now. I can do what I like. Nay! Yes. I will make them believe that I am going to Ptolemais via Samaria to sail to Antioch. Everybody knows that I own land there... My sisters will remain at Bethany... You... Yes. I will now have two carts equipped for You and you can all go to Jericho in them. Then tomorrow at dawn you will resume the journey on foot. Oh! Master! My Master! Take care of Yourself! » After the excitement of the first moment Lazarus becomes sad and weeps.
Jesus sighs, but does not say anything. What can He say?...
They are now in Simon's house. They part. Jesus goes into the house. The apostles, who are surprised that the Master had gone away without saying anything, press round Him as He says: « Take your garments. Prepare your bags. We must depart from here at once. Be quick. And join Me in Lazarus' house. »
« Also the clothes that are damp? Can we not get them when we come back? » asks Thomas.
« We shall not come back. Take everything. »
The apostles go away casting meaningful glances at one another.
Jesus goes to get His belongings in Lazarus' house and He says goodbye to the dismayed sisters...
The two carts are soon ready. Two heavy carts with tilts, drawn by strong horses. Jesus says goodbye to Lazarus, to Maximinus and to the servants who have rushed there. They get on the carts that are waiting at one of the gates at the rear of the house. The drivers urge on the horses and the journey begins along the same road by which Jesus had come a few days previously to raise Lazarus.