4th April 1945.
Manaen, with the shepherds, is walking fast along the slopes that from Bethany take one to Jerusalem. A beautiful road goes straight towards the Mount of Olives. And Manaen turns towards it, after leaving the shepherds, who, few at a time, want to enter the town to go to the Supper room.
Shortly before, I gather this from their conversation, they must have met John, who was coming towards Bethany to bring the news of the Resurrection and the order for everybody to be in Galilee in a few days' time. They part precisely because the shepherds want to repeat personally to Peter, what they have already told John, that is, that the Lord, when he appeared to Lazarus, said that they had to gather in the Supper room.
Manaen climbs a secondary road towards a house in the middle of an olive-grove. A beautiful house, with around it a row of cedars of Lebanon, which with their imposing mass dominate the numerous olive-trees of the mountain. He goes in resolutely and to the servant, who has rushed to meet him, he says: « Where is your master? »
« Over there with Joseph. He came not long ago. »
« Tell him that I am here. »
The servant goes away and comes back with Nicodemus and Joseph.
The voices of the three men mingle in the same cry: « He has risen! » They look at one another, surprised that they all know.
Then Nicodemus takes his friend and leads him to a room inside the house. Joseph follows them.
« Have you dared to come back? »
« Yes. He said: “At the Supper room”. I do want to see Him now, glorious, to get rid of the grievous memory of Him tied and covered with filth, like a criminal struck by the rage of the world. »
« Oh! we should like to see Him as well... to free ourselves from the horror of remembering Him tortured, of His countless wounds... But He has shown Himself only to the women » whispers Joseph.
« And that is fair. They have always been faithful to Him during these last years. We were afraid. The Mother said so: “A very poor love indeed, if it waited until now to show itself!” » says Nicodemus objecting.
« But to defy Israel, now more than ever opposed to Him, we should really need to see Him!... If you knew! The guards have spoken... Now the Leaders of the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees, not yet converted by so much wrath of Heaven, are looking for those who are aware of His Resurrection, to put them in prison. I have sent little Martial – a child passes unnoticed more easily – to inform the people at home to be on the alert. They have taken sacred money from the Treasury of the Temple to pay the guards, so that they may say that the disciples stole Him, and that what they had said previously about the Resurrection, was a lie, as they were afraid of being punished. The town is in a turmoil. And there are some disciples who are already leaving it out of fear... I mean the disciples that were not at Bethany... »
« Yes, we would need His blessing to have courage. »
« He appeared to Lazarus... It was almost the third hour. Lazarus seems transfigured to us. »
« Oh! Lazarus deserves it! We... » says Joseph.
« Yes. We are still encrusted with doubt and human thoughts, like a leper badly cured... And there is no one but He Who can say: “I want you to be cleansed!” So, now that He has risen, will He no longer speak to us, who are less perfect? » asks Nicodemus.
« And will He not work any more miracles, to punish the world, now that He is the One Who has Risen from death and from the miseries of the flesh? » asks Joseph again.
But their questions can have but one reply. His. And it does not come. The three remain dejected.
Then Manaen says: « Well. I am going to the Supper room. If they kill me, He will absolve my soul and I shall see Him in Heaven, if I do not see Him here, on the Earth. Manaen is such a useless thing in the group of His followers that, if he falls, he will leave the same void that is left by a flower picked in a meadow crowded with corollas: he will not even be noticed... » and he gets up to go.
But, as he turns towards the door, the latter is brightly illuminated by the Divine Resurrected Lord, Who, with His open hands, in a gesture of an embrace, stops him saying: « Peace to you! Peace to you two! But remain where you are, you and Nicodemus. Joseph may still go, if he wishes so. But you have Me here, and I speak the word you requested: “I want you to be cleansed of what is still impure in your belief.” Tomorrow you will go down to the town. You will go to the brothers. This evening I have to speak only to the apostles. Goodbye. And may God be always with you. Thanks, Manaen. You have believed more than these two. So, thanks also to your spirit. I thank you two for your pity. But ensure that it may become something higher through a life of fearless faith. » Jesus disappears behind a dazzling incandescence.
The three are blissful and bewildered.
« But was it He? » asks Joseph.
« And did you not hear His voice? » replies Nicodemus.
« Also a spirit can have... a voice... You, Manaen, since you were so close to Him, what do you think? »
« A real body. Most handsome. He breathed. I could feel His breath. And He emitted heat. And then... His Wounds, I saw them. They looked as if they had been opened then. They did not bleed, but it was living flesh. Oh! do not doubt any more! So that He may not punish you. We have seen the Lord. I mean Jesus, Who has come back as glorious as His Nature wants! And... He still loves us... Truly, if Herod should now offer me his kingdom, I should say to him: “Your throne and crown are dust and dung, as far as I am concerned. Nothing exceeds what I possess. I have the blissful knowledge of the Face of God.” »