225. The Paralytic at the Pool of Bethzatha.
21st July 1945.
Jesus is in Jerusalem, in fact quite near the Antonia. All the apostles are with Him, with the exception of the Iscariot. Many people are hurrying towards the Temple. They are all wearing their best clothes, both the apostles and the pilgrims, and I think therefore that it is Pentecost time. Among the people are many beggars, pitifully lamenting over their miseries and directing their steps towards the best places for seeking alms, near the gates of the Temple, or at the crossroads from which people come towards the Temple. Jesus, while passing, gives alms to the poor wretches, who give meticulously every detail of their misery.
I am under the impression that Jesus has already been to the Temple, for I can hear the apostles talking of Gamaliel, who pretended not to see them, although Stephen, one of his pupils, had pointed out Jesus to him.
I can also hear Bartholomew asking his companions: "What did that scribe mean by saying: “A herd of rams for the slaughterhouse”?"
"He might have been talking of some business of his own" replies Thomas.
"No. He was pointing at us. I saw him clearly. In any case his next sentence confirmed the earlier remark. He said sarcastically: “Before long also the Lamb will be ready to be shorn and slaughtered.”"
"Yes, I heard him, too" confirms Andrew.
"Of course! I am yearning to go back and ask the scribe's companion what he knows about Judas of Simon" says Peter.
"He knows nothing! This time Judas is not here because he is really ill. We know that for certain. Perhaps he really suffered too much during the trip we made. We are hardier. He always lived here, in comfort, and he tires easily" replies James of Alphaeus.
"Yes, we know. But that scribe said: “The chameleon is missing from the group.” Does the chameleon not change colour any time it wants to?" asks Peter.
"Yes, Simon. But they were certainly referring to his clothes, which are always new. He is proud of them. He is young and we must bear with him..." remarks the Zealot to reconcile them.
"That is true, too. But!... What a queer expression!" concludes Peter.
"They are eternally threatening" says James of Zebedee.
"The trouble is that we know we are threatened and yet possibly imagine threats also where there are none..." points out Judas Thaddeus.
"And we see faults where they do not exist" ends Thomas.
"Of course! Suspicion is unpleasant... I wonder how Judas is today? In the meantime he is enjoying that paradise and those angels... I would not mind being ill myself, to enjoy those delights!" says Peter, to which Bartholomew adds: "Let us hope that he recovers soon. We must finish our trip, for the warm weather is at our heels."
"Oh! He is well looked after, in any case... the Master will see to it, if necessary" assures Andrew.
"He had a very high temperature when we left him. I don't know how he got it, so..." says James of Zebedee. Matthew replies to him: "Sure everybody gets it! Troubles just come. But it is nothing serious. The Master is not worried about it. If He had envisaged anything grave, He would not have left Johanna's castle."
Jesus in fact is not at all anxious. He is speaking to Marjiam and John, walking ahead of the others and giving alms. He is obviously showing and explaining many things to the boy because I see Him pointing here and there. He is going towards the end of the Temple walls, towards the north-east comer. There are many people making for a place where there is a number of porches in the vicinity of a gate, which I hear being called "the Sheep Gate".
"This is the Probatica, the Bethzatha pond. Now look at the water carefully. See how still it is? In a short while you will see that it stirs, swells, reaching up to that damp mark. Can you see it? It is the angel of the Lord who descends, the water perceives him and venerates him as best it can. He brings to the water the order to cure the man who is ready to jump into it. See the crowd? But the minds of many wander easily and thus they do not see the first motion of the water; or the stronger ones uncharitably push aside the weaker ones. One must never divert one's attention in the presence of the signs of God. We must ensure that our souls are always vigilant, because we never know when God may show Himself or send His Angel. And we must never be selfish, not even for health reasons. Very often these unhappy people lose the benefit of the Angel's visit, because they waste time quarrelling over whose turn it is or who is in greater need" Jesus patiently explains to Marjiam, who looks at Him with attentive gaze, keeping an eye at the same time on the water.
"Can one see the Angel? I would like to."
"Levi, a shepherd, when he was about your age, saw him. You should look carefully as well, and be ready to praise him."
The boy's mind is no longer diverted. He looks alternatively at the water and above it, he hears nothing else, and sees nothing else. Jesus in the meantime looks at the small group of invalids, blind people, cripples, paralytics, who are waiting. The apostles are also watching carefully. The sunshine causes play of light on the water and invades like a king the five porches encircling the pond. "There, there!" trills Marjiam. "The water is rising, it is moving, it shines! How bright! The Angel!" and the boy kneels down.
In fact the water, in its motion in the pond, seems to be raised by a sudden huge wave swelling up to the edge of the pond, and it shines like a mirror in the sun. A dazzling flash for a moment.
A lame man is ready to dive into the water and he comes out, shortly afterwards, with his leg, previously contracted and marred by a large scar, completely cured. The others complain and quarrel with him, stating that after all he was not unable to work whereas they are. And they continue arguing.
Jesus turns round and sees a paralytic lying in his little bed and weeping. He approaches him, bends over and caresses him asking: "Why are you weeping?" "Master, nobody ever thinks of me. I stay here all the time, everybody is cured, except me. I have been lying on my back for thirty-eight years, I spent all I had, my relatives are dead, I am now a burden to a distant relation who carries me here in the morning and takes me back in the evening... But what a burden I am to him! Oh! I wish to die!"
"Do not grieve. You have had so much patience and faith. God will hear you."
"I hope so... but one has fits of depression. You are good. But the others... Those who are cured, in order to thank God, could remain here to assist their poor brothers..."
"They should do that, in fact... Have no ill-feeling. They do not think of it. They are not malevolent. It is the joy of being cured that makes them selfish. Forgive them..."
"You are kind. You would not do that. When the water moves, I try to drag myself over there with my hands. But there is always someone who precedes me, and I cannot stay near the edge, because they would trample on me. And even if I stayed there, who would lower me into the water? If I had seen You before, I would have asked You..."
"Do you really want to be cured? Then, stand up! Take your bed and walk!"
Jesus has stood up to give the order, and while rising He seems to have raised also the paralytic, who stands up on his feet, takes one, two, three steps, almost incredulously, behind Jesus Who is going away, and when he realises that he is really walking, he utters a cry that makes everybody turn round.
"But who are You? In the name of God, tell me! Are You perhaps the Angel of the Lord?"
"I am more than an angel. My name is Piety. Go in peace."
People gather round them. They want to see, to speak, to be cured. But the guards of the Temple, who I think were also watching the pond, arrive, and they disperse the noisy gathering, threatening punishment.
The paralytic picks up his litter: two bars fitted with two pairs of small wheels and a piece of torn cloth nailed on them, and he happily goes away shouting to Jesus: "I will find You. I will not forget Your name or Your face."
Jesus, mingling with the crowd, goes away in the opposite direction, towards the walls. But He has not yet gone through the last porch when He is caught up by an excited group of Jews, of the worst castes, who seem to be blown by a furious wind, and are all urged by the same desire to insult Jesus. They look, they search. They scan people's faces. But they are not successful in finding out who it really is, and Jesus goes away, while they, disappointed as they are, following the information of the guards, rush at the poor but happy man who has just been cured and they reproach him saying:
"Why are you taking this bed away? It is the Sabbath. You are not allowed."
The man looks at them and says: "I know nothing. I know that He Who cured me said to me: “Take your bed and walk.” That's all I know."
"He must certainly be a demon because he ordered you to violate the Sabbath. What was he like? Who was he? A Judaean? A Galilean? A Proselyte?"
"I don't know. He was here. He saw me weeping and He approached me. He spoke to me and He cured me. He went away holding a boy by the hand. I think it was His son, because He is old enough to have a son of that age."
"A boy? Well it is not He!... What did He say His name is? Did you not ask Him? Don't tell lies!"
"He told me that His name is Piety."
"You are a fool! That's not a name!"
The man shrugs his shoulders and goes away.
The others say: "It was certainly He. Hania and Zaccheus, the scribes, saw Him."
"But He has no children!"
"And yet it is He. He was with His disciples."
"Judas was not there. He is the one we know well. The others... might be anybody."
"No. It was them."
And they continue arguing while the porches become crowded once again with sick people...
Jesus enters the Temple again on another side, the western side, which faces the town. The apostles follow Him. Jesus looks around and at last sees him whom He is looking for: Jonathan, who, in turn, was looking for Jesus.
"He is better, Master. His temperature is going down. Your Mother says that She hopes to come by next Sabbath."
"Thank you, Jonathan. You were punctual."
"Not very, as Maximinus of Lazarus kept me. He is looking for You. He has gone to Solomon's porch."
"I will go and meet him. Peace be with you, and take My peace to My Mother and the women disciples, and also to Judas."
And Jesus walks fast towards Solomon's porch, where in fact He finds Maximinus.
"Lazarus heard that You are here. He wishes to see You to tell You something important. Will You come?"
"Of course, I will. And soon. You can tell him to wait for Me during the week."
Maximinus also goes away after a few more words.
"Let us go and pray again, since we came back so far" says Jesus and He directs His steps towards the hall of the Hebrews.
But when He is near it, He meets the cured paralytic, who has gone to thank the Lord. The happy man sees Jesus among the crowd, greets Him joyfully and tells Him what happened at the pond after He left. And he concludes: "Then a man, who was surprised to see me here and completely cured, told me who You are. You are the Messiah. Are You not?"
"I am. But also if you had been cured by the water or by any other power, you would still have the same duty towards God. That is, to make use of your health for good work. You are cured. Go, therefore, and resume your activity in life with good intentions. And do not sin any more, so that God may not have to punish you more severely. Goodbye. Go in peace."
"I am old... I know nothing... But I would like to follow You and serve You. Do You want me?"
"I reject no one. Think about it before coming. And if you make up your mind, come."
"Where? I do not know where You are going..."
"I move about the world. You will find My disciples everywhere and they will send you to Me. May the Lord enlighten you for the best..."
Jesus now goes to His place and prays...
I do not know whether the cured man has gone spontaneously to the Judaeans or the latter, being on the look out, have stopped him to find out whether the man, who was speaking to him, was the one who had cured him. I know that the man speaks to the Judaeans and then goes away, while they come towards the steps that Jesus must come down, to go through the other yards and go out of the Temple. When Jesus arrives they say to Him abruptly, without greeting Him: "So You continue to violate the Sabbath, notwithstanding You have been reprimanded so many times? And You expect to be respected as a messenger of God?"
"Messenger Much more: as Son. Because God is My Father. If you do not wish to respect Me, you may refrain from doing so. But I will not cease accomplishing My mission because of that. God does not cease operating for one moment. Even now My Father is operating, and I operate as well, because a good son does what his father does, and because I have come into the world to operate."
People have approached them to listen to the debate. Among them, there are some who know Jesus, some who have been helped by Him, some who see Him for the first time. Some love Him, some hate Him, many are uncertain. The apostles form a group with the Master. Marjiam is almost frightened and looks as if he is going to weep.
The Judaeans, a mixture of scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees, shout at the top of their voices that they are scandalised: "How dare You! Oh! He says He is the Son of God! What sacrilege! God is He Who is, and has no children! Call Gamaliel! Send for Sadoc! Gather the rabbis that they may hear and confute Him."
"Do not become excited. Call them, and they will tell you, if it is true they know, that God is One and Trine: Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that the Word, that is the Son of Thought, has come, as prophesied, to save Israel and the world from Sin. I am the Word. I am the foretold Messiah. There is no sacrilege, therefore, if I say that the Father is My Father. You are upset because I work miracles and through them I attract crowds and convince them. You accuse Me of being a demon, because I work prodigies. But Beelzebub has been in the world for many centuries, and he truly does not lack devout worshippers... Why, then, does he not do what I do?"
The people whisper: "It is true! Very true! Nobody does what He does."
Jesus continues: "I will tell you: it is because I know what he does not know and I can do what he cannot. If I accomplish deeds of God, it is because I am His Son. One can do by oneself only what one has seen being done by others. I, the Son, can only do what I have seen done by the Father, as I have been One with Him forever, and I am like Him in nature and power. Everything the Father does, I do as well, as I am His Son. Neither Beelzebub nor anybody else can do what I do, because Beelzebub and the others do not know what I know. The Father loves Me, His Son, and He loves Me immensely as I love Him. He has therefore shown Me and still shows Me everything He does, so that I may do what He does, I on the earth, in this time of Grace, He in Heaven, even before Time existed on the earth. And He will show Me greater and greater deeds so that I may accomplish them and you may be amazed. His Thought is inexhaustible in depth. I imitate Him as I am inexhaustible in accomplishing what the Father thinks and, by thinking, wants. You do not yet know what Love creates inexhaustibly. We are Love. And there is not limit for Us, and there is nothing that cannot be applied to the three grades of man: the inferior, the superior, the spiritual grades. In fact as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, I, the Son, can likewise give life to whomsoever I wish, nay, because of the infinite love the Father has for His Son, I can not only give life to the inferior part but also to the superior one, by freeing the minds and hearts of men from mental errors and evil passions, and I can give life to the spiritual part by giving back to the spirit its freedom from sin, because the Father does not judge anybody, having left all judgement to the Son, as the Son is He Who, through His own sacrifice, acquired Mankind to redeem it: and the Father does that according to justice, because it is just that He, Who has purchased with His own money, should be given what He purchased, so that everybody may honour the Son as they already honour the Father. You must know that if you separate the Father from the Son, or the Son from the Father, and you do not remember the Love, you do not love God as He is to be loved, that is, in truth and wisdom, and you commit a sin of heresy, because you worship One only, whilst They are three in an admirable Trinity. Thus, he who does not honour the Son, does not honour the Father either, because the Father, God, does not want only One of the Three Divine Persons to be worshipped, but He wants Them all, as a Whole, to be worshipped. He who does not honour the Son, does not honour the Father either, Who sent Him out of a perfect thought of love. He therefore denies that God can accomplish just deeds. I solemnly tell you that he who listens to My word and believes in Him Who sent Me, will have eternal life and will not be condemned, but will pass from death to life, because to believe in God and to accept My word means to infuse into oneself the Life that does not die. The hour is about to come, nay it has already come for many, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and whoever hears its vivifying sound in the depth of his heart, shall live. Scribe, what are you saying?"
"I am saying that the dead can no longer hear anything, and that You are mad."
"Heaven will persuade you that it is not so, and that your knowledge is nothing as compared to God's. You have humanised supernatural things to such an extent, that you give words only an immediate and earthly meaning. You have taught the Haggadah according to fixed formulae, your formulae, without any effort to understand the allegories in their true meaning, and now, since your souls are tired of being urged by a human mentality, which crushes your spirits, you do not even believe what you teach. And that is the reason why you can no longer fight against occult powers. The death of which I am speaking is not the death of the flesh, but of the soul. People will come who will listen to My word with their ears, will accept it in their hearts, and will practise it. Even if their spirits are dead, they will receive life again, because My Word is Life that will be infused into them. And I can give it to whomsoever I wish, because in Me there is perfect Life. As the Father has in Himself perfect Life, so also the Son had from the Father, in Himself, perfect, complete, eternal, inexhaustible, transfusable Life. And with Life, the Father gave Me power to judge, because the Son of the Father is the Son of Man, and He can and must judge man. And do not be amazed at this first resurrection, the spiritual one, which I work by My Word. You will see stronger ones, which will appear stronger to your dull senses, because I solemnly tell you that there is nothing greater than the invisible but real resurrection of a spirit. The hour will soon come when the voice of the Son of God will penetrate tombs and those who are in them will hear it. And those who did good actions will come out of them to go to the resurrection of eternal Life, and those who did evil deeds will to go the resurrection of eternal damnation. I do not say that I will do that by Myself, by My own will, but by the will of the Father joined to Mine. I speak and judge according to what I hear and My judgement is correct, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him Who sent Me. I am not separated from the Father. I am in Him and He is in Me and I know His Thought and I express it in word and action.
What I testify on My own behalf cannot be accepted by your incredulous spirits, which refuse to see in Me anything but a man like yourselves. But there is another one who testifies on My behalf, whom you say you venerate as a great prophet. I know that his testimony is true. But although you say that you venerate him, you will not accept his testimony, because it differs from your thought, which is hostile to Me. You do not accept the testimony of the just man, of the last Prophet in Israel, because, with regard to what you do not like, you say that he is only a man and can be mistaken. You sent messengers to interrogate John, hoping he would say of Me what you wanted, what you think of Me, what you want to think of Me. But John gave his testimony to the truth and you could not accept it. Because the Prophet says that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, you are saying in the secret of your hearts, as you are afraid of the crowds, that the Prophet is insane, as Christ is. I, however, do not depend on the testimony of man, not even of the most holy one in Israel. I tell you: John was a lamp alight and shining, but only for a short time you wanted to enjoy the light that he gave. When his light was cast on Me, to make the Christ known for what He is, you allowed the lamp to be hidden under a bushel, and before that, you had built up a wall between the lamp and yourselves, in order not to see the Christ of the Lord in its light. I am grateful to John for his testimony, and the Father is grateful as well. And John will receive a great reward for his testimony, shining in Heaven also because of it, the first to shine like a sun, of all men up there, and he will shine like all those, who have been faithful to the Truth and hungry for God, will shine. But I have a greater testimony than John's. The testimony of My works. Because the works the Father has given Me to carry out, those works I accomplish and they testify that the Father has sent Me giving Me all power. And thus, the Father Who sent Me, bears witness to Me Himself. You have never heard His Voice or seen His Face. But I have seen it and I see it, I have heard it and I hear it. His Word finds no home in you, because you do not believe in the One He sent. You study the Scriptures, believing that in their knowledge you have eternal Life. And do you not realise that the very Scriptures testify to Me? Why then do you continue to refuse to come to Me for life? I will tell you: it is because you refuse what is opposed to your inveterate ideas. lack humility. You are incapable of saying: “I made a mistake. He, or this book is right, and I am wrong.” That is what you have done with John, with the Scriptures, and that is what you are doing with the Word Who is speaking to you. You cannot see or understand, because you are enveloped with pride and deafened by your own voices.
Do you think that I am speaking to you because I want to be glorified by you? No, you must bear in mind that I neither seek nor accept glory from men. What I seek and want is your eternal salvation. That is the glory I seek. My glory as Saviour cannot exist unless I have souls that have been saved, and the greater their number, the greater My glory, which is to be given to Me by the souls saved and by the Father, the Most Pure Spirit. But you will not be saved. I know you for what you are. You have no love for God. You are without love. And that is the reason why you do not come to the Love speaking to you, and thus you will not enter the Kingdom of Love. You are not known there. The Father does not know you, because you do not know Me, Who am in the Father. You do not want to know Me. I have come in the name of My Father and you refuse to accept Me, whereas you are willing to accept anyone who comes in his own name, providing he says what is agreeable to you. You say that you are faithful souls. No, you are not. How can you believe, when you beg glory of one another, and you do not seek the glory of Heaven, which proceeds only from God? The glory of Heaven is Truth and not a matter of worldly interests which end here on the earth and attract only the vicious humanity of Adam's degraded children. I will not accuse you before the Father. You can be sure of that. There is already one who will accuse you: Moses in whom you hope. He will reproach you for not believing in him because you do not believe in Me, as he wrote about Me, but you do not acknowledge Me by what he wrote. You do not believe in the words of Moses, the great Prophet in whose name you swear. Thus, how can you believe in My words, in the words of the Son of Man, in whom you have no faith? From a human point of view that is logical. But here we are in a spiritual sphere and your souls are at stake. God scrutinises them in the light of My works and He compares your actions with what I have come to teach you. And God judges you.
I am going away. You will not see Me for a long time. But do not consider that as a triumph of yours. On the contrary it is a punishment. Let us go."
Jesus pushes His way through the crowd. Some of the people remain silent, some express their approval, but only in a whisper for fear of the Pharisees, and they go away.