393. Farewell to Kerioth. Parable of the Two Wills.
27th February 1946.
Jesus is speaking in the synagogue of Kerioth, which is incredibly crowded. He is replying to several people who have asked Him private advice, and is speaking to each separately. When He has satisfied them all, He begins to speak in a loud voice.
"People of Kerioth, listen to My farewell parable. We shall call it: “The Two Wills”.
A perfect father had two sons. He loved both with the same wise love, he directed both towards the right ways. Although there was no difference in the way he loved and taught them, there was a remarkable difference in the two sons. One, the first-born, was humble, obedient; he did his father's will without discussion, he was always joyful and happy in his work. The other one, although younger, was often unhappy, he argued with his father and within himself. He always pondered, with deep human meditation, on the advice and orders that he received. And instead of carrying them out exactly as they were given, he took the liberty of modifying them completely or partially, as if they had been imparted by a fool. His elder brother used to say to him: “Don't do that. You are grieving our father!” But he would reply: “You are foolish. A great big strapping man such as you are, first-born over and above, and grown up, oh! I would not remain in the place where father put you. I would like to do more. I would impose myself on the servants, so that they might realise that I am the master. Owing to your perpetual meekness you look like a servant yourself. Can't you see that no one pays attention to you, notwithstanding your primogeniture? Some even laugh at you... The second-born son, tempted by Satan, or rather, a disciple of Satan, whose advice he carried out diligently, tempted his brother. But the latter, faithful to the Lord and respecting His Law, was faithful also to his father, whom he honoured with his perfect behaviour.
Years went by and the younger brother, annoyed at not being in a position to rule, after imploring his father several times saying: “Authorise me to act in your name, for your own honour, instead of letting that fool do so, as he is meeker than a lamb”, and after trying to urge his brother to do more than the father ordered, to impose himself on the servants, on fellow-citizens and neighbours, said to himself: “Oh! that's enough! Our good name is at stake! Since no one wants to do it, I will do it myself “. And he began to do things his own way, yielding to pride and falsehood and disobeying without the slightest hesitation. His father used to say to him: “Son, listen to your brother. He knows what he does.” Or he would say: “I have been told that you have done such a thing. Is it true?” And the younger son, shrugging his shoulders would reply to his father's questions: “He knows, he knows! He is too shy and irresolute. He misses the opportunity to take command.” Or he would reply: “I did not do such a thing.” His father used to say to him: “Don't seek help from this one or that one. Who do you think can help more than we can, to give fame to our name? False friends influence you so that later they may laugh at you behind your back.” But the second-born son replied: “Are you jealous because I am the one with spirit of enterprise? In any case I know that I am doing the right thing.” Time passed. The elder brother was growing more and more in justice, whilst the younger one fostered evil passions. At last the father said: “It's time to put an end to this. You either comply with what I order, or you will lose my love.” And the rebel went and told his false friends. “Are you worried about that? Don't! There is a way to make it impossible for a father to prefer one son to another. Hand him over to us and we will see to it. You will be free from material blame and your property will flourish because, after removing him who is too good, you will be able to make it famous. Do you not know that forcible action, although painful, is better than inertness, which is harmful to property?” they replied. And the younger son, by now sated with wickedness, gave assent to the conspiracy.
Now tell Me. Can the father be blamed for educating his sons in two different ways? Can we say that he was an accomplice? No, we cannot. Why, then, was one son a saint, and the other, wicked? Is the will of man perhaps given in advance in two different manners? No, it is not. It is given in one way only. But man is free to change it, and he who is good makes his will good, and who is wicked makes it wicked.
I exhort you, people of Kerioth − and this is the last time that I exhort you to follow the ways of wisdom − I exhort you to follow only your good will. Almost at the end of My ministry I repeat to you the words that were sung at My birth: “There is peace for men of good will.” Peace! That is, success, victory on the Earth and in Heaven, because God is with those who are willing to obey Him. God does not look so much at the high-sounding deeds that man does on his own initiative, as at the humble, prompt, faithful obedience to the work which He proposes.
I would remind you of two episodes in the history of Israel, which prove that God is not with the man who wishes to act by himself, trampling on the order received.
Let us see the Maccabees. It is written that while Judas Maccabee was going with Jonathan to fight in Gilead and Simon was going to relieve his countrymen in Galilee, Joseph of Zechariah and the people's leader Azariah were ordered to remain in Judaea to guard it. And Judas said to them: “Take care of this people and do not engage the pagans until we return.” But Joseph and Azariah, upon hearing of the great exploits of the Maccabees, wanted to do the same, and said: “Let us make a name for ourselves and go and fight the nations around us.” But they were defeated and routed and “so the people met with a great reverse, because they had not listened to Judas and his brothers, but had relied on their own prowess.” Pride and disobedience.
And what do we read in the Book of the Kings? We read that Saul was reproved a first time and the second he was reproved so much for his disobedience, that David was elected in his place. Because he had disobeyed! Remember! “Does the Lord perhaps want holocausts and victims or does He not prefer people to obey His voice? Obedience is worth more than sacrifices, and to listen is worth more than offering the fat of rams; because rebellion is a sin of sorcery, presumption a crime of idolatry. Now, since you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you as king.”
Remember! When Samuel obediently filled his horn with oil and went to Jesse of Bethlehem, because the Lord had chosen Himself another king there, Jesse went to the banquet with his sons after the sacrifice and his sons were introduced to Samuel. Eliab, handsome, young and tall, was the first one. But the Lord said to Samuel: “Take no notice of his appearance or his height, because I have rejected him. I do not see as man sees. Because man looks at appearances, but the Lord looks at the heart.” And Samuel did not want Eliab as king. Abinadab was then presented to him. But Samuel said: “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” And Jesse presented Shammah to him. But Samuel said: “He is not the chosen one of the Lord either.” And he said the same with regard to all the seven sons of Jesse present at the banquet. And Samuel asked: “Are all your sons here?”
“No” replied Jesse. “There is still one left, the youngest, who is looking after the sheep.”
“Send for him, because we will not sit down to eat until he comes.” And David came. He was a fair-haired boy, of fresh complexion and pleasant bearing. And the Lord said: “Anoint him, for he is the king.” Because, and always bear this in mind, God chooses whoever He wants, and He deprives those who forfeit His favour by depraving His will through pride and disobedience.
I will not come back here again. The Master is about to fulfill His ministry. Afterwards, He will be more than Master. Prepare your souls for that hour, and remember that as My birth was salvation for those who had good will, so My accession will be salvation for those who had good will in following Me, as Master, in My doctrine, and for those who will follow Me in it, also after My accession.
Goodbye men, women and children of Kerioth! Goodbye. Let us look at one another straight in the eyes! Let us make our hearts, yours and Mine, blend in a loving embrace of farewell, and may our love be always alive, also when I shall no longer be among you... The first time I came here, a just man breathed his last in the kiss of his Saviour, in a vision of glory... And now, the last time I have come here, I bless you with love...
Goodbye!... May the Lord grant you faith, hope and charity in perfect measure. May He give you love, love, love. For Himself, for Me, for the good, for the unhappy, for the guilty, for those who are burdened with the weight of a fault which is not theirs...
Remember. Be good. Do not be unjust. Remember that I have always forgiven not only guilty people, but I have embraced the whole of Israel with My love. The whole of Israel, which consists of good and not good people, as in every family there are good and not good members, and it would be unfair to say that a whole family is bad, only because one member is so.
I am going... If anyone still wishes to speak to Me, let him come before evening to the country house of Mary of Simon."
Jesus raises His hand and blesses, and then goes out quickly through the back door followed by His apostles.
People whisper: "He is not coming back any more!", "What did He mean?",
"Tears welled in His eyes when saying goodbye...", "Did you hear? He said that He will be raised!"
"So Judas is right! Of course, later, as king, He will not be among us as now..."
"But I spoke to His brothers. They say that He will not be king, as we imagine. But He will be the King of Redemption as the prophets say. He will be the Messiah, of course!"
"Not at all! The King Redeemer. The man of sorrows."
... In the meantime Jesus is walking fast towards the country.