414. The Beggar on the Road to Jericho.
17th May 1944.
I see Jesus on a very dusty and sunny main road. There is not the smallest patch of shade, there is not a blade of grass. There is dust on the road, there is dust on the waste country bordering on it. There are certainly none of the pleasant hills of Galilee nor of the woody mountains of Judaea, so rich in waters and pastures. The land here is not a desert by its nature, but only because man has made it so by leaving it uncultivated. It is a flat country and I cannot see one hill, not even in the distance. As I am not familiar with Palestine, I cannot say which region it is. It is certainly one which I have never seen in previous visions. On one side of the road there are heaps of crushed stones, perhaps to repair the road, which is in a very bad state. At present one sinks into the dust: when it rains it must become a torrent of mud. I can see no houses, neither near the road nor far away.
Jesus, as usual, is walking a few metres ahead of the apostles, who, hot and tired, follow Him in a group. To protect themselves from the sun, they have pulled their mantles over their heads and they look like a confraternity dressed in many-coloured robes. Jesus, instead, is bare-headed. The sun does not seem to annoy Him. He is wearing a white linen short-sleeved tunic. It is very wide and loose. He is not even wearing His usual cord belt. His clothes are most suitable for this torrid place.
His mantle also must be of sky-blue linen because it is very light and falls loosely over His body, which is thus less enveloped than usual. His shoulders are covered, but His arms are free. I do not know how He has fastened it to keep it thus.
A man is sitting, nay, he is half-lying on one of the heaps of crushed stones. He must be a poor beggar. His garment (so to speak) is a dirty tattered short tunic, which perhaps once was white, but now is the colour of mud. He is wearing two shabby worn-out sandals: two soles with holes, held together with pieces of string. In his hands he has a stick made from the branch of a tree. He has a dirty bandage on his forehead and another dirty rag, stained with blood, on his left leg, between his knee and hip. The poor fellow is emaciated, a heap of bones, dejected, dirty, hairy, uncombed.
Before he invokes Jesus, Jesus goes to him. He approaches the poor wretch and asks him: "Who are you?"
"A poor man begging for bread."
"Along this road?"
"I am going to Jericho."
"The road is a long one and the country is depopulated."
"I know, but the Gentiles who pass here are more likely to give me a piece of bread and a coin, than the Jews from whom I have come."
"Have you come from Judaea?"
"Yes, from Jerusalem. But I had to go a long way round to see some good people in the country, as they always give me something. Townsfolk don't give anything. There is no mercy there."
"You are right. There is no mercy."
"But You have mercy. Are You Judaean?"
"No. I come from Nazareth."
"Once the Nazarenes had a poor reputation. But now we must say that they are better than the people in Judaea. Even in Jerusalem, only the followers of that Nazarene, Who they say is a Prophet, are good. Do You know Him?"
"And do you know Him?"
"No. I went there because, see, my leg is numb and contracted, and I drag myself along with difficulty. I am not fit to work and I am dying of starvation and blows. I was hoping to meet Him, because I was told that He cures whoever He touches. It is true that I do not belong to the chosen people... but they say that He is good to everybody. I was told that He was in Jerusalem for the Feast of Weeks. But I walk slowly... and I was beaten and I was left suffering on the road... When I arrived in Jerusalem, He had left, because they told me that the Jews had ill-treated Him as well."
"And did they maltreat you?"
"They always do. Only the Roman soldiers give me a piece of bread."
"And what do the people in Jerusalem say of that Nazarene?"
"That He is the Son of God, a great Prophet, a Saint, a Just man."
"And what do you think He is?"
"I... I am an idolater. But I think He is the Son of God."
"How can you believe that, if you do not even know Him?"
"I know His works. Only God can be as good and speak words as He does."
"Who told you of those words?"
"Other poor people, people who were cured, children who bring me some bread... Children are good and they know nothing of believers and idolaters."
"But where do you come from?"
"Tell Me. I am like children. Be not afraid. But be sincere."
"I am... a Samaritan. Don't beat me..."
"I never beat anybody. I never despise anyone. I feel sorry for everybody."
"Then... Then You are the Rabbi of Galilee!"
The beggar prostrates himself , from the heap of stones he falls on the dust like a dead body, in front of Jesus.
"Stand up. It is I. Be not afraid. Stand up and look at Me."
The beggar looks up, still on his knees: he is all contracted because of his deformity.
"Give this man some bread and something to drink" says Jesus to the apostles who have just arrived.
It is John who gives bread and water.
"Make him sit down, so that he may eat comfortably. Eat, brother."
The poor man weeps. He does not eat. He looks at Jesus with the eyes of a stray dog, which is caressed and fed, for the first time, by a compassionate person.
"Eat up!" orders Jesus smiling.
The poor fellow eats between one sob and another and tears moisten his bread. But there is also a smile among his tears. He slowly regains confidence.
"Who wounded you here?" asks Jesus touching with His fingers the dirty bandage on the man's forehead.
"A rich Pharisee deliberately ran me over with his cart... I was standing at a cross-roads begging for bread. He drove his horses against me so quickly, that I was not able to move aside. I was on the point of death because of it. I still have a hole in my head, from which putrid matter comes out."
"And who struck you there?"
"I had approached the house of a Sadducee, where there was a banquet, asking for some of the remains, after the dogs had chosen the best ones. He saw me and set the dogs on me. One of them tore my thigh to pieces."
"And what about this large scar that maims your hand?"
"A scribe gave me a blow with a club three years ago. He found out that I was a Samaritan and he struck me breaking my fingers. That is why I cannot work. With my right hand maimed, my leg numbed, how can I earn my living?"
"But why are you leaving Samaria?"
"It's bad to be in need, Master. We are very unhappy and there is not enough bread for everybody. If You helped me..."
"What do you want Me to do for you?"
"To cure me so that I may work."
"Do you think I can?"
"Yes, I do believe it, because You are the Son of God."
"Do you believe that?"
"You, a Samaritan, believe that? Why?"
"I do not know why. I know that I believe in You and in Him Who sent You. Now that You have come, there is no difference in worshipping. It is enough to worship You in order to worship Your Father, the eternal Lord. Where You are, there is the Father."
"Have you heard, My friends? (Jesus addresses His disciples). This man is speaking through the Spirit Who enlightens the truth for him. And I solemnly tell you that he is superior to scribes and Pharisees, to cruel Sadducees, to all those idolaters who falsely call themselves the children of the Law. The Law prescribes to love our neighbour, after God. And they give blows to the neighbour asking for bread, they drive horses and dogs on suppliants, on the neighbour who lowers himself below the dogs of a rich man, they set the very dogs on him, to make him even more unhappy than his diseases do. Disdainful, cruel, hypocrites, they do not want God to be known and loved. If they did want that, they would make Him known through their deeds, as this man said. It is deeds, not practices, which make people see the living God in the hearts of men and lead men to God. And you, Judas, since you reproach Me for being imprudent, tell Me, shall I not reprimand them? To be silent, to feign that I approve of them, would mean approving of their behaviour. No. For the glory of God, Whose Son I am, I cannot allow humble, unhappy, good people to believe that I approve of their sins. I have come to make the Gentiles sons of God. But I cannot do that if they see that the children of the Law - they call themselves so, but they are illegitimate children - practise a paganism more guilty than theirs, because these Jews have been acquainted with the Law of God, and now, just like unclean animals, they spit the regurgitations of their satisfied passions on it. Am I to believe, Judas, that you are like them? You, who reproach Me for the truth I speak? Or must I think that you are worried about your own life? He who follows Me must not be concerned with human worries. I told you, Judas, you are still in time to choose between My way and the way of the Judaeans, whom you approve of. But consider that My way goes to God; the other to God's Enemy. Consider that and make up your mind. But be sincere. And you, My friend, rise and walk. Remove those bandages. Go back home. You are cured because of your faith."
The beggar looks at Him dumbfounded. He dare not stretch out his hand... but he tries. It is uninjured, exactly as his left one. He drops his stick, and pushing his hands on the heap of stones, he rises. He can stand. The paralysis contracting his leg is cured. He moves his leg, bends it... takes one step, two, three. He walks... He looks at Jesus with a cry and tears of joy. He rips off the bandage from his forehead. He touches the back of his head, where the infected hole was. There is nothing. It is all cured. He tears the blood-stained rag off his leg: the skin is intact.
"Master, Master and my God!" he shouts, lifting his arms, and then falling on his knees to kiss Jesus' feet.
"Go home now, and always believe in the Lord."
"And where shall I go, Master and God, but after You, Who are good and holy? Do not reject me, Master..."
"Go to Samaria. And speak of Jesus of Nazareth. The hour of Redemption is close at hand. Be My disciple with your brothers. Go in peace."
Jesus blesses him and they then part. The cured man walks fast northwards, turning round now and again to look.
Jesus, with His apostles, leaves the road and they proceed eastwards through uncultivated fields, taking a little path which cuts across the main road and which widens out only much farther on. It is perhaps the road to Jericho. I do not know.