427. Going about the Plain of Esdraelon.
6th May 1946.
It must have continued to rain all the previous day and during the night, because the ground is very damp and the roads are becoming muddy. But to compensate for this the atmosphere is clear, free from dust at all levels. And the sky smiles up there, and looks as fresh and clear after the storm as if it were springtime, and the earth also smiles, dewy, fresh, clean, with a reminiscence of spring in the serene fresh dawn. And the last drops of rain, held by the entangled foliage or hanging from vine-tendrils shine like diamonds in the sun, while fruits washed by the heavy rain display the hues of their skins, the pastel shades of which are becoming day by day the perfect hues of full maturity. Olives and grapes, still hard and unripe, mingle with the green foliage, but each little olive has a tiny drop hanging from its base, and the compact bunches of grapes are like a network of tiny drops hanging from the stalks of the grapes.
"It is pleasant to walk today!" say Peter trampling joyfully on the ground which is not dusty, does not scorch and is not slimy either.
"You seem to breathe purity. But look at the hue of the sky!" Judas Thaddeus replies to him.
"And those apples? That bunch over there, all around that branch. I do not know how it can hold the weight and come out of the mass of fruits with a cluster of leaves? How many colours! The green of the hidden ones is shading into yellow, the others are turning to red, and the two which are more exposed are completely red where the sun shines. They look as if they were covered with sealing wax!" says the Zealot.
And they walk on happily contemplating the beauties of creation until Thaddeus, immediately imitated by Thomas and the others, intones a psalm celebrating the creative glory of God.
Jesus smiles upon hearing them sing so happily and He joins in the chorus with His beautiful voice. But He cannot finish because the Iscariot, while the others continue to sing, approaches Him and says: "Master, while they are busy and inattentive singing, tell me: how did the trip to Caesarea go and what did You do? You have not told me yet... And this is the first moment that we are alone and can speak about it. At first there were our companions and the disciples and the peasants who welcomed us, then our companions and the disciples, now that the disciples have gone ahead of us... I have never been able to ask You..."
"You are greatly interested... But at Caesarea I did not do what I will do in Johanan's estate. I spoke of the Law and of the Kingdom of Heaven."
"To the citizens. Near the markets."
"Ah! Not to the Romans?! Did You not see them?"
"How is it possible to be at Caesarea, the residence of the Proconsul, and not see Romans?"
"I know. But I say... Well... You did not speak to them personally?"
"I repeat: you are greatly interested!"
"No, Master. Simple curiosity."
"Well. I did speak to the Roman ladies."
"To Claudia also? What did she say to You?"
"Nothing, because Claudia did not come. Nay, she made Me understand that she does not wish anyone to know that she is in touch with us."
Jesus lays much stress on the sentence and diligently watches Judas who, although an impudent fellow, changes colour, blushes lightly and then blanches. But he soon collects himself and says: "She does not want? She no longer esteems You? She is mad."
"No, she is not mad, She has a well-balanced mind. She can tell and distinguish her duty as a Roman lady from her duty towards herself. And if she procures light and breath for herself, for her soul, by coming towards Light and Purity, as she is a creature who instinctively seeks the Truth and will not rest in the falsehood of paganism, at the same time she does not want to be detrimental to her Fatherland, not even in theory, as she might be by making people think that she sides with a possible competitor of Rome..."
"Oh! but... You are King of the spirit!..."
"But you apostles, although you know that, cannot convince yourselves that it is true. Can you deny that?"
Judas blushes again and then grows pale, he cannot lie and says: "No! But it is our excessive love that..."
"Even more so who does not know Me, that is Rome, can mistrust Me as a competitor. Claudia is acting righteously both towards God and her Fatherland, by honouring Me as king and master of the spirit, if not as God, and by being loyal to her Fatherland. And I admire loyal, just, non-obstinate spirits. And I would like My apostles to deserve the praise which I give the heathen woman."
Judas does not know what to say. He is about to part from the Master. But curiosity goads him again. Rather than curiosity it is the desire to find out how much the Master knows... and he asks: "Did they ask after me?"
"Neither after you nor any other apostle."
"What did you speak about, then?"
"Of chaste life. Of their poet Virgil. You can see that the subject was of no interest to Peter, John or anybody else."
"But what had that got to do with it? A useless conversation..."
"No. It helped Me to make them consider that a chaste man has a bright intellect and an honest heart. Very interesting for heathen ladies... and not only for them."
"You are right... I will not keep You further, Master" and he almost runs away to join those who have finished singing and are waiting for the two left behind... Jesus joins them more slowly and He says: "Let us take that path in the wood. We will shorten the road and will be sheltered from the sun which is already becoming strong. We will also be able to stop in the thick of the wood and eat in peace."
And they do so going towards north-west, towards Johanan's estate, because I can hear them talk about the peasants of that Pharisee...
Jesus says: "And you will put here the vision of 16th June 1944: Jesus, the fallen nest and the Pharisee."