487. At Nob. The Miracle on the Wind.
6th September 1946.
It is a fairly well kept village, with houses grouped together. The inhabitants are all in their houses, because a strong wind is blowing. But when the disciples go and inform them that Jesus is there, all the women, children and old people whom age had compelled to stay at home, crowd round Jesus, Who had stopped in the main little square. As the village is on an elevation, the air is clear also on a dull day, one's eyes rove towards Jerusalem to the south and towards Ramah to the north (I say Ramah because it is written on a milestone with the indication of the miles).
The people are deeply moved. It is such a new and touching situation for them to have the privilege of giving hospitality to the Lord!... An old man, a real patriarch, says so on behalf of everybody and the women nod assent.
As they are accustomed to being crushed by the pride of priests and Pharisees, they are timid... But Jesus sets them at once at their ease by taking in His arms a little girl, who is taking her first steps, and caressing the old man, saying: "Had you not seen Me before?"
"From far away... passing by... some people at the Temple. But for us who are close to the town, it is even more difficult to have what other people coming from afar have" says the old man.
"It is always so, father. What seems to make things easy, makes them difficult, because everybody relies on the idea that it is easy. But we shall now get to know one another. Go home, father. The autumn winds are blowing, and they are not propitious to patriarchs."
"Oh! I am all alone! Days no longer count for me..."
"His daughter got married far from here and his wife died at the feast of the Dedication" explains a woman.
"John, you must not say that, since you have the Rabbi with you today. You were so anxious to have Him!" a little old woman says to him.
"It's true. But... You are the Messiah, are You not?"
"Yes, father, I am."
"Well, then, what can I desire further, now that I have seen Him and I see fulfilled the promise made to Abraham? An old man, he was then old, sang one day in the Temple, and I was there, because on that day my Leah became purified of her only childbirth, and I was near her, and before us, a Woman, little more than a girl had fulfilled the rite... an old man sang kissing the New-Born of that Girl: “Now, Lord, let your servant go in peace, because my eyes have seen the Saviour”. So You were that New- Born. Oh! how blessed I am! I then prayed the Lord saying: “Let me also die after I have met Him”. Now I know You. You are here. The hand of the Lord is resting on my head. His voice has spoken to me. The Eternal God has heard me. And what shall I say but the words of the old learned and just, Simeon? I say them: “Let, Lord, your servant go in peace, because my eyes have known Your Christ!”"
"Do you not want to wait and see His Kingdom?" asks a woman.
"No, Mary. Feasts are not for old people. And I do not believe what most people say. I remember the words of Simeon... He promised a sword in the heart of that Girl because the world will not love the Saviour completely... He said that fall and resurrection would come to many through Him... and there is Isaiah... and there is David... No. I prefer to die and await His grace in the world to come... And His Kingdom in the world to come..."
"Father, you see better than young people. My Kingdom is the Kingdom of Heaven. But My coming is not ruin for you because you know how to believe in Me. Let us go to your house. I am staying with you" and led by the old man He goes to a little white house in a lane between kitchen gardens, which the strong wind is divesting of their leaves, and He goes in with Peter and the two sons of Alphaeus and John.
The others spread among other houses... to come back after some time to cram the little house, the kitchen garden, the terrace on the roof, and they even climb on the dry-stone wall separating one side of the kitchen garden from the road, on a huge walnut-tree and on a robust apple-tree, heedless of the wind which is becoming stronger and stronger, raising clouds of dust. They want to hear Jesus. And Jesus hesitates for a moment, then He begins to speak standing on the threshold of the kitchen so that His voice spreads both inside and outside the house.
"A mighty king, whose kingdom was very vast, one day wanted to go to visit his subjects. He lived in a sublime palace from which, through servants and messengers, he sent his orders and favours to his subjects, who were thus aware of his existence, of his love for them, of his intentions, but they did not know him personally, neither did they know his voice and language. Briefly, they knew that he was there and was their Lord, but nothing else. And, as is often the case, because of such situation, many of his laws and providential initiatives were distorted, either through evil will or failure to understand them, so that the interests of the subjects and the desires of the king, who wanted them to be happy, suffered damage. He at times was compelled to punish them and suffered thereby more than they did. And punishments did not bring about improvements. He then said: “I will go. I will speak to them directly. I will make myself known. They will love me, they will follow me more diligently and will be happy”. And he departed from his sublime abode to come among his people.
His coming caused great surprise. The people were touched and became excited, some with joy, some with terror, some with anger, some with distrust, some with hatred. The king without ever tiring, began to patiently approach those who loved him as well as those who feared him or hated him. He explained his law, he listened to his subjects, he assisted them and put up with them. And many ended by loving him, by no longer avoiding him because he was too great; some, only a few, stopped mistrusting and hating. They were the best. But many remained what they were as they had no good will. But as the king was very wise he endured also that, taking shelter in the affection of the better ones as a reward for his fatigue.
But what happened? It happened that not all the better ones understood him. He came from so far! His language was so new! His will was so different from that of his subjects! And he was not understood by everybody... Nay some grieved him, and caused him sorrow and damage, or risked doing so, as they misunderstood him. And when they realised that they had grieved and hurt him, they were distressed and ran away from his presence and they never went back to him, as they were afraid of his word.
But the king read their hearts and every day he called them lovingly, he prayed eternal God to grant him to find them again so that he might say to them: “Why are you afraid of me? It is true. Your incomprehension has grieved me, but I saw that there is no malice in it, it is only the consequence of your inability to understand my language which differs so much from yours. What distresses me is your being afraid of me. Which means that you have not understood me only as your king, but also as your friend. Why do you not come? Do come back. What you did not understand through the joy of loving me, has become clear to you through your sorrow for grieving me. Oh! come, do come, my friends. Do not increase your ignorance by staying away from me, your darkness by hiding yourselves, your bitterness by depriving yourselves of my love. See? Both you and I are suffering by being separated. And I more than you. So come and give me joy”.
That is what the king wanted to say. And that is what he says. God also speaks thus to those who sin. And the Saviour speaks thus to those who may have made a mistake. And the King of Israel speaks thus to His subjects. The true King of Israel, He Who from the little kingdom of the Earth wants to take His subjects to the great Kingdom of Heaven. Those who do not follow the King, those who do not learn to understand His words and His thought cannot enter His Kingdom. But how can you learn if you avoid the Master at the first error?
Let no man lose heart if he has sinned and repented, if he has made a mistake and admits his error. Let him come to the Fountain which obliterates errors and grants light and wisdom, which burns with the desire to quench his thirst and which has come from Heaven to give itself to men."
Jesus is silent. Only the wind can be heard howling louder and louder. On the top of the little mountain where Nob is, it rages so furiously that trees creak frighteningly.
The people are compelled to go back to their houses. But when they have dispersed and Jesus goes into the house closing the door, Matthias, followed by Manaen and Timoneus, comes out from behind the little wall and goes into the kitchen garden and knocks at the door.
Jesus Himself comes to open it. "Master, here they are!..." says Matthias pointing at the two who feeling ashamed, have remained at the edge of the kitchen garden and dare not raise their faces to look at Jesus.
"Manaen! Timoneus! My friends!" exclaims Jesus going out into the kitchen garden and closing the door to make those inside the house understand that they are not to come forth, out of curiosity. And He goes towards the two men, with arms stretched out ready to embrace them.
The two look up, touched by the love vibrating in the Master's voice, they see His face and eyes full of love, and their fear vanishes, they rush forward with a cry made hoarse by their tears: "Master!" and they fall at His feet embracing His ankles, kissing His bare feet and wetting them with tears.
"My friends! Not there. Here on My heart. I have waited for you so long! And I have understood so much! Come!..." and He tries to lift them up.
"Forgive us! Oh! forgive us!... Do not say no, Master. We have suffered so much!"
"I know. But if you had come earlier, I would have said to you earlier: “I love you”."
"You love us? Master?! As before?!" Timoneus is the first to ask looking up inquiringly. "More than previously, because now you are cured of all humanity in your love for Me."
"It is true! Oh! my Master!" and Manaen springs to his feet as he can resist no longer. He throws himself on Jesus' chest and Timoneus imitates him...
"See how comfortable it is to be here? Is it not better here than in a poor palace? Where could you have Me more, and more powerful, kind, rich in treasure without end, than having Me as your Saviour, Redeemer, spiritual King and loving Friend?"
"That is true! Very true! Oh! They had seduced us! And we thought we were honouring You and that their idea was a just one!"
"Think no more about it. It is passed. It belongs to the past. Let time, which flies by as fast as the whirlwind now assailing us, carry it far away and disperse it for ever... But let us go in. It is not possible to stay here..."
In fact a real hurricane swoops down on the village from the north. Branches crash to the ground, tiles fly, low walls fall from terraces with a crash. The walnut and the apple-trees twist about as if they wanted to be uprooted.
They go into the house and the four apostles are amazed looking at the disciples' faces still wet with tears in contrast with the smiles on their lips. But they do not say anything.
"I'm afraid there is going to be a disaster" says old John. "Yes. I don't know what those living in huts will do..." says Peter.
The wind is so strong that the three flames of a lamp, lit to give light to the closed room, flicker although the doors are closed.
The noise of the wind, which is growing stronger and stronger and strikes the house with dust and grains of rubble, which sound like small hailstones, mingles with the cries of women, who can be heard closer and closer. They are frightened wives and anguished mothers: "Our husbands! Our children! They are on the way. We are frightened. The wall of a deserted house has collapsed... Lord! Jesus! Mercy!"
Jesus stands up, with some difficulty He opens the door, against which the wind blows with all its violence. Some women, bent to resist the wind - a real tornado under a frightening sky - are moaning with their arms stretched out.
"Come in. Be not afraid!" says Jesus. And He looks at the sky and at the trees on the point of crashing.
"Come back in, Jesus! Do You not see how branches are breaking off and rooftiles are falling? It is not wise to stay outside" shouts Judas of Alphaeus.
"Poor olive-trees! These are hailstones. Where they fall, it's the end of the harvest" states Peter.
Jesus does not go back in. On the contrary, He goes right outside where the wind wrings his clothes and ruffles His hair. He stretches out His arms, prays and then orders: "That's enough! I want it!" and He goes back into the house.
The wind howls for the last time then suddenly drops. The silence after so much noise is impressive. It is such that amazed faces look out from houses. The signs of the tornado are there: leaves, broken branches, shreds of curtains. But everything is quiet. The vault of heaven replies to the Earth, which is no longer upset, by dissipating the clouds, which from dark become clear and spread out without causing any harm, pouring a drizzle which purifies the air of so much dust.
"How did it stop like that?"
"It looked like the end of the world and now it is clearing up?" Voices ask from house to house.
The women who had rushed towards Jesus, come out hurriedly. "The Lord! The Lord is with us! He worked the miracle! He stopped the wind! He dispersed the clouds! Hosanna! Hosanna! Praise to the Son of David. Peace! Blessings! Christ is with us! The Blessed One is with us! The Holy One! The Holy One! The Holy One! The Messiah is with us! Hallelujah!"
The village pours out all its usual inhabitants and the occasional ones, that is, the apostles and disciples, who all rush to the little house where Jesus is staying. Everybody wants to kiss, touch and exalt Him.
"Praise the Most High Lord. He is the Master of winds and waters. If He listened to His Son, He did so to reward the faith and love you had for Him."
And He would like to dismiss them. But who can calm a village wild with joy and excited because of an obvious miracle? Particularly if the village is full of women? Jesus' efforts are useless. He smiles patiently while the old man who gave Him hospitality washes His left hand with tears and kisses it.
Here are the first men who have come back from Jerusalem: they are panting and frightened. They are afraid of I do not know what misfortune. They see the people rejoicing. "What is the matter? What happened? But did you not have a storm here? From the mountain we could see the town disappear under clouds of dust. We thought it had collapsed. Instead everything is in order here!"
"The Lord! The Lord! He came in time to save us from ruin. Only the cursed house has collapsed, some tiles and a few branches. And what about you? What happened in Jerusalem?"
Questions and answers are exchanged. But the men elbow their way towards the Saviour to venerate Him. Only later they explain that everybody in town was afraid because of the impending storm and people ran away from the huts into houses and the owners of olive-groves were already grieving for the loss of the harvest... when the wind suddenly dropped, the sky cleared up... with little rain... and the whole town was amazed. And as imagination becomes immediately lively in certain cases, men relate that while people were running away, many who had been in the Temple on the previous days, seeing that the hill of Moriah was hit the most by the gusts, so much so that the benches of the moneychangers had been turned over and the house of the Pontiff had been damaged, said that it was a punishment from God for the insults to His Messiah. And so on... The more people arrive, the more the story is embellished. It almost becomes more apocalyptical than the relation of Good Friday.