336. The Crippled Woman of Korazim.
21st November 1945.
Jesus is in the synagogue in Korazim which is slowly becoming crowded with people. The elders of the town must have insisted that Jesus should speak there on this Sabbath. I gather that by their arguing and by Jesus' replies.
"We are not more arrogant than Judaeans or the people of the Decapolis" they say "and yet You go there several times."
"I do the same here. I have taught you both with words and works, and with silence and action."
"But if we are duller than others, You should insist all the more..."
"Of course it is all right! We allow You to use our synagogue as a place where You can teach, because we think that it is right to do so. Accept, therefore, our invitation and speak."
Jesus opens His arms, beckoning the people present to be silent, and He begins His speech giving a slow emphatic recitation in the tone of a psalm: "“Araunah replied to David: 'Let the lord my king take and offer as he likes. Here are the oxen for the holocaust, the threshing-sled and the oxen's yoke for the wood; Araunah, O king, gives all this to the king'. And he added: 'May the Lord your God accept your offering'. But the king replied and said: 'It shall not be done as you wish. No. I will pay you in money, as I will not offer the Lord my God holocausts that cost me nothing.'”"
Jesus lowers His eyes, because He was speaking with His face turned towards the ceiling, and He stares at the head of the synagogue and the four elders who were with Him and asks: "Have you understood the meaning?"
"That is the second book of the Kings, when the holy king bought the threshing' floor of Araunah... But we do not understand why You recited it. There is no pestilence here and no sacrifice to be offered. You are not a king... We mean: not yet."
"I solemnly tell you that your minds are slow in understanding symbols and your faith is uncertain. If it were certain, you would see that I am already King, as I said, and if your understanding were quick, you would realise that there is a plague here that is more serious than the one that worried David. You are afflicted by the plague of unbelief, which causes you to perish."
"Well! If we are dull and incredulous, give us intelligence and faith and explain to us what You meant."
"I say: I do not offer forced holocausts to God, those which are offered for mean interests. I do not agree to speak, if that is granted only to Him Who has come to speak. It is My right and I assert it. Out in the sun or within closed walls, upon the mountains or down in valleys, on the seaside or sitting on the banks of the Jordan, everywhere it is My right and My duty to teach and to buy through My work the only holocausts that are pleasing to God: converted hearts made faithful by My Word. Here, you people of Korazim, have granted the Word to speak, not out of respect and faith, but because there is in your hearts a voice that torments you like a woodworm gnawing at a piece of wood: “This chilly punishment is due, to the harshness of our hearts.” And you want to make amends, for your purses, not for your souls. Oh! Pagan obstinate Korazim! But not everyone in Korazim is such, and I will speak to those who are not such, by means of a parable.
Listen. A silly rich man took a lump of material as fair as the finest honey to a craftsman and told him to make an ornate amphora with it.
“This material is not good to work at” said the craftsman to the rich man. “See? It is soft and resilient. How can I carve it and shape it?”
“What? It is not good? It is a valuable resin and a friend of mine has a small amphora made with it and his wine acquires an exquisite taste in it. I paid for it as dear as gold, to have a larger amphora and thus mortify my friend, who boasts of his. Make it at once. Or I will tell everyone that you are a poor craftsman.” “But your friend's amphora must be of clear alabaster.”
“No. It is made with this material.”
“It is perhaps made of fine amber.”
“No. It is the same matter as this.”
“Let us suppose that it is made of this matter, but it must have been made solid and hard by age or by mixing it with other solidifying ingredients. Ask him, then come and let me know how it was done.”
“No. He sold me this himself and he assured me that it is to be used as it is.”
“In that case he cheated you to punish you for envying his beautiful amphora.”
“Watch what you say! Do the work or I will take your shop from you to punish you, in any case everything you possess is not worth what I paid for this wonderful resin.”
The desolate craftsman began to work. He kneaded... But the paste stuck to his hands. He tried to solidify part of it with mastic and powders... But the resin lost its golden transparency. He put it close to his blast-furnace hoping that the heat would harden It, but clasping his brow he had to take it away, because it liquefied. He had frozen snow brought from Mount Hermon and he immersed the resin into it... It hardened and was beautiful. But he could not mould it. “I will carve it with a chisel” he said. But at the first stroke with the chisel the resin broke into pieces.
The desperate craftsman decided to make a last trial, although he was already convinced that it was impossible to work on the material. He gathered all the pieces together and liquefied them in the heat of the furnace, he then froze them, but not too much, with snow and he tried to work with chisel and broad knife on the softish mass. It molded! But as soon as he removed chisel and broad knife it resumed its previous shape, just like dough rising in the kneading trough. The man gave up. And to avoid being retaliated to and ruined by the rich man, during the night he loaded wife, children, furnishings and working tools on a cart and fled beyond the border, after leaving in the middle of his workshop, now completely empty, the fair mass of resin with a note on top of it with the words: “It cannot be worked.”
I have been sent to shape hearts according to Truth and Salvation. I have had in My hands hearts made of iron, lead, tin, alabaster, marble, silver, gold, jasper, gem. Hearts that were hard, wild, too tender, inconstant, hearts hardened by sorrows, precious hearts, hearts of all kinds. I worked at every one of them. And I molded many according to the desire of Him Who sent Me. Some hurt Me while I was working at them, some preferred to break into pieces rather than be completed. But they will always have a recollection of Me, even if it may be a hateful one.
It is not possible to work on you. Nothing is of any avail with you: warm love, patience in teaching you, severe reproaches, chisel work. As soon as I move My hands away from you, you become again what you were. There is only one thing you should do to change: to abandon yourselves entirely to Me. But you do not do that. And you never will do it. The desolate Workman leaves you to your destiny. But, as it is fair, He does not abandon everyone in the same way. In His desolation He can still choose those who deserve His love and He comforts and blesses them. Woman, come here!" He says pointing to a woman who is near a wall and is so bent that she looks like a question mark.
The people look where Jesus is pointing, but they cannot see the woman, neither can she see Jesus and His hand from her position. Several people say to her: "Go, Martha! He is calling you." And the poor woman plods along with her walking stick, with her head just reaching to the top of it.
She is now before Jesus, Who says to her: "I will give you a souvenir of My passing here and a reward for your silent humble faith. Be cured of your infirmity" He shouts finally, laying His hands on her shoulders.
And the woman stands up at once, as straight as a palm-tree, and raising her arms she cries: "Hosanna! He has cured me! He has seen His faithful servant and has helped her. Praise be to the Savior and King of Israel! Hosanna to the Son of David!"
The crowd sing their hosannas with the woman, who is now on her knees at Jesus' feet, kissing the hem of His tunic, while He says to her: "Go in peace and persevere in your Faith."
The head of the synagogue, who obviously still resents the words spoken by Jesus before the parable, wants to repay reproaches with poison and shouts angrily, while the crowds open to let the cured woman pass: "There are six days to work, six days to ask and to give. So come during those six days, both to ask and to give. Come and be cured during those days, without infringing the Sabbath, you sinners and misbelievers, corrupted and corrupters of the Law!" and he tries to push everybody out of the synagogue, as if he were driving profanation out of the place of prayer.
But Jesus, Who sees that he is being helped by the four elders seen previously and by others scattered amongst the crowd, who appear to be the most scandalized and... tormented by Jesus’ crime, with His arms folded on His chest, looks at him in an imposing severe attitude and shouts: "Hypocrites! Which of you on this day has not untied his ox or his donkey from the manger and taken it out for watering? And who has not taken a sheaf of grass to his sheep and milked their full udders? If you have six days to do so, why have you done it also today, just for a little milk, or for fear that your ox or your donkey might die of thirst and you might lose it? And should I not have freed this woman from her chains after Satan had held her bound for eighteen years, only because this is the Sabbath? Go. I was able to relieve her from a misfortune that she did not want. But I will never be able to relieve you from yours, because you want them, O enemies of Wisdom and Truth!"
The good people, among the many malicious ones in Korazim, approve and agree, while the others, livid with rage, run away, deserting the livid synagogue leader.
Jesus also leaves him and goes out of the synagogue, surrounded by good people who go with Him as far as the countryside: where He blesses them for the last time. He then takes the main road with His cousins, Peter and Thomas...