The sun, although about to set, blazes down unto the grey- green dome of the thick olive trees laden with small well- shaped fruit but only penetrates the tangle of branches enough to provide a few tiny eyelets of light whereas the main road, on the other hand, embedded between two banks, is a dusty blazing dazzling ribbon.
Alone and walking fast among the olive trees, Jesus smiles to Himself…He smiles even more happily when He reaches a cliff….Nazareth….its panorama flickering in the heat of the blazing sun…and Jesus begins to descend and quickens His step.
Now on the silent, deserted road, He has protected His head with His mantle and, no longer minding the sun, is walking so fast that the mantle is blowing at His sides and behind Him so that He seems to be flying.
Now and again, the voice of a child or of a woman from inside a house or a kitchen garden reaches Jesus where He is walking in the shady spots provided by garden trees whose branches extend into the road. He turns into a half shaded road where there are women gathered around a cool well and they all salute Him, welcoming Him in shrill voices.
‘Peace to you all… But please be silent. I want to give My Mother a surprise.‘
‘Her sister-in-law has just gone away with a pitcher of cool water. But she is coming back. They are left without any water. The spring is either dry or the water is absorbed by the parched land before reaching Your garden. We don’t know. That’s what Mary of Alphaeus was saying. There she is… she is coming.‘
Not having seen Jesus yet, the mother of Judas and James, with an amphora on her head and another in her hand, is shouting; ‘I’ll be quicker this way. Mary is very sad, because Her flowers are dying of thirst. They are the ones planted by Joseph and Jesus and it breaks Her heart to see them withering.‘
‘But now that She sees Me… ‘ says Jesus appearing from behind the group of women.
‘Oh! My Jesus! Blessed You are! I’ll go and tell…‘
‘No. I will go. Give Me the amphoras.‘
‘The door is half shut. Mary is in the garden. Oh! How happy She will be! She was speaking of You also this morning. But why come in this heat! You are all perspiration! Are You alone?‘
‘No. With friends. But I came ahead of them to see My Mother first. And Judas?‘
‘He is at Capernaum. He often goes there.‘ says Mary. And she smiles as she dries Jesus’ wet face with her veil.
The pitchers now ready, Jesus takes two, tying one at each end of His belt which He throws across His shoulder and then takes a third one in His hand. Then He walks away, turns round a corner, reaches the house, pushes the door, enters the little room that seems dark in comparison with the bright sunshine outside. Slowly, He lifts the curtain at the garden door and He watches.
Mary is standing near a rose-bush with Her back to the house, pitying the parched plant. Jesus lays the pitcher on the floor and the copper tinkles against a stone. ‘Are you here already, Mary?‘ says His Mother without turning round.
‘Come, come, look at this rose! And these poor lilies. They will all die if we do not assist them. Bring also some small canes to hold up this falling stalk.‘
‘I will bring You everything, Mother.‘
Mary springs round and for a moment, She remains with Her eyes wide open then with a cry She runs with outstretched arms towards Her Son, Who has already opened His arms and is waiting for Her with the most loving smile.
‘Oh! My Son!‘
Their embrace is a long and loving one and Mary is so happy that She does not feel how hot Jesus is. But then She notices it: ‘Why, Son, did You come at this time of the day? You are purple red and perspiring like a sodden sponge. Come inside. That I may dry and refresh You. I will bring You a fresh tunic and clean sandals. My Son! My Son! Why go about in this heat! The plants are dying because of the heat and You, My Flower, are going about.‘
‘It was to come to You as soon as possible, Mother.‘
‘Oh! My dear! Are You thirsty? You must be. I will now prepare…‘
‘Yes, I am thirsty for Your kisses, Mother. And for Your caresses. Let Me stay like this, with My head on Your shoulder, as when I was a little boy… Oh! Mother! How I miss You!‘
‘Tell Me to come, Son, and I will. What did You lack because of My absence? The food You like? Clean clothes? A well-made bed? Oh! My Joy, tell Me what You lacked. Your servant, My Lord, will endeavour to provide.‘
‘Nothing, but You…‘
Hand in hand, Mother and Son go into the house. Jesus sits on the chest near the wall, embraces Mary Who is in front of Him, resting His head on Her heart and kissing Her now and again. Now He stares at Her: ‘Let Me look at You to My heart’s content, holy Mother of Mine.‘
‘Your tunic first. It is not good for You to remain so damp. Come. ‘ Jesus obeys. When He comes back wearing a fresh looking tunic, they resume their sweet conversation.
‘I have come with My disciples and friends but I left them in Melcha’s wood. They will come tomorrow at dawn. I… I could not wait any longer. My Mother!… ‘ and He kisses Her hands. ‘Mary of Alphaeus has gone away to leave us alone. She also understood how anxious I was to be with You. Tomorrow…tomorrow You will attend to My friends and I to the Nazarenes. But this evening You are My Friend and I am Yours. I brought You… Oh! Mother: I found the shepherds of Bethlehem. And I brought You two of them: they are orphans and You are the Mother of all men. And more so of orphans. And I brought You also one who needs You to control himself. And another one who is a just man and has suffered so much. And then John… And I brought You the recollections of Elias, Isaac, Tobias, now called Matthew, John and Simeon. Jonah is the most unhappy of them all. I will take You to him… I promised him. I will continue to look for the others. Samuel and Joseph are resting in the peace of God.‘
‘Were You at Bethlehem?‘
‘Yes, Mother. I took there the disciples who were with Me. And I brought You these little flowers, that were growing near the stones of the threshold.‘
‘Oh! ‘ Mary takes the withered stems and kisses them. ‘And what about Anne?‘
‘She died in Herod’s slaughter.‘
‘Oh! Poor woman! She was so fond of You!‘
‘The Bethlehemites suffered a lot. But they have not been fair to the shepherds. But they suffered a lot…‘
‘But they were good to You then!‘
‘Yes. And that is why they are to be pitied. Satan is jealous of their past kindness and urges them to evil things. I was also at Hebron. The shepherds, persecuted…‘
‘Oh! To that extent?!‘
‘Yes, they were helped by Zacharias, who got them jobs and food, even if their masters were hard people. But they are just souls and they turned their persecutions and wounds into merits of true holiness. I gathered them together. I cured Isaac… and I gave My name to a little boy… At Juttah, where Isaac was languishing and where he came back to life again, there is now an innocent group, called Mary, Joseph and Jesai…‘
‘Oh! Your Name!‘
‘And Yours and the name of the Just One. And at Kerioth, the fatherland of a disciple, a faithful Israelite died resting on My heart. Out of joy, having found Me… And then… Ah! how many things I have to tell You, My perfect Friend, sweet Mother! But first of all, I beg You, I ask You to have so much mercy on those who will be coming tomorrow. Listen: they love Me… but they are not perfect. You, Teacher of virtue… oh! Mother, help Me to make them good… I would like to save them all… ‘ Jesus has slipped at Mary’s feet. She now appears in Her Motherly majesty.
‘My Son! What do You want Your poor Mother to do better than You do?‘
‘To sanctify them… Your virtue sanctifies. I brought them here deliberately, Mother… one day I will say to You: “Come”, because it will then be urgent to sanctify souls, that I may find them willing to be redeemed. And I will not be able by Myself… Your silence will be as eloquent as My words. Your purity will assist My power. Your presence will keep Satan away… and Your Son, Mother, will feel stronger knowing that You are near Him. You will come, will you not, My sweet Mother?‘
‘Jesus! Dear Son! I have a feeling that You are not happy… What is the matter, Creature of My heart? Was the world hostile to You? No? It is a relief to believe it… but… Oh! Yes. I will come. Wherever You wish, as and when You wish. Even now, in this blazing sunshine, or by night, in cold or wet weather. You want Me? Here I am.‘
‘No. Not now. But one day… How sweet is our home. And Your caresses! Let Me sleep thus, with My head on Your knees. I am so tired! I am still Your little Son… ‘ And Jesus really falls asleep, tired and exhausted, sitting on the mat, His head on the lap of His Mother, Who happily caresses His hair.