The Feeding of the Five Thousand
When next morning Jesus and the Apostles returned to the mount upon which He had already taught several times on the Eight Beatitudes, He found the multitude assembled. The other Apostles had arranged the sick in sheltered places. Jesus and the Apostles began to heal and to instruct. Many who in those days had now come for the first time to Capharnaum, knelt in a circle to receive Baptism. The water, which had been brought for that purpose in leathern bottles, was sprinkled over them three at a time.
The Mother of Jesus had come with the other women, and she now helped among the sick women and children. She did not exchange words with Jesus, but returned betimes to Capharnaum.
Jesus taught of the Eight Beatitudes and went as far as the sixth. The instruction on prayer begun at Capharnaum He repeated, and explained some of the petitions of the
Teaching and healing went on till after four o’clock, and all this time the listening crowds had had nothing to eat. They had now followed from the day before, and the scanty provisions they had brought with them were exhausted. Many among them were quite weak and languishing for nourishment. The Apostles, noticing this, approached Jesus with the request that He would close the instruction in order that the people might hunt up lodgings for the night and procure food. Jesus replied: “They need not go away for that. Give them here something to eat!” Philip made answer: “Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?” This he said with some unwillingness, because he thought Jesus was about to lay upon them the fatigue of gathering up from the environs sufficient bread for all that crowd. Jesus answered: “See how many loaves you have!” and went on with His discourse. There was in the crowd a servant, who had been sent by his master with five loaves and two fishes as a present to the Apostles, Andrew told this to Jesus with the words: “But what is that among so many?” Jesus ordered the loaves and fishes to be brought, and when they were laid on the sod before Him, He continued the explanation of the petition for daily bread. Many of the people were fainting, and the children were crying for bread. Then Jesus, in order to try Philip, asked him: “Where shall we buy bread, that these people may eat?” and Philip answered: “Two hundred pennyworth would not be sufficient for all this crowd.” Jesus said: “Let the people be seated, the most famished by fifties, the others in groups of a hundred; and bring Me the baskets of bread that you have at hand.” The disciples set before Him a row of shallow baskets woven of broad strips of bark, such as were used for bread. Then they scattered among the people, whom they arranged in fifties and hundreds all down the terraced mountain, which was clothed with grass beautiful and long. Jesus was above, the people seated below Him on the mountainside.
Near the place upon which Jesus taught was a high, mossy bank, in which were several caves. On it Jesus directed a broad napkin to be spread, upon which were deposited the five loaves and two fishes. The loaves lay one upon the other on the napkin. They were long and narrow, about two inches in thickness. The crust was thin and yellow, and the inside, though not perfectly white, was close and fine. They were marked with stripes to make it more easy to break them or cut them with a knife. The fish were of a good arm’s length. Their heads were somewhat projecting, not like our fish. Cut up, roasted, and ready for eating, they lay upon large leaves. Another man had brought a couple of honeycombs, and they too were laid on the napkin.
When the disciples numbered the people and seated them in fifties and hundreds as Jesus had directed, He cut the five loaves with a bone knife, and the fish, which had been split down lengthwise, He divided into crosspieces. After that He took one of the loaves in His hands, raised it on high and prayed. He did the same with one of the fish. I do not remember whether He did the same with the honey or not. Three of the disciples were at His side. Jesus now blessed the bread, the fish, and the honey, and began to break the cross-sections into pieces, and these again into smaller portions. Every portion immediately increased to the original size of the loaf, and on its surface appeared, as before, the dividing lines. Jesus then broke the individual pieces into portions sufficiently large to satisfy a man, and gave with each a piece of fish. Saturnin, who was at His side, laid the piece of fish upon the portion of bread, and a young disciple of the Baptist, a shepherd’s son, who later on became a Bishop, laid upon each a small quantity of honey. There was no perceptible diminution in the fish, and the honeycomb appeared to increase. Thaddeus laid the portions of bread upon which were the fish and honey in the flat baskets, which were then borne away to those in most need, who sat in the fifties and were served first.
As soon as the empty baskets were brought back, they were exchanged for full ones, and so the work went on for about two hours until all had been fed. They that had a wife and children (and these were separated from the men) found their portion so large that they could abundantly share with them. The people drank of the water that had been conveyed thither in leathern bottles. Most of them used cups formed of bark folded into the shape of a cone, and others had with them hollow gourds.
The whole affair was conducted most expeditiously and with perfect order. The Apostles and disciples were, for the most part, occupied in carrying the baskets here and there and in distributing their contents’. But all were silent and filled with amazement at the sight of such a multiplication. The size of the loaves was about two spans, or eighteen inches in length, and a fifth less in breadth. They were divided by ridges into twenty parts, five in length and four in breadth, so that the substance of everyone of those parts increased fiftyfold, in order to feed five thousand men. The bread was a good three fingers in thickness. The fish were cut in two lengthwise. Jesus divided each half into numerous portions. It was only the two fish all the time, for it was in substance and not in number that they were most wonderfully increased.
When all had satisfied their hunger, Jesus bade the disciples to go around with the baskets and gather up the scraps, that nothing might be lost. They collected twelve baskets full. A great many of the people asked to take some of the pieces home with them as souvenirs. There were no soldiers present this time, though I was accustomed to see many at all the other great instructions. They had been called to Hesebon, where Herod was then sojourning.
When the people arose from their meal, they gathered everywhere in groups, full of wonder and admiration at this miracle of the Lord. From mouth to mouth ran the word: “This man is genuine! He is the Prophet that was to come into the world! He is the Promised One!”
It was now growing dusk, so Jesus bade the disciples go to their barques and cross before Him to Bethsaida; meanwhile He would take leave of the people and then follow. The disciples obeyed. Taking the baskets of bread they went down to their ships, and some of them crossed over to Bethsaida at once. The Apostles and some of the older disciples remained behind a little longer and then departed on Peter’s barque.
Jesus now dismissed the multitude, who were deeply moved. Scarcely had He left the spot upon which He had been teaching when the shout arose: “He has given us bread! He is our King! We will make Him our King!” But Jesus disappeared into the solitude, and there gave Himself up to prayer.
Jesus Walks on the Sea
Peter’s barque, with the Apostles and several of the disciples, was delayed during the night by contrary winds. They rowed vigorously, but were driven to the south of the proper direction. I saw that every two hours little boats with torches were sent out from either bank. They bore belated passengers to the large ships, and served in the darkness to mark their direction. As, like sentinels, they were relieved every two hours, they were here called night watches. I saw these boats changed four times, while Peter’s ship was being driven south of its right course.
Then Jesus walked on the sea in a direction from northeast to southwest. He was shining with light. Rays darted from Him, and one could see His image reversed in the water under His feet. To walk in a direction from Bethsaida-Julias to Tiberias, almost opposite which was Peter’s ship, Jesus had to pass between the two night boats that were rowing out into the sea, one from Capharnaum and the other from the opposite bank. The people in these boats, seeing Him walking, raised a long cry of fear and sounded a horn, for they took Him for a phantom.• The Apostles on Peter’s ship which, in order to find the true course, was guiding itself by the light from one of those boats, glanced in the direction of the sound, and saw Him coming toward them. He appeared to be gliding along more rapidly than in ordinary walking, and wherever He approached, the sea became calm. But a fog rested upon the water, so that He could be seen only at a certain distance. Although they had once before seen Him thus walking, still the unusual and specter-like sight filled them with terror, and they uttered great cry.
But suddenly they recalled the circumstance of Jesus’ first walking on the water, and Peter, once more desirous of showing his faith, cried out again in his ardor: “Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come to Thee!” Jesus replied: “Come!” This time Peter ran a greater distance toward Jesus, but his faith did not yet suffice. He was already close to Him when he again thought of his danger, and on the instant began to sink. He stretched out his hand and cried: “Lord, save me!” He did not, however, sink to so great a depth as the first time. Jesus again addressed to him the words: “O thou of little faith, why dost thou doubt?” When Jesus mounted the ship, all ran to cast themselves at His feet, crying: “Truly, Thou art the Son of God!” Jesus reproved them for their fear and little faith, gave them a severe reprimand, and then instructed them upon the He ordered them to steer more to the south. They now had a favorable wind and made the journey quickly, taking meanwhile a little rest in the cabin under the rower’s stand around the mast. The storm on this occasion was not so violent as that of the preceding, but they had got into the current of the lake, which in the middle was very strong, and they could not get out of it.
Jesus allowed Peter to come to Him on the water in order to humble him, for He knew very well that he was going to sink. Peter was very fiery and strong in believing, and in his zeal he wanted to give a testimony of his faith to Jesus and the disciples. By his sinking, he was preserved from pride. The others had not sufficient confidence to wish to follow his example and, while wondering at Peter’s faith, they could see that although it excelled their own it was not yet what it ought to be.
At sunrise Peter’s ship put to on the east side of the lake at a little hamlet consisting of only a couple of rows of houses between Magdala and Dalmanutha. The hamlet belonged to the latter. It is this place that is meant when the Gospel says, “into the parts of Dalmanutha.”
As soon as they perceived the approach of the ship, the inhabitants began to get all their sick ready, and they came to meet Jesus on the shore. He and the disciples healed in the streets. After that He went to a hill at a short distance beyond Dalmanutha, where all the inhabitants, Jews and pagans, assembled around Him. There He taught upon the Eight Beatitudes and the He also healed the sick whom they had brought with them.
This little place was near the ferry, and in it the toll was paid. The people in general were occupied with the transportation of iron from the iron city of Ephron unto Basan. This was the point from which they shipped iron to all the other seaports of Galilee. From the mountains they could see over into Ephron.
From this place Jesus embarked with the Apostles for Tarichaea, which was situated from three to four hours south of Tiberias. The city was built on a height, a quarter of an hour from the seashore, down to which, however, were houses scattered here and there. The shore from this point to the efflux of the Jordan was bordered with a wall strong and black, upon which a road extended. It was a recently built city, very beautiful and of pagan architecture, with colonnades in front of the houses. In the marketplace was a beautiful fountain protected by a pillared roof.
Jesus went at once to this fountain and thither flocked the people with their sick, whom He healed. Numbers of women stood veiled with their children at some distance behind the men. Pharisees and Sadducees were standing around Jesus, among them some Herodians, while He discoursed upon the Eight Beatitudes and the Pharisees were not slow in bringing forward their accusations which, as ever, turned upon the same points, namely, that He frequented the society of publicans and sinners, that He attracted after Him women of bad repute, that His disciples did not wash their hands before meals, that He cured upon the Sabbath, etc. Jesus cut them short, and called the children to Him. After curing, instructing, and blessing them, He presented them to the Pharisees with the words: “Ye must become like unto these.”
Tarichaea was less elevated than Tiberias. Quantities of fish were here salted and dried. Before entering the city, the traveler met large wooden frames upon which the fish lay drying.
The country in these parts was uncommonly fertile. The heights around the city were covered with terraces full of vineyards and every variety of fruit trees. The whole region as far as Thabor and the Baths of Bethulia was, beyond all conception, blooming, teeming with abundance. It was most generally known as the Land of Genesareth.
Toward evening Jesus left Tarichaea and sailed with the disciples across the lake in a northeasterly direction. He taught while on the ship, but only of the and this time of the fourth petition. When alone with them, Jesus always prepared His disciples for His public, more elevated teachings.
Jesus Teaches of the Bread of Life
Jesus spent the night on the ship, which was anchored on the shore between Matthew’s custom office and Bethsaida-Julias. Next morning He discoursed upon the before about a hundred people, and toward midday sailed with the disciples to the region of Capharnaum, where they landed unnoticed and went at once to Peter’s. Here Jesus met Lazarus, who had come hither with Veronica’s son and some people from Hebron.
When Jesus ascended the height behind Peter’s house, over which ran the shortest route from Capharnaum to Bethsaida, the multitude encamped around it followed Him. Several of those present the day before at the multiplication of the loaves, and who had been seeking Him ever since, asked Him: “Rabbi, when camest Thou hither? We have been seeking Thee on both sides of the lake.” Jesus, at the same time beginning His sermon, answered them: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you have seen miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labor not for the meat which perisheth but for that which endureth unto life everlasting, which the Son of Man will give you. For Him hath God the Father sealed.” These words stand thus in the Gospel, but they are only the principal points of those that Jesus pronounced on this occasion, for He dwelt largely on the subject. The people whispered to one another: “What does He mean by the Son of Man? We are all children of man!” When upon His admonition that they should do the works of God, they asked what they should do to fulfill those works, He answered: “Believe in Him whom He hath sent!” And then He gave them an instruction upon faith. They asked again what kind of a miracle He would perform that they might believe. Moses gave their fathers bread from Heaven that they might believe in him, namely, the manna. What, they now asked, was Jesus going to give them. To this Jesus answered: “I say to you, Moses gave you not bread from Heaven, but My Father giveth you the true bread from Heaven. For the bread of God is that which cometh down from Heaven and giveth life to the world.”
Of this bread Jesus taught in detail, and some of them said to Him: “Lord, give us always this bread!” But others objected: “His Father gives us bread from Heaven! How can that be? His father Joseph is already dead!” Jesus continued to teach on the same subject, dwelling upon it at great length, developing it and explaining in most precise terms. But only a few understood Him. The others fancied themselves wise; they thought they knew all things.
On the following day Jesus, from the hill behind Peter’s house, continued the subject of yesterday’s discourse. There were about two thousand people present, who exchanged places by turns, some coming forward, others withdrawing, that all might get a chance to hear better. Jesus also changed His position from time to time. He went from one place to another, lovingly and patiently repeating His words of instruction and refuting the same objections. Apart from the crowd were many women, veiled. The Pharisees kept moving to and fro, questioning and whispering their doubts among the people.
Today Jesus spoke out in plain words, He said: “I am the Bread of Life. He that cometh to Me shall not hunger, and he that believeth in Me shall never thirst. All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me, and him that cometh to Me, I will not cast out. Because I came down from Heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him that sent Me. Now this is the will of the Father, who sent Me: that of all that He hath given Me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again in the last day. And this is the will of My Father that sent Me: that every one who seeth the Son and believeth in Him, may have life everlasting, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
But there were many who did not understand Him, and they said: “How can He say that He has come down from Heaven? He is truly the son of the carpenter Joseph, His Mother and relatives are among us, and we know even the parents of His father Joseph! He has said today that God is His Father, and then He said again that He is the Son of Man!” and they murmured. Jesus said to them: “Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to Me, except the Father, who hath sent Me, draw him.” Again they failed to grasp His meaning, and they asked what the words: “The Father draw him,” signified. They took them quite literally. Jesus answered: “It is written in the Prophets, Everyone that hath heard and learned it of the Father cometh to Me!”
Thereupon many of them asked: “Are we not with Him? And have we not yet heard of the Father, learned of the Father?” To which Jesus made answer: “No one hath seen the Father, but He who is of God. He that believeth in Me, hath everlasting life. I am the Bread that cometh down from Heaven, the Bread of Life.”
Then they said again among themselves that they knew of no bread that carne down from Heaven, excepting the manna. Jesus explained that the manna was not the Bread of Life, for their fathers who had eaten it were dead. But whosoever ate of the Bread that carne down from Heaven, should not die. He said that He was the living Bread, and that he who ate thereof should live forever.
All these instructions were accompanied by full explanations and quotations from the Law and the Prophets. But most of the Jews would not comprehend them. They took all literally according to the common, human acceptation, and again asked: “What meaneth these words, that we should eat and Who, then, has eternal life, and who can eat of Him? Henoch and Elias have been taken away from the earth, and they say that they are not dead; nor does anyone know whither Malachias has gone, for no one knows of his death. But apart from these, all other men must die.” Jesus replied by asking them whether they knew where Henoch and Elias were and where Malachias was. As for Himself, this knowledge was not concealed from Him. But did they know what Henoch believed, what Elias and Malachias prophesied? And He explained several of their prophecies.
Jesus taught no more that day. The people were in an extraordinary state of excitement; they reflected on His words and disputed their meaning among themselves. Many of the new disciples even, especially those lately received from among John’s, doubted and wavered. They had swelled the number of the disciples to seventy, for up to this period Jesus had only thirty-six. The women were now about thirty-four, though the number engaged in the service of the Community at last amounted to seventy. It was increased by all the stewardesses, maidservants, and directresses of the inns.
Jesus again taught the people on the hill outside the city. He said nothing more of the Bread of Life, however, but confined Himself to the Beatitudes and the crowd was very great, but because most of the sick were already cured, the thronging and hurrying were less than usual. The carrying of the sick to the scene of action and their subsequent departure always gave rise to much confusion and disturbance, since everyone wanted to be first both in coming and going. All, and especially many of John’s disciples, were in great expectation, eager to hear the end of the instruction begun on the previous day.
That evening as Jesus was teaching in the synagogue upon the lesson of the Sabbath, some of His hearers interrupted Him with the question: “How canst Thou call Thyself the Bread of Life come down from Heaven, since everyone knows whence Thou art?” To which Jesus answered by repeating all that He had already said on that subject.
The Pharisees again offered the same objections, and when they appealed to their father Abraham and to Moses, asking how He could call God His Father, Jesus put to them the question: “How can ye call Abraham your father and Moses your Lawgiver, since ye do not follow the commandments or the example of either Abraham or Moses?” Then He placed clearly before them their perverse actions and their wicked, hypocritical life. They became confused and enraged.
Now Jesus resumed and continued His instructions on the Bread of Life. He said, “The bread that I will give is My flesh for the life of the world.” At these words, murmurs and whispers ran through the crowd: “How can He give us His flesh to eat?” Jesus continued and taught at length as the Gospel records: “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you. But he that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed: and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, abideth in Me and I in him. As the living Father had sent Me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth Me, the same also shall live by Me. This is the bread that came down from Heaven. It is not bread like the manna, of which your fathers did eat, and yet died! He that eateth this bread, shall live forever.” Jesus then explained many passages from the Prophets, especially from Malachias, and showed their accomplishment in John the Baptist, of whom He spoke at length. They asked when He would give them that food of which He spoke. He answered distinctly: “In its own time,” and then, with a peculiar expression, signified a certain period in weeks. I counted as He spoke, and got: The people were very greatly agitated, and the Pharisees took care to incite them still more.
After that Jesus again taught in the synagogue. He explained the sixth and the seventh petitions of the also the Beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” He said that they who are learned ought not to be conscious of it, just as the rich ought not to know that they possess riches. Then the Jews murmured again and said: “Of what use would such knowledge or such riches be, if the owner did not know that he possessed either the one or the other?” Jesus answered: “Blessed are the poor in spirit!” adding that they should feel themselves poor and humble before God, from whom all wisdom comes, and apart from whom all wisdom is an abomination.
When the Jews questioned Him again upon His discourse of the preceding day, that on the Bread of Life, on the eating of His flesh and the drinking of His blood, He repeated His former instruction in strong and precise terms. Many of His disciples murmured and said: “This saying is hard, and who can hear it?” Jesus replied that they should not be scandalized, they would witness things still more wonderful, and He predicted to them clearly that they would persecute Him, that even the most faithful among them would abandon Him and take to flight, and that He would fall into the arms of His enemies, who would put Him to death. But, He said, He would not abandon His unfaithful disciples; His Spirit would hover near them. The words, “He would run into the arms of His enemy,” were not exactly those used by Jesus. It was rather that He would embrace His enemy, or be embraced by him, but I no longer remember which. It referred to the kiss and perfidy of Judas.
As the Jews were now still more scandalized, Jesus said: “If then you shall see the Son of Man ascend up where He was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some among you that believe not, therefore did I say to you: No man can come to Me, unless it be given him by My Father.”
These words of Jesus were greeted by jeers and murmurs throughout the synagogue. About thirty of the new disciples, principally the narrow-minded followers of John, went over to the Pharisees and began to whisper with them and express their dissatisfaction, but the Apostles and the older disciples gathered more closely around Jesus. He continued to teach, and said aloud: “It is well that those men showed of whose spirit they are the children before they occasioned greater mischief.”
As He was leaving the synagogue, the Pharisees and the disloyal disciples who had colleagued with them wanted to detain Him in order to argue with Him and demand explanations on many points. But the Apostles, His disciples, and other friends surrounded Him, so that He escaped their importunities, though amid shouts and confusion. Their speech was such as might be heard from the men of our own day: “Now we have it! Now we need nothing more! He has doubtless proved to every sensible man that He is Himself bereft of reason. We must eat His flesh! We must drink His blood! He is from Heaven! He will ascend into Heaven!”
Jesus went with His followers, though by different routes, to the hill and valley north of the city near the dwellings of Zorobabel and Cornelius. When they reached a certain place, He began to instruct His disciples, and then it was that He asked The Twelve whether they too were going to leave Him. Peter answered for all: “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and have known that Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!” Jesus answered among other things: “I also have chosen you twelve, and yet one among you is a devil!”
Mary was present with other women at that last discourse of Jesus on the mountain, as well as that delivered in the synagogue. Of all the mysteries propounded in these discourses, she had long had the interior consciousness; only, just as the Second Person of the Godhead, having taken flesh in her, became Man and her Child, so too was this knowledge hidden, enveloped as it were in the most humble, the most reverential love of her mother-heart for Jesus. Since Jesus had now taught more plainly of these mysteries than ever before, to the scandal of those that willfully shut their eyes to the light, the meditations of Mary were directed to them. I saw her in her chamber that night praying. She had a vision, an interior contemplation of the Angelical Salutation, the Birth, and the Childhood of Jesus, of her own maternity, and of His Sonship. She contemplated her Child as the Son of God, and was so overcome by humility and reverence that she melted into tears. But all these contemplations were again absorbed in the feeling of maternal love for her Divine Son, just as the appearance of bread hides the Living God in the Sacrament.
At the separation of the disciples from Jesus, I saw in two circles the Kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of Satan. I saw the city of Satan and the Babylonian harlot with its prophets and prophetesses, its wonder-workers and apostles, all in great magnificence, more brilliant, richer, and more numerous than was the Kingdom of Jesus. Kings, emperors, and even priests coursed therein with horse and chariot, and for Satan was set a magnificent throne.
But the Kingdom of Christ upon earth I saw poor and insignificant, full of misery and suffering. I saw Mary as the Church, and Christ on the Cross. He, too, was like the Church, the entrance to which was through the Wound of His Side.
Jesus in Dan and Ornithopolis
As Jesus with the Apostles and disciples was making the journey from Capharnaum to Cana and Cydessa, I saw Him in the region of Giskala placing The Twelve in three separate rows and revealing to each his own peculiar disposition and character. Peter, Andrew, John, James the Greater, and Matthew stood in the first row; Thaddeus, Bartholomew, James the Less, and the disciple Barsabas, in the second; Thomas, Simon, Philip, and Judas Iscariot, in the third. Each heard his own thoughts and hopes revealed to him by Jesus, and all were strongly affected. Jesus delivered at the same time a lengthy discourse upon the hardships and sufferings that awaited them, and on this occasion He again made use of the expression: “Among you there is a devil.”
The three different rows established no subordination among the Apostles, one to another. The Twelve were classed merely according to their disposition and character. Joses Barsabas stood foremost in the row of the disciples, and nearest to The Twelve; consequently, Jesus placed him also in the second row with the Apostles, and revealed to him his hopes and fears. On this journey Jesus further instructed The Twelve and the disciples exactly how to proceed in the future when healing the sick and exorcising the possessed, as He Himself did in such cases. He imparted to them the power and the courage always to effect, by imposition of hands and anointing with oil, what He Himself could do. This communication of power took place without the imposition of hands, though not without a substantial transmission. They stood around Jesus, and I saw rays darting toward them of different colors, according to the nature of the gifts received and the peculiar disposition of each recipient. They exclaimed: “Lord, we feel ourselves endued with strength! Thy words are truth and life!” And now each knew just what he had to do in every case in order to effect a cure. There was no room left for either choice or reflection.
After that Jesus with all His disciples arrived at Elcese, a place distant from Capharnaum one hour and a half. There in the synagogue He delivered the sermon of the Sabbath, in which reference was made to the building of Solomon’s Temple. I remember that He addressed the Apostles and disciples as the workmen who were to fell the cedars on the mountain and prepare them for the building. He spoke also of the interior adornment of the Temple. The services over, at which many Pharisees were in attendance, Jesus was invited to dine. The meal was taken at a house of public entertainment. Many people stood around during it, to hear what Jesus was saying, and numbers of the poor were fed. The Pharisees, having remarked that the disciples had not washed their hands before coming to table, asked Jesus why His disciples did not respect the prescriptions of their forefathers, and why they did not observe the customary purifications. Jesus responded to their question by asking why they themselves did not keep the Commandments, why with all their traditions they did not honor
their father and mother, and He reproached them with their hypocrisy and their vain adherence to external purification. During this dispute the meal came to an end. Jesus, however, continued to address the crowd that pressed around Him: “Hear ye and understand! Not that which goeth into the mouth defiled a man; but what cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. He that has ears to hear, let him hear!” The disciples who had remained behind in the entertainment hall told Jesus that these words of His had greatly scandalized the Pharisees. To which He responded: “Every plant that My Heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up! Let them alone! They are blind and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit.”
When on the following evening Jesus was closing the Sabbath instruction, the Pharisees again reproached Him on account of the irregular mode of the disciples’ fasting. But Jesus retorted by charging them with their avarice and want of mercy. Among other things, He said: “The disciples eat after long labor, and then only if others are supplied. But if these latter are hungry, they give them what they have, and God blesses it.” Here Jesus recalled the multiplication of the loaves, on which occasion the disciples had given their bread and fish to the hungry multitude, and He asked the Pharisees whether they would have done the same.
From Elcese, Jesus went with the Apostles and disciples through Cedes-Nephtali to Dan, called also Lais, or Leschem. Cedes Nephtali was a stronghold and Levitical city built of black, shining stone. On the way Jesus instructed His followers, His subject always being prayer. He explained the He told them that in the past they had not prayed worthily, but like Esau had asked for the fat of the earth; but now, like Jacob, they should petition for the dew of Heaven, for spiritual gifts, for the blessing of spiritual illumination, for the Kingdom according to the will of God, and not for one in accordance with their own ideas. He reminded them that even the heathens themselves did not petition for temporal goods alone, but also for those of a spiritual nature.
The city of Dan, situated at the base of a high mountain range, covered a wide extent owing to the fact that everyone of its houses was surrounded by a garden. All the inhabitants were engaged in garden tillage. They raised fruits and aromatic plants of all kinds, also calamus, myrrh, balsam, cotton, and many sweet-scented herbs, which formed the staple of their trade with Tyre and Sidon. The pagans of Dan were more mixed up with the Jews than in other cities. Although this region was so delightful and fertile, yet there were many sick in it.
Jesus put up with the disciples at one of His own inns situated in the heart of the city. The Apostles and disciples had established it when on their last mission here. Counting the Apostles, the disciples with Jesus at this time amounted to thirty. They who had already been here and to whom consequently the inhabitants applied, led Jesus around to the different sick. The rest of the disciples scattered among the surrounding places. Peter, John, and James stayed with Jesus, who went about from house to house healing the sick. He cured the dropsical, the melancholy, the possessed, several slightly affected with leprosy, the lame, and especially numbers of blind, and others with swollen cheeks and limbs.
The blindness so prevalent came from the sting of a little insect that infested this country. Jesus pointed out an herb, with whose juice He bade them anoint their eyes in order to prevent the insect from stinging them. He gave to them also a moral application of its meaning. The swellings, which became inflamed and produced gangrene that ended in the death of many thus afflicted, were likewise caused by little insects like mildew that were blown from the trees. They were grayish black, like chimney soot, and were borne like a dense black cloud through the air. The insect bit into the skin and raised a large swelling. Jesus pointed out another insect, which was to be crushed and applied to the bite. He told them in future to make use of it in similar cases. It had fifteen little points on the back, as large as an ant’s egg, and it could roll itself up into a ball.
While Jesus was going from house to house in Dan healing the sick, He was perseveringly followed by an aged woman, a pagan, who was crippled on one side. She was from Ornithopolis. She remained humbly at some distance and, from time to time, implored help. But Jesus paid no attention to her, He even appeared to shun her, for He was now healing sick Jews only. A servant accompanied the woman bearing her baggage. She was habited in the garb of a foreigner. Her dress was of striped material, the arms and neck trimmed with lace. On her head she wore a high, pointed cap, over which was tied a colored kerchief, and lastly a veil. She had at home a daughter sick and possessed, and for a long time she had been hoping for aid from Jesus. She was in Dan at the time of the Apostles’ mission there, and they now more than once reminded Jesus of her. But He replied that it was not yet time, that He wanted to avoid giving offense, and that He would not help the pagans before the Jews.
In the afternoon Jesus went with Peter, James, and John to the house of one of the Jewish Elders of the city, a man very well disposed, a friend of Lazarus and Nicodemus, and in secret a follower of Jesus. He had contributed largely to the common fund of the holy women and to the support of the inns. He had two sons and three daughters, all of mature age, he himself being an old man far advanced in years. The children were unmarried. The sons wore their long hair parted on top of the head and allowed the beard to grow. Through the daughters’ headdress, the hair could be seen similarly parted. They were Nazarites. All were clothed in white. The old father, whose beard was long and white, was led by the sons to meet Jesus, for he could not walk alone. He was shedding tears of reverential joy. The sons washed the feet of Jesus and the Apostles, and presented them with refreshments, fruit and rolls. Jesus was very affable and treated the family with great confidence. He spoke to them of the journeys He was about to make, and told them that He would not show Himself openly in Jerusalem at the celebration of the coming Pasch. He did not remain long in the house, for the people, having found out His whereabouts, had gathered outside and in the forecourt. Jesus went out through the court and into the garden where for several hours He taught and cured between the terraced walls that supported the gardens. The pagan woman had waited long at a distance. Jesus never went near her, and she dared not approach Him. From time to time, however, she repeated her cry: “Lord! Thou Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is grievously tormented by an unclean spirit!” The disciples begged Jesus to help her. But He said: “I was not sent but to the sheep that are lost of the house of Israel.” At last the woman drew nearer, ventured into the hall, cast herself down before Jesus, and cried: “Lord, help me!” Jesus replied: “It is not good to take the bread of the children and to cast it to the dogs.” But she continued to entreat: “Yea, Lord! For the whelps also eat of the crumbs that fall from the table of their masters.” Then Jesus said: “O woman, great is thy faith! On account of these words, help shall be given thee!”
Jesus asked her whether she herself did not want to be cured, for she was crippled on one side. But she replied that she was not worthy, and that she asked for her daughter’s cure only. Then He laid one hand on her head, the other on her side, and said: “Straighten up! May it be done to thee as thou dost will! The devil has gone out of thy daughter.” The woman stood upright. She was tall and thin. For some instants, she uttered not a word, and then with uplifted hands, she cried out: “OLord, I see my daughter lying in bed well and in peace!” She was out of herself with joy. Jesus turned away with the disciples.
Jesus afterward took a repast at the house of the Nazarites. The Levites of Cades were present, as well as all the Apostles and disciples who had again met together at the inn. It was a grand entertainment, such as had not been given for a long time, and from it abundant alms were distributed to the poor by the disciples. After all was over, Jesus returned to the inn. The Feast of the New Moon was celebrated yesterday and today.
When Jesus on the following morning was healing and teaching under the market porticos, the pagan woman brought to Jesus one of her relatives who had come with her from Ornithopolis. He was paralyzed in the right arm besides being deaf and dumb. The woman begged Jesus to cure him and also to visit her home, that they might there thank Him worthily.
Jesus took the man aside from the crowd, laid His hand on the lame arm, prayed, and stretched out the arm perfectly cured. Then He moistened his ears with a little spittle, told him to raise his cured hand to his tongue, glanced upward, and prayed. The man arose, spoke, and gave thanks. Jesus stepped back with him to the pressing multitude, and the man began to speak wonderful and prophetic words. He cast himself at Jesus’ feet and gave Him thanks. Then turning to the Jews and pagans, he uttered menaces against Israel, named some particular places, referred to the miracles of Jesus and the obstinacy of the Jews, and said: “The food that ye, the children of the house, reject, we outcasts shall gather up. We shall live upon it, and give thanks. The fruit of the crumbs that we gather up will be to us what you allow to go to waste of the Bread of Heaven.” His words were so wonderful, so inspired, that great agitation arose in the crowd.
Immediately after this, Jesus left the city and climbed with the Apostles and disciples a mountain range to the west of Lesem. They reached a solitary height, where they found a roomy cavern containing seats cut out of the rock. Caves of this kind served as resting places for travelers. Jesus and His followers had been journeying a good two hours, and here passed the night. Jesus instructed the Apostles and disciples on diverse modes of healing and the various ceremonies accompanying them, for they had asked Him why He had ordered the dumb man to put his own hand into his mouth, and why He had taken him aside. Jesus satisfied them on these points, instructed them again upon prayer, and praised the pagan woman who had always implored, not for temporal goods, but for the knowledge of the truth. He prescribed a certain order to be followed by them: They were to go on their missions two and two, they were all to teach the same things, they were to proclaim the last instructions that He had given them. From time to time, they were to meet together in order severally to communicate all that had occurred to them. The Apostles were then to impart to the disciples whatever had happened in the meantime and which ought to be known in common. They should pray together on their journeys, and speak only of the affairs of their mission.
Having resumed their route, they passed the great and very elevated city of Hammoth Dor, after which they climbed steep and toilsome heights until they reached the lofty ridge that commanded a view of the Mediterranean. They now descended the mountain for several hours, passed over a stream that flowed into the sea through the north of Tyre, and put up at an inn on the roadside, between three and four hours from Ornithopolis.
The Syrophenician was a very distinguished lady in her native place. She had passed through these parts on her way home, and had fitted up a very comfortable inn for Jesus. The pagans came out most humbly to meet Jesus and His party, guided them to their destination, and showed them all kinds of attentions with an air at once timid and reverential. They looked upon Jesus as a great Prophet.
Next day Jesus and the disciples ascended a hill in the neighborhood of a little pagan city, and there found a teacher’s chair. It had been in existence since the times of the early Prophets, some of whom had often preached from it. The pagans had always held this place in high esteem, and today they had ornamented it by erecting a beautiful awning over the chair.
There were numbers of sick assembled on the hill, but they remained shyly at a distance, until Jesus and the disciples approached and cured many of them. Some had tumors, others were paralyzed, others wasted away, some were melancholy or half- possessed. These last, when cured, appeared as if awaking from sleep. The limbs of some were greatly swollen and inflamed. Jesus laid His hand on the swelling, which was immediately reduced and the inflammation allayed. He directed the disciples to bring a plant that grew there on the naked rock. It had large, succulent, and deeply notched leaves. He blessed one of these leaves, poured on it some water that He carried with Him in a flask, and the disciples bound it, the notched side down, on the part affected.
The healing over, Jesus delivered an instruction on the vocation of the Gentiles. It was more than ordinarily impressive. He explained several passages from the Prophets, and depicted the vanity of their idols. After that He went with the disciples three hours in a north-westwardly direction to Ornithopolis, which was distant from the sea three-quarters of an hour. This city, which was not very large, contained some beautiful buildings. On a height in the eastern environs stood a pagan temple.
Jesus was received with more than ordinary affection. The Syrophenician had prepared everything for the occasion in the most sumptuous and honorable manner, but in her humility, she left to the few poor Jewish families living in the city the liberty of doing the honors of reception. The whole place resounded with the cure of her daughter, as well as with that of her own and her deaf and dumb relative. The last named, in recounting his cure, spoke of Jesus in words of inspiration. The inhabitants were ranged outside the houses. The pagans stood back humbly and closed the procession that went with green branches to meet Jesus. The Jews, about twenty in number, among them some very aged men who had to be led, also the teachers with all the children, headed the procession. The mothers and daughters followed, veiled.
A house near the school had been prepared for Jesus and the disciples. It was fitted up by the lady with beautiful carpets, furniture, and lamps. There the Jews most humbly washed the feet of Jesus and His disciples and changed their sandals and clothes, until their own were shaken, brushed, and cleaned. Jesus then went with the Elders to the school and taught.
After that, a magnificent entertainment was given in a public hall, at the expense of the Syrophenician. One could see in all the preparations, in the dishes, the viands, and the table furniture generally, that it was a feast given by the pagans. There were three tables much higher than those in use among the Jews, with couches correspondingly high. Some of the viands were very remarkable, being made up into figures representing animals, trees, mountains, and pyramids. Some others were quite deceptive, being in reality very different from what they appeared; for instance, there were all kinds of wonderful pastry, birds made out of fish, fish formed of flesh, and lambs made of spices, fruits, flour, and honey. There were also some real lambs. At one table, Jesus ate with the Apostles and the oldest among the Jews; at the two others, the disciples and the rest of the Jews. The women and children were seated at a table separated from the others by a screen. During the meal, the lady with her daughter and relatives entered to give thanks for the cures wrought among them, their servants following with presents in ornamented caskets, which they bore between them on tapestry. The daughter, veiled, stepped behind Jesus, broke a little vial of precious ointment over His head, and then modestly returned to her mother. The servants delivered the gifts (they were those of the daughter) to the disciples. Jesus returned thanks. The lady bade Him welcome to her native place, and declared how happy she should be if she could only show her good will and, in spite of her unworthiness, repair even the least of the many injuries that He experienced so often from her fellow pagans. She spoke humbly and in few words, remaining all the while at a respectful distance. Jesus ordered the money that formed part of the gifts, as well as the food, to be distributed in her presence among the poor Jews.
The lady was a widow and very rich. Her husband had been dead five years. He possessed in his lifetime many large ships at sea and a great number of servants, besides much property. He owned whole villages. Not far from Ornithopolis there was a heathen settlement on a cape jutting out into the sea, all of which belonged to the lady, his widow. I think he was a large merchant. His widow was held in more than ordinary esteem in Ornithopolis, where the poor Jews lived almost entirely upon her bounty. She was both intelligent and beneficent, and not without a certain degree of illumination in her pagan piety. Her daughter was twenty-four years old, tall and very beautiful. She dressed in colors and adorned her neck with chains, her arms with bracelets. Her wealth brought around her numerous suitors, and she became possessed of an evil spirit. She was afflicted with convulsions so violent that in her frenzy she would spring from her couch and try to run away; consequently she had to be guarded and even bound. But when the paroxysm was over, she became again good and virtuous. Her state caused great affliction to herself and her mother, and to both it was a subject of deep humiliation. The poor girl was obliged to live retired, and she had now endured her sufferings for several years. When the mother neared her home, she was met by her daughter who had come out for that purpose, as well as to tell her of her cure, which had taken place at the very instant in which Jesus had promised it. And, oh, her joy and wonder at seeing her once-crippled mother again a tall, graceful woman! And to hear herself distinctly and joyfully greeted by her paralyzed, deaf, and dumb relative! She was filled with gratitude and reverence for Jesus, and helped to prepare everything for His reception.
The gifts that Jesus received consisted of trinkets belonging to the daughter. They had been given to her in her early years by her parents, principally by her father, whose business opened to him communications with distant lands, and whose only and well beloved child she was. Some were jewels of ancient workmanship, objects wrought of precious metals, such as are ordinarily given to the children of the wealthy. Among them were some things that had formerly belonged to her parents’ parents. There were many wonderful-looking little idols of pearls and precious stones set in gold, rare stones of great value, tiny vessels, golden animals, and figures about a finger long, the eyes and mouth formed of gems. There were also odoriferous stones and amber and golden branches that looked like little live trees, laden with colored gems instead of fruit—and very, very many such things! It was a treasure in itself, for some of these objects would now be worth a thousand dollars apiece. Jesus said that He would distribute them to the poor and the needy, and that His Father in Heaven would reward the donors.
On the Sabbath, Jesus visited everyone of the Jewish families, distributed alms, cured, and com-forted. Many of these Jews were poor and abandoned. Jesus assembled them in the synagogue where He spoke to them in terms at once deeply touching and consoling, for the poor creatures looked upon themselves as the outcast and unworthy children of Israel. He also prepared many of them for Baptism. About twenty men were baptized in a bathing garden, among them the cured deaf and dumb relatives of the pagan lady.
Jesus visited the Syrophenician also, along with His disciples. She dwelt in a beautiful house surrounded by numerous courts and gardens. Jesus was received with great solemnity. The domestics in festal garments spread carpets under His feet. At the entrance of a beautiful summerhouse, which was supported on pillars, the widow and her daughter came forward veiled to meet Him. They cast themselves at His feet and poured forth their thanks, in which they were joined by their cured relative, once deaf and dumb. In the summerhouse were set forth odd-looking figures in pastry and fruit of all kinds on costly dishes. The vessels were of glass, which looked as if made of many colored threads that appeared to run together and cross one another, as if dissolving one into the other. Among rich Jews I have seen similar vessels, but only in small numbers. Here they seemed to be in abundance. Many such vessels were held in reserve behind curtains in the corners of the hall. They were arranged on shelves up high on the wall. The dishes were set on little tables, some round, others with corners, that could be placed together to form one large table.
Among the refreshments there were very fine dried grapes still hanging on the vine laid on those colored glass dishes, also another kind of dried fruit which arose from the branches as from a little tree. There were reeds with long, cordate leaves and fruit in form like the grape. They were perfectly white, perhaps sugared, and looked like the white part of the cauliflower. The guests snapped them off the stem, and found that they had a sweet, pleasant taste. They were raised not far from the sea, in a swampy place belonging to the Syrophenician.
In a separate part of the hall, the pagan maidens, friends of the daughter, were standing along with the domestics. Jesus went and spoke to them. The lady very earnestly entreated Jesus on behalf of the poor people of Sarepta. She begged Him to visit them as well as others in the neighborhood. She was very intelligent and had a clever way of proposing things. Her words were something to this effect: “Sarepta, whose poor widow had shared her little all with Elias, is itself a poor widow threatened with starvation. Do Thou, the greatest of Prophets, have pity on her! Forgive me, a widow and once poor, to whom Thou hast restored her all, if I make bold to plead also for Sarepta.” Jesus promised to do as she wished. She told Him that she wanted to build a synagogue, and asked Him to indicate where it should be. But I do not remember Jesus’ reply.
The lady possessed large weaving and dyeing factories. In the little place near the sea and at some distance from her residence, there were great buildings on the top of which were platforms where gray and yellow stuffs were spread out. Among the gifts presented to Jesus were many little dishes and balls of amber, considered in those parts very precious.
Jesus celebrated the close of the Sabbath in the Jewish school, which was very beautifully adorned. In order to console the poor Jews, He taught that the proverb: “Our fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the teeth of the children are on edge,” should no longer pass current in Israel. “Everyone that abides by the Word of God announced by Me, that does penance and receives Baptism, no longer bears the sins of his father.” The people were extraordinarily rejoiced upon hearing these words.
On the afternoon of the following day, Jesus took leave of the lady who, in union with her daughter and cured relative, presented Him with golden figures a hand in length, and provisions of bread, balsam, fruits, honey in reed baskets, and little flasks. These provisions were destined for His journey and for the poor of Sarepta. Jesus addressed words of advice to the whole family, recommended to them the poor Jews and their own salvation, and departed from the house amid the tears and reverential salutations of all. The lady had always been very enlightened and very earnest in seeking after perfection. Henceforth neither she nor her daughter went any more to the pagan temple. They observed the teachings of Jesus, joined the Jews, and sought by degrees to bring their people after them.
Several times again Jesus repeated His instructions to the disciples upon the order they were to observe and the duties they were to fulfill in their present mission. Thomas, Thaddeus, and James the Less went with some of the disciples (the others remaining with Jesus) down to the tribe of Aser. They were allowed to take nothing with them. Jesus with the nine remaining Apostles, with Saturnin, Judas Barsabas, and another, went northward to Sarepta. Sixteen of the Jews accompanied Jesus the
whole of the way, while all the rest and many of the pagans went only a part. He did not enter Sarepta, which was about two and a half hours distant from Ornithopolis, but stopped at a row of houses tolerably far from the city. They occupied the site of the spot upon which the widow of Sarepta was gathering sticks when Elias approached the city. Some poor Jews had settled there. They were still poorer than those of Ornithopolis, who enjoyed the bounty of the Syrophenician. Here too was an inn prepared for Jesus and His followers, and presents for the poor had been sent on in advance—all through the goodness of that lady. The inhabitants, unspeakably happy and deeply impressed, came out with the women and children to meet Jesus and to wash His feet, also those of His followers.
Jesus consoled and taught them. Then He proceeded on His journey a couple of hours to the east, accompanied by the sixteen men from Ornithopolis and some others from Sarepta. The country was rising, and the road uphill. On an eminence near a little pagan city, Jesus delivered an instruction to the inhabitants whom He found there awaiting Him, after which He pressed on farther. Those that had followed Him from Ornithopolis here took leave.
At some distance farther on, Jesus and the disciples ascended in an easterly direction toward Mount Hermon, which forms the culminating peak of the high mountain range that bounds Upper Galilee. He crossed Hermon into an elevated valley and stopped at Rechob to the southwest at the foot of the mountain below Baal-Hermon. This last city was very large and, with its numerous pagan temples, looked down upon Rechob.