592. The Tuesday Morning before Passover. The Questions of the Tribute to Caesar and of the Resurrection of the Dead.
1st April 1947.
They are about to go back into town, always along the same remote path taken the previous morning, as if Jesus did not want to be surrounded by people waiting for Him, before arriving at the Temple, which is soon reached entering the town by the Sheep Gate, which is near the Probatica. But today many of the seventy-two disciples are already waiting for Him beyond the Kidron, before the bridge, and as soon as they see Him appear among the grey-green olive-trees, in His purple garment, they go to meet Him. They gather together and proceed towards the town.
Peter, who is looking ahead, down the slope, always suspecting to see some evil-minded person appear, among the fresh vegetation of the last slopes sees a mass of withered hanging leaves dangling over the water of the Kidron. The wrinkled dying leaves, already rust-stained here and there, are like those of a plant parched by fire. The breeze blows one off now and again and buries it in the water of the torrent.
« That is the fig-tree of yesterday! The fig-tree that You cursed! » shouts Peter, one hand stretched forward pointing at the withered tree, his head turned back to speak to the Master.
They all rush there, except Jesus, Who comes forward at His usual pace. The apostles inform the disciples of the precedent of what they are looking at, and they all make comments looking at Jesus utterly amazed. They have seen thousands of miracles on men and elements, but this one strikes them more than many others.
Jesus, Who has arrived, smiles watching those amazed timid faces, and He says: « What? Are you so surprised that My word withered a fig-tree? Have you not seen Me raise people from the dead, cure lepers, give sight to blind people, multiply loaves, calm storms, put out fires? And you are surprised that a fig-tree withers? »
« It is not because of the fig-tree. The fact is that yesterday when You cursed it, it was thriving, and now it is withered. Look! As crumbly as dry clay. There is no more sap in its branches. Look. They crumble into dust » and Bartholomew pulverises with his fingers some branches that he has broken off without any effort.
« They have no more sap. You are right. And it is death when there is no more sap, both in a plant and in a nation as well as in a religion, but there is only hard bark and useless foliage: ferocity and hypocritical outward appearance. The white internal sap, full of lymph, corresponds to holiness, to spirituality. The hard bark and useless foliage correspond to mankind devoid of just spiritual life. Woe to those religions that become human because their priests and believers no longer have a vital spirit. Woe to those nations whose leaders are nothing but fierceness and resounding clamour devoid of fruit-bearing ideas! Woe to men who lack the life of the spirit! »
« But, if You said that to the great ones in Israel, although what You say is right, You would not be wise. Do not entertain illusions because they have allowed You to speak so far. You said Yourself that it is not because they are being converted, but that it is done out of calculation. So You had better estimate the value and consequences of Your words as well. Because there is also the wisdom of the world, beside the wisdom of the spirit. And it is necessary to know how to make use of it to our advantage. Because, after all, for the time being we are still in the world, and not in the Kingdom of God » says the Iscariot, without acrimony but in a doctorial tone.
« He is truly wise who can see things without them being altered by his sensuality and by selfish considerations. I will always speak the truth of what I see. »
« In conclusion did this fig-tree die because You cursed it, or it happened… by chance… or is it a sign… I don't know? » asks Philip.
« It is everything you said. But what I did, you can do as well, if you succeed in having perfect faith. Have it in the Most High Lord. And when you have it, I solemnly tell you that you will be able to do that and even more. I solemnly tell you that, if one is successful in having perfect trust in the power of prayer and in the goodness of the Lord, one will be able to say to this mountain: "Move away from here and throw yourself into the sea" and if saying so one will not hesitate in one's heart, but will believe that what one orders can take place, what one has said will take place. »
« And we shall look like magicians and we shall be stoned, as is prescribed for those who practise magic. It would be a really foolish miracle, and to our detriment! » says the Iscariot, shaking his head.
« You are foolish, as you do not understand the parable! » retorts the other Judas.
Jesus does not speak to Judas. He speaks to everybody: « And I say to you, and it is an old lesson that I am repeating in this hour: whatever you ask for in your prayer, have faith to obtain it and you will. But if before praying you have a resentment against anybody, first forgive and make peace to have as a friend your Father Who is in Heaven, and Who forgives and assists you so much, from morning till evening and from sunset to dawn. »
They go into the Temple. The soldiers of the Antonia watch them pass by. They go to worship the Lord, then they go back to the court where the rabbis teach.
Before people gather and crowd round Jesus, some saphorim, doctors of Israel and Herodians approach Him, and with false homage, after greeting Him, they say: « Master, we know that You are wise and truthful, and You teach the ways of God without taking into consideration any person or thing, except truth and justice, and You do not mind what people think of You, and You only take care to lead men to Goodness. So tell us: is it lawful to pay the tribute to Caesar, or is it not lawful to do so? What do You think? »
Jesus casts one of His glances of piercing and solemn shrewdness at them, and replies: « Why are you tempting Me hypocritically? And yet some of you know that I am not deceived by hypocritical honours! But show Me a coin, one of those used for the tribute. »
They show Him a coin. He looks at the obverse and reverse of it and, holding it in the palm of His left hand, He strikes it with the forefinger of His right hand saying: « Whose image is this, and what does this inscription say? »
« The image is Caesar's, and the inscription bears his name. The name of Caius Tiberius Caesar, who is now the emperor of Rome. »
« Then give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God » and He turns His back on them after returning the coin to him who had given Him it.
He listens to this one and that one of the many pilgrims who ask Him questions, He comforts, absolves and cures them. Hours go by.
He comes out of the Temple to go perhaps out of town, to get the food that Lazarus' servants, entrusted with this task, bring Him.
He goes back to the Temple in the afternoon. He is indefatigable. Grace and wisdom flow from His hands laid on sick people, and from His lips as He gives personal advice to the many people who approach Him. He seems to be anxious to comfort and cure everybody, before it is no longer possible for Him to do so.
It is almost sunset and the tired apostles are sitting on the floor under the porch, astonished at the continuous movement of crowds in the courts when Passover is close at hand. Then some rich people approach the untiring Master, they are certainly rich, judging by their pompous garments.
Matthew, who is dozing with one eye open, stands up, rousing the others. He says: « Some Sadducees are going towards the Master. Let us not leave Him all alone, that they may not offend Him or try to harm Him and sneer at Him again. »
They all get up and join the Master gathering round Him. I seem to realise that there have been reprisals when they went to the Temple or when they returned there at the sixth hour.
The Sadducees, who pay their respects to Jesus bowing even exaggeratedly, say to Him: « Master, You replied so wisely to the Herodians, that we also wish to have a ray of Your light. Listen: Moses said: "If a man dies childless, his brother must marry the widow, giving offspring to his brother". Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married a virgin, he died without issue, so he left his wife to his brother. Also the second one died without issue, and also the third one who married the widow of the two who had preceded him, and so on down to the seventh. Finally, after being married to all the seven brothers, the woman died. Tell us: at the resurrection of bodies, if it is really true that men resurrect and that our souls outlive us and join our bodies on the last day, forming the living again, which of the seven brothers will have the woman, since all seven of them had her on the Earth? »
« You are wrong. You understand neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. The other life will be quite different from this one, and in the eternal Kingdom there will be no necessities of the flesh as there are here. Because, truly, after the last Judgement bodies will rise-from the dead and will be joined to their immortal souls, forming whole beings, as alive, nay, more alive than your person and Mine are now, but no longer subject to the laws and above all to the incentives and abuses that exist now. At the resurrection, men and women will not get married, but will be like the angels of God in Heaven, who do not get married, and yet they live in perfect love, which is divine and spiritual. And with regard to the resurrection of the dead, have you not read how God spoke to Moses from the bush? What did the Most High say then? "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob". He did not say: "I was", making him understand that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had been, but no longer were. He said: "I am". Because Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are. Immortal. Like all men in their immortal part, while ages last, and later, also in their bodies raised for eternity. They exist, as Moses, the prophets, the just exist, as, unfortunately, Cain exists, and those of the Deluge, and the sodomites, and all those who died in mortal sin. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. »
« Will You also die and then will you live? » they ask tempting Him. They are already tired of being meek. Their hatred is such that they cannot control themselves.
« I am the Living Being, and My Flesh will not know corruption. The ark was taken away from us, and the present one will also be taken away as a symbol. The Tabernacle was taken away from us, and it will be destroyed. But it will not be possible to take away the true Temple of God and destroy it. When its adversaries think that they have done so, that is the hour when it will be established in the true Jerusalem, in all its glory. Goodbye. »
And He hastens towards the Court of Israel, because the silver tubae are calling to the evening sacrifice.
Jesus says to me:
« As I made you write the words "of My chalice" in the vision of John and James' mother who asked for a place for her sons, so I tell you to point out the passage of yesterday's vision: "he who falls against this stone will break in pieces". In translations they always use "on". I said against and not on. And it is a prophecy against the enemies of My Church. Those who oppose It, hurling themselves against It, because It is the Headstone, are crushed. For the last twenty centuries the history of the Earth has confirmed what I said. The persecutors of the Church are crushed as they hurl themselves against the Headstone. But it is also true, and those who think that they are secure from divine punishments, because they belong to the Church, should bear this in mind, he on whom falls the weight of the condemnation of the Head and Bridegroom of this Bride of Mine, of My mystical Body, will be crushed.
And forestalling an objection of the ever alive scribes and Sadducees, ill disposed to My servants, I say: if in these last visions there are sentences that are not in the Gospels, such as those at the end of today's vision, and of the passage in which I speak of the barren fig-tree, and others as well, those critics ought to remember that the evangelists always belonged to that race and they lived in times when every exaggerated clash might have had violent and harmful repercussions for neophytes.
Let them read the acts of the apostles again and they will see that the fusion of so many different thoughts was not peaceful, and that while they admired one another, acknowledging one another's merits, they did not lack differences of opinion, because the thoughts of men are various and always imperfect. And to avoid deeper ruptures between one thought and another, the evangelists, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, in their writings deliberately omitted some sentences that might have hurt the excessive susceptibility of the Hebrews and scandalised the Gentiles, who needed to believe that the Hebrews were perfect, as they were the nucleus from which the Church came, in order not to go away saying: "They are like us". It was just to make known the persecutions of Christ, but not the spiritual diseases of the people of Israel, by now corrupt, particularly in the higher classes. And they veiled them as much as possible.
They should observe how the Gospels become the more and more explicit, up to the limpid Gospel of My John, the later they were written after My Ascension to My Father. Only John fully relates even the most painful flaws of the very apostolic group, openly calling Judas a "thief", and he integrally reports the base actions of the Jews (Chapter 6 - feigned will to make Me king, the debates at the Temple, the abandonment by many after the sermon on the Bread of Heaven, Thomas' incredulity). The last survivor, who lived long enough to see the Church already strong, he lifts the veils that the others had not dared to lift.
But now the Spirit of God wants also these words to be known. And the Lord should be blessed for that, because they are so many lights and guides for people with righteous hearts. »
« You will put here the second part of Tuesday, that is, the teachings to the Twelve at night at Gethsemane. »
Written by Maria Valtorta. From POEM OF THE MAN-GOD, Volume 5, Chapter 592.
Copyright 1990 by Centro Editoriale Valtortiano, srl, Isola del Liri, Italy. All rights reserved in all countries.