Welcome! I’m writing a work of historical fiction involving Biblical characters, and posting the rough rough rough ROUGH draft as I write it. Really. I mean, really. I’ve been writing each part beginning on the same afternoon or evening that I post it. I kicked out my Inner Editor and embraced the Principle of Exuberant Imperfection to get this thing written, something I learned from NaNoWriMo.
A Journey – Part 11
It’s Fourth Day already. Passover is getting closer. But at least it’s all arranged. I have a place for them to stay and a way to get them there. All I need now is to talk to him and tell him how important it is to get out of town. Rachel is taking me to meet with him this morning. Nico came to see me this morning. He just came from the Sanhedrin. Says he has news. Says he saw one of the rabbi’s disciples there speaking to the chief priests, all hushed, and they were glancing about as if they did not want to be seen.
Now this is odd. He is not one who usually comes to us seek advice or counsel. (How strange it was to refer to the council as “us” just now. I feel some distance from it.) Nico is almost sure he saw a bag change hands. He couldn’t tell what was in it, but he thinks it was a common money bag. The disciple was careful to place it quickly under his cloak before he scurried away. That’s how Nico put it. He scurried. I filed it away in my mind. There are more pressing things to think about at present.
I don’t need his money for the arrangements but he wants to help anyway and I know it is important to him so I accept the gift of money that he brought: enough to buy food for the rabbi and as many of his followers as want to leave with him, for as long as they need to stay away until he can return. If he can return. Nico seems confident that this will be possible. I don’t know how he will every be able to come back after angering the Sanhedrin the way he has. And every time he has a chance to make things right, he says or does something to make it worse.
Part of me wants to yell at him, Don’t you see what you’re doing? You’re making enemies! And part of me, a part I didn’t know existed, thinks, Yes! Go ahead, give them the comeuppance they’ve been asking for! Clearly I have had some sort of breakdown. When these rebels go away perhaps I will go with them, well, not with them. Perhaps in the opposite direction. A peaceful rest is just what I need.
Rachel took me to the house where the rabbi was spending the morning, but she didn’t stay. She had some arrangements to make for him, for the Passover. If he listens to me and accepts my plan–and why wouldn’t he?–she’ll have to rearrange those plans.
I waited in the courtyard. For some reason the stillness, the closeness inside disturbed me. I wanted air moving around me. In truth, I was already looking forward to the trip north and getting out of the city.
But I waited so long, I began to wonder if he was taking making me wait on purpose. I grew cross. The man has no respect for my position. I am not used to being treated this way.
When I had decided to storm out, wondering why I ever wanted to take the time to warn him, he made his entrance into the courtyard, as if he hadn’t made me wait any time at all. And he invited me to come have refreshment and to talk a while. Suddenly I was ravenously hungry and thirsty. So in spite of my irritation–no one else, not even my sister, can irritate me in such a manner–I left off my pacing and trailed after him into a room filled with the smell of good things laid out for us to eat and drink.
After a few minutes I remembered why I was here. “Good teacher,” I began.
“Why do you call me Good when only–“
“I know, I know, I remember. ‘Only God is good.’ It is engrained in my memory. But, listen, I have come to warn you. I’ve tried a few times now but somehow I come away and realize that I never have accomplished my mission.”
“Oh? You have a mission? Which is–?”
“To warn you, rabbi. The Sanhedrin is planning something against you. And just this morning one of your disciples was seen talking to the chief priests–I don’t know which ones, I wasn’t there–but they were speaking to him, all in hushed voices, and apparently money was exchanged. The bag was one commonly used to hold money and this fellow hid it in his cloak and skulked away as if he did not want to be seen.”
“But he was seen. By someone. Some friend of yours.” His eyes were smiling. Did he not understand?
I asked him. “Do you not see that powerful people want to silence you? You act like it’s nothing to worry about.”
He looked at me kindly, as if I were the one in need of help. “Jonah, there is nothing to worry about. Yes, I know that I have enemies among the Sanhedrin, in almost every home there are those who see what I am doing and are for it and those who are against it. And none of them truly see what I am doing. I don’t hold it against them.”
“But I’ve come to warn you, things are heating up, there is some plan now, I’m sure of it. Nicodemus is, too. Please, listen. We have already arranged everything. You can leave as soon as you can get your people together. We have arranged a ship for you, or, if you prefer, we have horses, carts, all you need to move all of you.”
“To get you to safety, of course.”
“Safety? And I’m in danger from whom?”
“Rabbi.” I might have to pull my own hair out. “I am trying to help you. Don’t you see?”
“I do see. And I appreciate it. But I don’t need it. I’m not running away.”
“This is no time to be proud! Let me get you out of here before it’s too late! At least, think of your mother. It’s not just you I’m worried about.”
“Jonah, I see that you are genuinely worried and I am touched that you care what happens to me, my mother, and our friends.”
“Good! Then we’ll–“
“But I am not leaving.”
“But you have to.”
“No, I have to stay.”
“That makes no sense! Don’t you know how much power the Council has?”
“Don’t you know how much Power my Father has?”
“Now don’t start that, I used to visit you in Nazareth, remember? You were older than me but still young, and your mother, Mary, was there, and Joseph, your father.”
“Joseph, yes, my foster father and I will always love him. But I was speaking of my Father. He has all the Power there is and I am here to do His Will.”
“See, this! This is what makes people so angry with you. I’m trying to tell you that you need to leave and you are telling me, ‘No, my father is powerful so I don’t have to worry about anything that a normal person would worry about. I can just wait here and let everything fall apart around me and let my friends and even my mother be hurt. Everything will be fine.’ Well, everything won’t be fine, rabbi. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sanhedrin hasn’t found a way to see that you die!”
I really had not thought it would come to that. I thought they might have him arrested, maybe beaten and run out of town. But when I said the words, I knew they were true. And as he looked at me and I heard his voice, I knew he knew it, too. And that he was not going to give in to fear and was not going to take me up on my offer to help him avoid what was coming.
Even so I had to try.
“Rabbi, I am going to leave now to make more arrangements. Please, if you care about your mother at all, follow me away from here.”
I left before he could say anything more. I felt helpless and all I wanted to do was get out of there before I could no longer control my emotions. He’s always so frustrating but this was the worst!
Maybe I could speak to his mother. He listens to her. That’s what he said, “I’ll do whatever you tell me to.” Yes, I’ll go to her. She will listen to reason. Maybe Nico will go with me. He’s more diplomatic than I am and it appears that he has a friendship with the rabbi and his mother that I did not know about. Maybe he could have persuaded him to accept our plan. Well, I can only do what I can do. I’ll go talk to her and then hopefully we can get everyone on the way out of here.
End of Part 11
Now that this is going on past the May Book of the Month, ongoing story links will be on the Fiction page.
Thanks for visiting and reading and hanging in there with me this far. Until next time, whoever and wherever you are, please stay safe and well, virtuous and holy, and become who you were meant to be: a SAINT! May the Lord bless and keep you and yours, and may His peace be always with you. +JMJ+
Notes and Links:
- NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month.
- Hebrew Fourth Day is our Wednesday, as I understand it, anyway.
Image in the cover: From the east, Nazareth, Holy Land, from Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
Copyright: All material on Catholic Heart and Mind is Copyright © 2009-2021 Lee Lancaster, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved. See Permissions and Copyright for more. Quoted material belongs to others and they retain their copyright. Most images and quoted material are in the public domain except where otherwise noted.