Samuel, Son of Tremiyo
A pleasant coolness filled the evening where the sun had spent the day. Tremiyo and Camia found their usual sitting places after a busy day in the city with Senobia and the children. They had decided to have dinner in the patio where it was cooler. Remnants of clouds were painted in awesome shades of purple with glowing embers of copper and gold. They looked like windblown banners frozen in place. Birds still squawked and chirped overhead as if arguing over their bedroom accommodations. Bathed and refreshed, they waited for their staff to serve dinner. Anxiously they anticipated Onofrio, Senobia and the children to join them as an expected ritual. They had grown accustomed to sharing the evening meal together and discuss issues at hand. It was a private family time cherished by all. Baby Sintia would not be happy unless she sat close to her papa. Horacio was always seated next to his dad. While Senobia tended to Angelica and remained ready to serve her husband’s needs. In that happy aura of peace and love there was no space for disruption. No sooner had the thought occurred that a messenger from the outer gate came to Tremiyo. “Sir, two strangers are at the gate asking to be brought to you. The older man said he knew you from the days when you had an inn not far from here.” Not ready for unexpected company and guessing that the visitors were looking for a place to sleep and a free meal, Tremiyo reluctantly shrugged his shoulders and signaled with his head to bring the guests in. Joyful tidbits of conversation continued as Tremiyo hand fed his pride and joy, baby Sintia. Tremiyo could not measure the degree of joy he felt sharing a meal with the little girl. He felt rewarded by such a happy union with the child.
In hobbled a dark skinned man seemingly in his middle years, with an unkempt bearded wearing an eye patch and struggling with a crutch. With him came a hooded man whose stride indicated a younger individual and was attentive to the older man’s physical impairment. The older man directed his gaze at Tremiyo to exclaim in obvious joy, “Tremiyo, you old camel trader. You haven’t changed a bit.” By then the man had Tremiyo’s hand firmly in his grip and shaking it almost off the socket. His look became one of disappointment when he clearly saw Tremiyo did not recognize him. “I know, you’re wondering who in the devil’s name this is? I lost an eye to road bandits and an arrow in my leg makes it hard to walk. I am Amin Hassan, the caravan chief. It took almost two heart beats for Tremiyo to grasp and fit the name into his understanding. Stunned and incredulous Tremiyo sought to sit down while Amin still held on to their handshake. “Almost twenty years ago, I bought a boy from a road bandit I did business with a few times. The boy was scared near out of his wits and was docile and obedient. He gave me one look that pleaded, I save him. Having lost my wife and son a few years back, I bought the boy to replace my loss.” Tremiyo’s heart was in furious rhythm. He was shaking severely as old memories went racing through his mind. Onofrio came to lay a hand on his distraught father-in-law’s shoulder. “Easy now, papa,” Onofrio cautioned. Having heard the story of Sintia’s abduction and murder along with his son being kidnapped Onofrio suddenly grasped the depth of Amin’s statement. Tremiyo struggled to stand up with his hand still firmly in Amin’s grip. His look was one of shock as he looked around to Amin’s companion.
“Tremiyo, this is your long lost son, Samuel. We’ve been to China and had many adventures together on the way to you.” The young man dropped his hood and looked at Tremiyo with hesitant and doubtful eyes. He was a young Tremiyo that nobody could deny. Tremiyo was shaking violently and looked to Onofrio in silent supplication for help. Onofrio slipped his arm around the old man and held him up. Senobia came to his opposite side and was devastated to see her father in such a tormented state. He let go of the arms that supported him and fell to his knees in agonizing wails and torrents of tears. All three were now on their knees with Tremiyo and helped the old man stand up. But, he could not speak. He could only look at the young man and shed rivers of tears with a hand over his lips. He was having trouble accepting the miracle before him. Senobia went to the young man and studied him momentarily then spoke in her muted tone of authority. Satisfied that the young man looked like her father she calmly stated, “If you’re my long lost brother, then I am your sister, Senobia.” Brave hearted Senobia struggled to keep her emotions in check. Samuel responded, “I remember you. I rocked your cradle when you were a baby at “la posada Inn.” No words could have been said that meant more to Tremiyo. Nobody would remember the name of his Inn was “la posada” (the guest house.) except someone that lived there. “La posada,” had been Tremiyo’s pride and joy when Sintia and he lived there. Tremiyo now looked at his son partially recovered from his shock and in silence bade him come into his arms. Family fusion is seldom recognized as such. It is that unique sensation the soul feels when in the presence of a lost relative. It’s the blood calling to be with its own kind. Family reunions come and pass in all degrees. Few could have the depth of Tremiyo’s joy that filled him beyond capacity. His children, His real children were in his arms and the only thing missing was their mother, Sintia. How tormenting it is to have a heart half full of unmeasured happiness and the other half torn in bitter grief. Unashamed Tremiyo kissed Samuel on both cheeks and for a long moment held him close where two hearts beat as one. Tremiyo’s heart was filled to capacity and reached overflow when Samuel took his face to say, “You’re just the way I always remembered you.”
Camia, poor orphan Camia suddenly felt very much out of place. She knew in her heart that stories of Tremiyo’s love for the deceased Sintia would be coming forth soon. And she had no place to run. With Samuel on one side and Senobia on the other Tremiyo sat to ask an infinity of questions. He need not have asked, Amin Hassan was there to fill in the missing years. Onofrio seeing Camia’s lament came to her side and held her close. She was in a sense, Onofrio’s extra mother. Gently, lovingly he whispered in her ear, “It’s time to make your place be known. Do it bravely.” Then gently nudged her into the presence of the reunited family. She would be forever grateful to Onofrio for once there Tremiyo happily introduced her to Samuel, “This is your step-mother, Camia. She practically raised Senobia after your mother’s demise. We married four years ago along with your sister and her husband, Onofrio de Iberia.” Once the introductions spread all around the guests were invited to dinner and more wine came forth on Tremiyo’s request.
Through all this the caravan chief related an awesome story. “After a long period of prosperity, I decided that a trip to China could double my good fortune. I traded and sold and bought things to trade and sell again. When the call from China grew too strong, I geared my assets in that direction. I did not set out to buy a boy. When he was offered to me, I rejected the idea. I was on my way to China. I did not need a young boy to worry about. But he appealed to me with those soulful brown eyes and I relented having lost my wife and only son not long before. It was quite a long time before he revealed who his father and mother were and where he lived. By then, we were too far from here to return him to you. I knew your Inn, my caravan rested there a few times. Samuel became my son. I came close to selling him to a ship’s captain. But I remembered he was your son and I did not need the money he would bring. I would not want my real son abused by a ship’s captain or crew. So, Samuel won a place in my concern for him. But, if I am allowed to say, I fell in love in China. Got married and spent almost three years in blissful honeymoon. My stock in trade dwindled while I lolled in my good fortune. Samuel and I lived a life of luxury while there. I arranged classes for him with a learned English Priest that traveled to that world. After a respectable length of time the Chinese authorities came to say that my presence in their country had exceeded their hospitality. They were not happy to have Chinese blood mixed with that of foreigners and would not allow me to bring my wife, Miyako out of their country. Unfair. Totally unfair.
Sam and I struggled to leave their precious country and find the way back to our own. We were attacked a few times by road bandits, I suspect came from the Chinese authorities. My goods were reduced to mere leftovers nobody would buy and some nights we went hungry. He would periodically go into spells where nothing pleased him, except to go home to Tremiyo and Sintia. He wanted to live over La posada Inn again. He often said that it was the happiest time of his life. That dream never left him. When I lost my eye, he was there to look after me like a devoted son. Again when I took an arrow in my leg he withdrew the shot and did all he knew to do to make it well. Had it not been for him, gangrene may have claimed me. Through cold nights and despair He’s been there when I needed a friend or a nudge on my behind to keep me moving. As a son, he repaid the price I paid for him in joy alone. I would be less a man if I did not grant him his wish to come home to his rightful father. He’s my son too and most likely love him as much as you. The way has not been easy, but here we are.” The group around Amin Hassan were glued to his every word. Camia held on to Onofrio’s arm as she struggled to keep her heart in check. She physically feared that Sintia would appear next. And if she reappeared what would Camia do? Samuel spoke out with resolve. “After we spend some time together, I want to go search for the men that kidnapped me and killed my mother. I saw the beaded one strike her very hard with the pommel of his knife then peeled off her clothes to do what he wanted even though she was dead. She was weak from hunger and his tormenting her with constant attacks. I want to find them and kill all three of them.” His voice was an echo of rage too long in storage. “Amin and I have been asking about them. Nobody seems to know where they went.”
Before Tremiyo gave thought to his mind he put his hand on Samuels shoulder and clearly stated. “They’re dead and buried. I hunted them down and killed two of them. I decapitated the bearded one. The third one I left for the jackals and buzzards but he survived long enough to accuse me of murder and I was convicted for it. I served on a slave ship then got sold to a rich merchant in Macedonia. Serou, the master of this estate bought me to eventually become Stewart of his domain. When he felt I had paid my debt, he granted total freedom to me and your sister. We thought it over very carefully and chose to remain here.”
Conversation, wine, good food and joyful company found its way to midnight. The moon overhead was a glowing disk of light that rivaled daytime and the stars seemed to fade in such brilliance. Camia was first to resign from the circle of happy voices. With baby Angelica in her arms, she went to put the baby to bed. Followed by Senobia with heavy weight Horacio. Onofrio had a hundred questions he wanted to ask
his new brother in law. But saw it fit to take baby Sintia from Tremiyo’s weary arm nest and put her to bed. Tremiyo was best left alone with his newly found son.
Two weeks of stories by Samuel filled Tremiyo’s life with boundless joy. Camia, the one that thought she would be left out of the family circle responded vigorously when Tremiyo demonstrated his need for her presence in all the festivities. Tremiyo took his son to all his routine stops in the city and introduced him to all his contacts.
Suddenly Samuel had a host of friends and admirers he never imagined before. Often Camia and baby Sintia joined in these journeys into town. It made the complete family group Tremiyo had often dreamed of.
Serou’s villa by the lake had been completely remodeled. It was like a new home for the wealthy. His sense of hospitality added to the joy he saw in his long time friend and companion. Tremiyo opened the doors to the villa for Samuel and Amin Hassan. It has been said many times that a man can be removed from his caravan ways. But you cannot remove the caravan ways from the man. Soon Amin Hassan had pitched his tent by the lake and had his camels secured nearby. There he was happy, not inside rock walls and cozy bedse was not happy living in comfort, he missed the hardship of road life. There was glory in hard earned rest. China was still an unforgotten call. He explained his feelings to Samuel and alerted him to his sudden disappearance when it came about. Adding that he could never stand painful departures. It was best for him to leave with his sorrows silently in his pocket.
Tremiyo was busy making his son’s stay as comfortable as possible. Whereas Samuel was soon bored with the controlled routine in which his father lived. He was unable to accept free meals and the money his father offered and stayed busy with menial tasks to justify the expense of keeping him . Tremiyo told him countless times that he need not concern himself with anything. His needs were Tremiyo’s needs and that after all this time home was the best place to be. And he was home. “I cannot stay papa, I have a lust to wander. The manager of my soul ha become a very restless gypsy. But I’d like to do some useful work in my travels. What can you tell me of this woman named Magdalene? Trail talk says that She is the silent leader of the pack that runs with Jesus of Nazareth, a prophet of dubious distinction. I’m interested in knowing more about her friend Claudia the wife of Pontius Pilate. It is said they became friends while serving as priestesses at the temple of Isis. Some real saucy stores seem to follow those two women.”
The description of Iesus by young Samuel was a hard slap to the face of Tremiyo. He found it difficult to turn the other cheek. It’s never easy to forgive loud voices short on knowledge and Samuel was his son too long lost to jeopardize a rift between them. Hard set minds take time to turn around. After a long breath and a slow release Tremiyo spoke in measured words, “I (sigh) think I have a solution to your quest. Your brother-in-law Onofrio is often in Pilate’s audience with
Work he and Serou do for Yerushalayim and the Hebrew council. Pilate is in search of a chariot driver to take him where he needs to go. The same charioteer will escort his wife Claudia, where she wants to go. If he accepts you, it will put you at the fountain of your quest. As for Magdalene, ask anybody on the street and you will hear a dozen concepts to the saucy stories you have heard from far away critics with old worn out information. Your concept of Iesus, I will let the street and Onofrio guide you to a better understanding.
Meet Pontius Pilate
To greet the first light of day was a ritual practiced by Onofrio since childhood. Nature called to his soul for daily praise. A delicate shade of mauve tinted the eastern horizon with tiny flecks of gold peeping through transparent veils of clouds. Overhead fading stars seemed to bid him goodbye. He knew them well and cherished their presence. Senobia was asleep on her side with a toy doll on her pillow as a childhood companion she refused to abandon. It was Adonis.
He would dress for the occasion and take Samuel before Pilate to introduce him and request the position of charioteer. Tremiyo was his usual commanding officer in the vast kitchens of Serou. Samuel spit polished and looking anxious waited by the huge table that served as Tremiyo’s headquarters desk. Outside the window people were already working harvesting, weeding and planting the vast garden. Soon trays of breakfast choices began to arrive. The delectable aroma of fresh baked bread, bowls of honey, figs, dates and milk drinks were a virtual feast for young Samuel not accustomed to such abundance. Small selections of cheeses, containers with melted butter to go on hot bread, the smell of it all could rouse a man from deep sleep. A familiar servant girl brought a tray of Red and orange pomegranates and put it close to Tremiyo’s usual place. The ritual of breakfast had become routine for Onofrio who dug in with zest. It was long time since dinner last night.
After what seemed an eternity, two young men appropriately dressed waited in obvious anticipation to see Pontius Pilate. The governor was in a fierce screaming contest with a host of Hebrew priests. He pounded his fist on a table and in resolve terminated the interview with the disgruntled dignitaries. They left in anger and ill content. No question about it, they called Pilate everything in the book of Hebrews except a son of god. It was in the Hebrew council’s system to always leave a point to discuss further at another time. It was a strategy to win time and turn an argument in their favor. It worked. The governor took time to himself, apparently some cooling off time. Seemingly refreshed, he even had his hair re-brushed into place and wore a long burgundy tunic with gleaming white sleeves. The garment announced royalty with its gold braid trim in symmetrical oblong patterns down his arms. He returned to attend a gentleman ahead of Samuel and Onofrio. Their business was conducted swiftly, congenially and with the proper handshakes, the man was escorted out a secondary door. After pushing around some forms on his huge desk, he looked up as if he just now recognized Onofrio. It seemed a pointless gesture but Onofrio chose to ignore it. He was expected to look busy. He seemed to reassure himself or perhaps Onofrio imagined it. Pilate nonetheless took a deep breath and visibly rearranged his face then extended his hand to Onofrio like a long lost kin. The man could be a genial host under the proper circumstances. He greeted Onofrio warmly even if his voice sounded a bit insincere. “Onofrio de Serou, it’s good to see you. What brings you to me this day? With matching sincerity Onofrio grasped the Roman forearm salute and smiled amiably.
“I bring my newly recovered brother-in-law to present to you as a new citizen of Yerushalayim. This is Samuel son of Tremiyo, Stewart of the house of Serou.” “Onofrio, you don’t need to remind me of Tremiyo’s social station. I know who Tremiyo is.” A bit annoyed the governor soon lost his geniality but quickly recovered it. “ I heard about the lost boy being restored to his father by a caravan leader. I’m glad to know for sure it was the son of Tremiyo. But, please tell me first. Please. Is he Jewish? Laughingly and understanding why the question came about. Onofrio had to assure the governor, “No sir. His father is from Iberia and his mother was true Greek. And three men found joy in laughter. “We learned that you seek a charioteer to take you on your daily business and also escort the lady Claudia to her needs although it is known that she is a good chariot driver. Since Samuel refuses to accept money from his father, we came to ask you to consider this young man for your needs and those of your wife.”
“I have a charioteer already,” Pontius replied giving thought to the offer. Slowly, he came to Samuel as if to gauge the boy barely in his twenties. A young hardy individual, his looks, profile and general appearance met approval. Since he didn’t look Jewish. He could make use of such a young man. Might even give his household staff something new to think about. He was confident of his wife’s fidelity to think anything out of propriety regarding her. Claudia was stain proof virtue in the flesh.
“Be here in the morning, I’ll have someone outline your duties and escort you to my home for your quarters there and equipment you’ll be using. Bring your clothes, you’ll not be going home soon. You have much to learn about my requirements. I yell loud, but you’ll learn I bite easy. Pontius reached to a container on his desk and retrieved two gold coins of respectable denomination and gave them to Samuel. “Have a haircut and a professional shave. You’re too young to grow a respectable beard. So shave off that fuzz. I expect to see a good
Roman style haircut next time I see you. Have Onofrio help you buy some clothes suitable to your new position. You want to look, clean and impressive being in the governor’s company. I don’t run a caravan of camels and donkeys here. You now represent Rome. You must look the part. Take lessons from your new brother-in-law, he has much to teach you.” “With a tone of finality the interview was terminated and Pontius went to his next challenge waiting in the hallway.
Leaving the praetoriun for their chariot Samuel was a long time silent. Wild thoughts running like a scared creature through his mind. Suddenly he wasn’t sure he wanted the position. It called for routine, confinement, restrictions and the same boring place every day. He was forced to question why he wanted the position in the first place. He listened to camp fire stories about the Prophet, Iesus. His women, that all loved him and paid to hear him simply speak. Women that paid for his food, clothes and provided him with sleeping accommodations, almost every night. Elaborate fantasies exploded from those exaggerated campfire chapters. He wanted to meet the disciple’s disciple and her Priestess friend, Claudia the Procurators wife. Now that the door was flung wide open to all that, Samuel was awed by his own ambition. He felt as though it was far more than he anticipated.
He never dreamed that his goal could be so easily attained. But here he was living in his father’s house, treated like an honored guest. He now had money in his purse, a paid trip to the barber with all the trimmings and new clothes to show for no effort of his own.
Could he copy the works of the Nazarene and preach his way to China, all expenses paid plus gratuities and special favors? He could install many definitions to the term “special favors.”
Onofrio did not feel qualified to discuss the works of the Nazarene. Iesus’ mission was best explained by Mary of Magdala. Now known as the disciple of the disciples within closed circles.
At a place where disciples of Iesus were known to meet Onofrio bought lunch complete with wine. Lounging at ease they waited for familiar faces to show up. The wine girl had shown an interest in Onofrio before and seemed glad to see him today. He gestured her to come close and quietly asked, “Do you know where I can find Mary of Magdala today?” Almost angry she raised to full posture to ask, “Why her? There’s others younger and prettier. Then there’s me.” Onofrio waved his hands before her face and pointed a finger for her to see. He dipped his finger in his wine glass and outlined the image of a fish on the table and pointed to Samuel. “Ooh, she said happily. For him? She has the experience he might need as young as he is.” The girl was a one tract mind in the flesh. “It’s important we find her,” Onofrio added with a coin in his finger tips. “I’ll find out. Be back in a few minutes,“ the girl stated and went into the crowd. Shortly after the girl returned. “I know where she might be later. But it’s going to cost you two coins. One for me and one for my husband.” “Your husb—?” Onofrio almost blurted out. “Well”, the girl responded “you went off and got married without asking me first.” She made a successful grab at her coin and held her other hand palm up with fingers signaling “gimme.” Onofrio complied with a smile and the girl reported “they Meet at the cave of the nativity in Bethlehem at dark, tonight. Magdalene is preaching.” The men stood up to leave and for pure boyish meanness Onofrio smacked her on the butt and asked, “Couldn’t wait for me, Huh?” “Well, I would have, if you asked me,” was her naïve reply. The incident produced a laugh among brothers. Both knowing the girl would always be a bedroom toy and perhaps never a permanent fixture.
Samuel was first to bring up the subject of Iesus and his teachings that had the world in a stir all the way to China. He wanted to know if the man wore magician’s clothes when he performed healing miracles and made the dead walk and breathe again. His own laughter when he presented his view was cause for Onofrio to decide that his brother-in-law would have to decide for himself what the virtues of Iesus were. To impose his views at this time may not serve their relationship well. That point made clear in Onofrio’s mind, he stated it clearly to Samuel. “Every man should place his faith within the realm of his own understanding and acceptance. A man should depend solely on himself and not be influenced by others. A man that can do that becomes dedicated to his convictions.” As if the book had been shut, the inquiry met an end.
The way to Bethlehem was a mere five and a half miles. An easy stroll for his tireless horses. Once away from Yerushalayim the road grew lonely for travelers. For a short distance they had the road all to themselves. Then the few walking people they passed multiplied into tens and soon they multiplied again into twenties. Next the road was congested with travelers that spooked the horses and made it difficult to navigate safely. Samuel laughed quietly and stated, “Looks like the circus come to town.” No comment from the driver.
The cave of the Nativity was reputed to be the birthplace of Iesus of Nazareth. Although never truly confirmed, it basked in the fame and attention just the same. The businesses close by all prospered without mercy and each merchant could guide you to the precise location of the birth of Iesus, for a fee of course.
In a field reserved for animals, Onofrio found a barn to shelter and care for his horses. He paid the man a fee in advance and asked his horses be fed quality grain and fresh grass with clean water. “Treat my animals right and there will be more of this, when we return,” and he plunked down some coins in the man’s open palm.
Language and attire went berserk as the melee grew denser close to the entrance of the cave. Vendors tried to attract attention to their wares by a heedless crowd. Screams and yells became the language of the mob. Shoves and pushes the message of the day. Finally they entered a vast room that glowed with torch lights. At the front of
the congregation, stood a woman dressed in all white. Regal, stone hard yet in unquestioned feminine grace. Surrounded by men of respectable stature, she was the Focal point of the gathering. Samuel like a boy gone to circus was amused and curious as to what this attractive woman offered that drove this crowd into a frenzy?
With arms spread out and without a word spoken, Maria de Magdala brought the restless crowd to a receding hum. Then respectful silence. The humor seeking young Samuel was awed by such a silent command so graciously accepted without argument.
“I am Mary of Magdala. I am one of you among you. I seek solace for my heart at our loss of the son of God, Iesus of Nazareth. I come before you as a student of his words, deeds and mission on earth. I am honored to the highest degree that I should be his spoke person. I bring to you the keys to your salvation from sin. I bring to you the door knob to heaven. I will attempt to lay that knob to heaven in your hands, here. Tonight. The words I speak to you come from my heart and my heart is guided by my trust in our Lord and savior, Iesus.
Six days before the Passover,
Jesus came to Bethany. They
made him a supper; Martha
served and Lazarus was one
of those at the table with him.
Mary took a pound of costly
Nard and anointed the feet
of Jesus and wiped his feet
with her hair; and the house
was filled with the fragrance
of the ointment.
John 12: 1-3 KJV
THE TRIUMPHANT ENTRY
Come, drop your branches, strow the way,
Plants of the day!
Whom sufferings make most green and gay.
The king of grief, the man of sorrow
Weeping still, like the wet morrow,
Your shades and freshness come to borrow.
Put on, put on your best array;
Let the joyed road make holy-day,
And flowers, that into field do stray,
Or secret groves, keep the high-way.
Trees, flowers and herbs; birds beasts and stones.
That since man fell, expect with groans
To see the lamb, come, all at once,
Lift up your heads and leave your moans!
For here comes he whose death will be
Man’s life, and your full liberty.
Hark! How the children shrill and high
Their joys provoke the distant sky,
Where thrones and seraphim reply;
And their own angels shine and sing
Into a bright ring;
Such young, sweet mirth
Makes heaven and earth
Join in joyful symphony.
Henry Vaughan 1622-1695
The crowd cheered unanimously and those that did not understand followed suit to keep from looking ignorant. If the majority agreed, it must be right.
“I was at the cross where he was crucified. I was there with his mother and her aunt Mary Salome. We were united in agony and faith that his ordeal was not suffered in vain. And yes, I loved him. I loved him dearly from the very depths of my soul. He was my brother. He was my mentor. He was my soul mate but never my lover.” And she pointed a finger to heaven for emphasis. “Our God in heaven works many miracles for those of us that have the strength to answer to his demands. Within this crowd is a man, a young man whom many of you may know. He is Onofrio el Segundo, adopted son of Serou. If I am not imposing, I will ask this young warrior of faith to speak to you about his assignment given to him directly from God.
He was given the task of building the cross on Which Iesus died. Without that cross, the keys to salvation would not exist. Iesus died on that painful cross to sanctify us from our sins. He paid the penalty for all of us. Without that cross, I would not have the door knob to heaven to give you. Accept Iesus as the Lord of your life here in this place of Devine blessings. For it was in this area that my Lord Iesus was born. It was here that the keys to eternal salvation first saw light. It is here tonight, shedding light and asking with arms wide open that you come into his arms and be eternally free of sin, that you may dwell in paradise.” Samuel looked up to his brother-in-law to see rivers of crystal tears rolling down his face. He thought he saw a golden crown around his head, but it was only the flickering light from the torches playing in his hair. Onofrio’s head was bowed in deep reverence and remained speechless. His heart beat to a rhythm he never felt before. It was musical, it was warm, it was inspiring to speak and yet he could not. It was his brother-in-law that broke the spell, “What’s the matter? Devil got your tongue?”
Samuel’s quirky look on his face shone brightly in the torch light. And Onofrio saw Senobia in her brother’s face. She would be proud of her husband if he spoke to this group about his day with Iesus at Golgotha. He need not go to Iberia and tell the crowds of his day with the Lord. The crowds had come to him. Sent to him by God. There could be no other explanation. Armed with her love in his left side secret pocket the young warrior of faith politely began to excuse himself through the crowd, followed by Samuel. Halfway to the front a hand reached out to Onofrio. It was the once ragged jeweler that designed his wedding rings and was present at Golgotha. “If you need me to confirm what you say. I am your witness. I was there also, remember?” Gently Onofrio accepted the man’s assistance and pointed to the head of the crowd. Never in his wildest dream had he expected to be so cheered. And yet here was the echo of adoration of which he felt unworthy. He was only a working man doing his job. And he did it for money and that part seemed to hurt the most. “Rather than me telling you of my day with Iesus perhaps I can answer your anxiety better by answering ten questions. I will answer ten questions, like the ten commandments written by God’s finger for Moses on a stone tablet.” Had not an old woman and Centurion Clemidius told him that he had the power to lead when he found the reins of his destiny? Yes, they had and was this his destiny? To stand before a crowd of strangers and offer them salvation of their sins and a place to reside in heaven? He Looked to the sky not visible from inside the cave and had to plead, “Lord I am in your hands. Lead me to where I can do the most good.” Samuel and the jeweler stood back as if gently pushed aside by an unseen force. A gruff looking man pushed himself forward, “I have the first question” And waved his hands to silence all. “Is this raggedly carpenter from the pits of Nazareth really the son of God? Answer loudly because I want to hear you condemn yourself to eternal hell for lying to these good people. They came here for a dose of faith not a bag of lies. So think well before you answer.” Suddenly Onofrio felt a calm overtake him. He felt at peace. The momentary annoyance this rude man caused simply slipped off his shoulders with ease.
“A very good question sir, I think that question dwells in the mind of most people here. I welcome it and will personally give you my best answer. How many of you good people here believe in the Greek God Zeus. Fear not, answer with hands raised.” And many hands went into the air. “How many of you believe in Jupiter, god of Rome?” And a separate selection of hands took to the air.
“Both these gods came to earth on missions of godly design. Both of these gods became fathers to earthly beings by way of human females. Jesus is the son of the god Yehwah. An unknown god by many but no less Devine. He performed his first miracle by instilling in holy Mary of Nazareth a child and not disturb her virginity. That virginity existed after the child was delivered. Physical evidence of that existence was verified by the women that examined her personally. One woman’s hand was gnarled to disfigurement for doubting the works of Yahweh. With that as proof, I answer your question. Yes, Jesus is the son of God and He was sent here on a godly mission just like Zeus and Jupiter. None of those old gods promised eternal salvation, a clean soul on which to rest in eternal peace. The most precious element in man is his soul and it’s given free of charge by Yahweh. But please allow me to answer your question further. Think on this, sir.” And Onofrio unwillingly saw the face of Satan on his tormentor but it did not stop him.
“God changes caterpillars into butterflies by death and resurrection. He makes pearls from sand and converts coal into diamonds. Using time and pressure, He is also working on you, sir. Tonight, God has installed an embryo of faith in your heart. Given time it will grow.”
Onofrio had never been intimidated by aggressive forces. He had lived with some to them and overcome their infestation of his soul. To the best of his borrowed ability, he answered nine more questions and was won over by booming applause. He learned on the spot to respect the power of adoration. It could consume the soul given a chance.
Magdalene beckoned him to her side. She thanked him profusely and Onofrio took the opportunity to push this follow-every-step Samuel into her presence. “The reason I came to you is because my brother-in-law Samuel wanted to meet you and perhaps be of service to you. He is in quest of knowledge regarding the Nazarene.”