Finally, it is Peter with his wiry salt-and-pepper hair who clears his throat.
"Master, we have been talking and...," Peter hesitates and Jesus now turns around, His face fully composed and He looks upon His Rock with great love.
"And what have you discussed? Come, open your hearts to Me, that I might help you."
Well, it seems only prudent to us that you remain here for the Passover meal," Peter hurriedly explains, gesturing for support from his fellow apostles.
There is a chorus of "Yes, Master. Listen to your Peter. Even John agrees," and so forth.
Peter encouraged, hurries on in his speech. "Master, we only seek to keep you from harm. It is difficult for us to understand these events. While only a few days ago it was like, a a..."
A tide of praise for you, Master!" says Thomas enthusiastically.
All the people proclaimed You! They sang Hosanna to You!" says Andrew.
But the mood has swiftly changed," murmurs James, John's brother.
"And the rumors abound everywhere of plots against You," confesses James, our Lord's cousin and brother of Jude Thaddeus.
So, Lazarus has offered us his home. We will be safe here," summarizes Peter. "The Romans respect Lazarus and therefore the Sanhedrin dare not come against him."
Let us celebrate Passover here, Lord," says Simon Zealot. "Soon the dissenters will disperse and..."
"Have you not yet understood?" Jesus asks with an infinite weariness in His voice. "It is the hour. You each know the Scriptures, and all that has been revealed concerning the Messiah. I am He, the Son of God. I have come to fulfill the Father's will. And to do that all of Scripture must be fulfilled."
"But..." Peter stops short and lowers his head. There are no words left to say. Jesus is Master. The Apostles, like lost little boys, shuffle uncomfortably and await a reproof.
"You are My cornerstones. You must also pass through this great trial. And not only you alone. For I solemnly tell you that in all future generations, down to the last man upon earth, all who follow My way - the only way of salvation - must likewise be tested and pass through great trial. But be not troubled. For you shall yet have the power of the Spirit to teach you many things. This is yet to be given you. Rely upon My words and receive My blessing. We shall go tomorrow to Jerusalem for Passover. I will give you all necessary instructions in the morning. Also, I shall speak to Lazarus that he, also, might understand. Now I ask you to be at peace, and in that peace to be as one in prayer that the hour of trial may not catch you unprepared. Go now. I will speak now to My Mother."
The apostles leave in groups of two and threes. There is silence among them as they ponder His words. They move off, in the direction of the large house, and take a different path when they realize that Jesus' Mother has come along a path so quietly that only her Son noticed.
"Son, You are weary. Sit and rest," says Mary with all love and concern.
Jesus takes His Blessed Mother's hand and together they sit upon the bench. There is silence, broken only by the call of a bird, the rustling of a hot breeze through the trees. They remain in silence, their souls and hearts as one pleading for all mankind before the throne of God. And in this manner peace descends to this hallowd place.
NEXT INSTALLMENT: Part Three of Lesson 3: Our Lady's Meditation on WITH THE APOSTLES ON THE EVE OF PASSOVER