Was Jesus always ready when he was called to the sick and the grieving?
And it happened one day that Jesus came to Simon Peter's house to rest after many days of wearisome travel. When he entered, he spoke a greeting and said: "Give me water and food, for I thirst and hunger much.”
And Simon Peter and his wife bade him be welcome, and they gave him a cup of water.
And while Jesus cleansed his body and his robe, Simon Peter's wife prepared him a meal.
When all was ready, she said: "Master, eat, for you sorely need to strengthen your body."
But just then a shepherd entered the room, went over to Simon Peter, greeted him and said: “Know you where I may seek out the Master from Nazareth? Tell me then, for I wish to see him and to speak with him.”
Simon Peter pointed to Jesus, and said: “The one you seek is here!”
Then the shepherd turned to Jesus, greeted him and said: "Master, my aged mother has sent me to you, for she has for a long time lain motionless in her bed; for she is ill and palsied and she is not able to come to you. Master, follow me, for death is drawing near and she wishes much to hear your words."
When he had spoken thus, Jesus rose, and said: "Brother, I follow you."
But the wife of Simon Peter stepped forth and said: “Master, strengthen your body with food and drink, and rest, for you are very tired. The old woman can wait.”
Then Jesus looked upon her, and he answered: “They who grieve and they who suffer shall not call upon me in vain, and death waits neither.”
And he took his staff and departed with the shepherd.
When they had walked for a time along stony roads, they came to a low-lying old hut. And when Jesus entered, he withdrew in haste from the stench that met him. But when in the gloom he discerned an old woman lying outstretched in bed, he went inside once more and he laid his hands on her head, and said: "The Lord's peace be with you."
The old woman greeted him and thanked him.
And Jesus said: “See, I am come; for you wished to speak with me.”
The woman answered: “My time is drawing near; but I am in fear of death and of the wrath of the Most High, for I have sinned against His commandments.”
Jesus looked gently upon her and said: “Those whom God loves, He forgives much.”
But the old woman answered him and said: “I have sinned against the Lord’s commandments, how can He then forgive me?”
Jesus was silent a while, for he spoke with his God and Father; and then he knew how he should form his words.
And after a time he said: "Tell me, where is your daughter, your youngest child? Is she not with you in your old age to give you comfort? For I see only your son, who brought me here.”
The woman answered him and said: “My daughter is no longer here, for she has hardened her heart; for her mother’s home was too poor, and she followed ways her mother did not know."
Jesus looked at her and said: “And you have cursed her and have turned her away?”
Then sudden strength came over the old woman; she rose in bed and cried: "How can a mother curse and turn away that child who has grown up in her sight and at her hands? How can a mother curse and turn away that child she bore to life? Indeed, you know not a mother's heart!"
Jesus laid her gently back on the bed and said: "See, your daughter has sinned against you; and though she has repented not and returned not, yet have you already forgiven her in your heart, forgiven her out of your love for her. Truly, I tell you that when you who are of this world can find forgiveness in your heart for the child who has sinned against you, how much more must our heavenly Father then not forgive His children; for is your love great, then is His greater still. I say to you that never shall you fear death, nor the Lord's wrath; for you have loved much, and you have forgiven much—and much shall also be forgiven you."
Then the old woman took the hands of Jesus and said: "Master, your words have brought solace to my heart and banished my fear; but pray, seek out my daughter, lead her back to the right way; tell her that her mother forgave her before she departed life."
Then the old woman closed her eyes.
And Jesus stayed with her until her spirit was returned home to the heavenly abodes; then he rose from her bedside and traveled back, traveled alone the long and arduous way to Simon Peter's house. And when he reached there he sank to the ground, for he was exhausted from his many travels.
And Simon Peter saw him and helped him inside and offered him rest.
From that time Jesus sought without cease, inquiring about the daughter. But none knew her, and none knew where she was to be found.
But when some time had passed and Jesus was come on a visit to Jerusalem, he heard that the young woman lived in that city and that she abode with a wealthy merchant, and Jesus was shown to that place.
Jesus sought her out, came before her and spoke to her in her mother's name. And he bade her follow him and away from the ways of sin, back to purity and peace. And he brought her old mother's words of love, brought her the old woman's forgiveness.
Then did sorrow and remorse awaken in the daughter's heart. The costly raiment and the glittering jewelry tempted her no longer; and she departed the merchant's house, for they were not wedded; and she accompanied Jesus.
And he brought her to the house of Simon Peter. And Simon Peter and his wife received her with much kindness and they gave her care, and she remained with them.
And this young woman was Mary of Magdala.7
7) The old woman's hut lay in the mountains about four kilometers from the town of Magdala.