Emmaus 2014

I have often groused about how the only time in the three-year Sunday morning lectionary cycle we get the Emmaus Road story is Easter 3 in Year A, the year of Matthew. Those lectionary elves!

Ah, but here we are. It is Year A, yesterday was Easter 3, and we got the Emmaus passage. I’m not sure that’s it’s my favorite set of verses in the Bible, but it is no doubt my favorite Bible narrative. If you’re not familiar with the story or want to re-read it, it’s here.

Although Cleopas’ companion is generally considered to be a man, there is a school of thought that suggests his companion was his wife. The thinking goes that since Cleopas is named but his companion is not, given the culture and mores of first century Judah, his companion must be a woman. Given that the only woman a man would be traveling with in that culture would be his wife, the companion must be Cleopas’ wife.

I like that idea. I think it adds a nice balance to the story. Whatever the gender of Cleopas’ companion, the passage reminds me that Christ, that God, can be with us and we don’t always recognize it at the time. Even sometimes in those numinous experiences (“Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road…”) we sometimes don’t realize what happened until afterwards.

Emmaus may not be a historical event, but it is all about our experiences of God in our lives today. As John Dominic Crossan wrote, “Emmaus never happened. Emmaus always happens.”

Here’s my Emmaus blogs from 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. And here’s a reflection on Emmaus from the perspective of Dorothee Soelle.

Painting by Emmanuel Garibay in which Jesus, rather than Cleopas' companion, is portrayed as a woman. Thanks to Jane Redmont for the reference.

“Emmaus” by Filipino artist Emmanuel Garibay. Jesus, rather than Cleopas’ companion, is portrayed here as a woman. Thanks to Jane Redmont for the reference.


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