Just a Word – Third Sunday of Easter 2020

Just a word… Third Sunday of Easter… April 26, 2020

Why Cleopas? Who was he that the risen Christ should appear to him and his companion, in Luke’s beautifully told Gospel of the road to Emmaus? He was not one of the twelve, and we never hear his name again. Perhaps he was not the greatest of disciples; maybe he always sat on the edge of things, watching, questioning, not fully engaged yet curious about this Jesus person. It could have been that he and his unnamed friend were considered nobodies in the eyes of those closest to Jesus.

But, least of the disciples or not, it was to Cleopas and his companion that Jesus appeared. After wondering why this stranger did not know about all that had happened in Jerusalem, and how the One they had hoped would be the Messiah was killed, and somehow was now alive, this stranger began to unpack the scriptures for them…still they had no idea who he was. It was not until, having invited him to dine with them, that they recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread. Their eyes were opened, and they returned to Jerusalem to proclaim the Good News.

The image of God that Luke presents here is that of the One who walks alongside us, ordinary people, as we go through our everyday lives. Cleopas could have been you, or me… the road to Emmaus could be an ordinary road, one that each one of us might travel every day. That is why this image is so important for us Christians today, and why it is essential to pay attention to how we are to recognize Christ among us. Cleopas and his partner were confused and sad when they met the stranger. Those emotions were transformed into joy when they recognized who it was among them. That movement, from sadness to joy, from being confused and despondent to being commissioned to spread the Word to others, can resonate with our own journeys to faith.

When the travelers stopped focusing on their own sorrow and disappointment, and reached out to offer hospitality to the stranger, their eyes were opened and they saw the truth.

Such is the power of an encounter with the risen Christ.

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