That same day, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking to each other about all the things that had happened. While they were talking and debating these things, Jesus himself approached and began to accompany them, but their eyes were not able to recognize him.
He asked, “What is it you are talking about?” The two stood still, looking sad. Then the one named Cleophas answered, “Why, it seems you are the only traveler to Jerusalem who doesn’t know what has happened there these past few days.” And he asked, “What is it?”
They replied, “It is about Jesus of Nazareth. He was a prophet, you know, mighty in word and deed before God and the people. But the chief priests and our rulers sentenced him to death. They handed him over to be crucified. We had hoped that he would redeem Israel.
It is now the third day since all this took place. It is also true that some women of our group have disturbed us. When they went to the tomb at dawn, they did not find his body; and they came and told us that they had had a vision of angels, who said that Jesus was alive. Some of our people went to the tomb and found everything just as the women had said, but they did not find a body in the tomb.”
He said to them, “How dull you are, how slow of understanding! Is the message of the prophets too difficult for you to understand? Is it not written that the Christ should suffer all this, and then enter his glory?” Then starting with Moses, and going through the prophets, he explained to them everything in the Scriptures concerning himself.
As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. When they were at table, he took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece.
Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; but he vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us when he was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?”
They immediately set out and re turned to Jerusalem. There, they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. They were greeted by these words: “Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made himself known, when he broke bread with them.
It is interesting to observe how male chauvinism has had such an impact on the life of the Church (remember: five times more males canonized) and our understanding of Scripture (v.g. Mary Magdelene for centuries branded as a prostitute by Churchmen when we now know that she was nothing of the sort).
Well, today’s gospel reading shows once more male chauvinism raising its ugly head. For there we hear of two disciples of Jesus walking towards Emmaus. One of them is named Cleophas. We learn later that these two men (according to the unanimous interpretation of exegetes—most of whom are men) live together. Are they brothers? Are they gay?
But this episode actually involves, not two men, but a normal couple: Cleophas and his wife, Mary. For we know that Cleophas had a wife and that her name was Mary, because she is named with other women at the foot of the cross: “Standing by cross of Jesus were Mary, the wife of Cleophas” (Jn 19:25). So both of these were disciples of Jesus and now, disillusioned after the crucifixion, they are returning home.
Ask a hundred Christians about this episode and almost all will speak of two male disciples. Why this constant bias? Do women not form half the population of the world?
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