The Road to Emmaus

Posted by Thaddaeus

Luke 24: 13-35

That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.  And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.  He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?”  They stopped, looking downcast.  One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?”  And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”  They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him.  But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place.  Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported
that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive.  Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.”  And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are!  How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!  Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”  Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures.  As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther.  But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.”  So he went in to stay with them.  And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.  With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.  Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”  So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!”  Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.

Background:  On the morning of the Resurrection, Mary Magdalene and some other women go to the tomb.  Among them are Mary Cleopas, Mary Salome, Joanna and Susanna.  These women are close intimates of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  These women provide for Jesus’ ministry out of their means.  Joanna is the wife of Chuza, steward to Herod Antipas.  She is a confidant of Luke; probably one of his sources regarding the Herodian court.  It is also likely that she is the daughter of Theophilis, the later High Priest.  Susanna is a Temple virgin educated in the Temple school.  The Virgin Mary takes her place in the Temple.  Salome is Our Lady’s first cousin.  She marries Zebedee and is the mother of the apostles James and John.  Mary Cleopas is Our Lady’s niece, the daughter of her older sister Mary Heli.  Mary Cleopas becomes the mother of James the Lesser, Joseph (Joses), Simon and Jude, called Thaddaeus.

The Road to Emmaus:  Her father is Cleopas; hence, her last name.  Her husband is Alphaeus, the brother of St. Jospeph.  He is Jesus’ uncle.  The DNA would explain the almost identical physical traits of Jesus and Jude Thaddaeus.  An angel tells the women, “He is going before you to Galilee.”  Overjoyed, Magdalene runs to tell Peter and John.  They do not believe her because women are not considered valid witnesses.  Scripture does not say this, but it seems likely that the other women run to tell Our Lady.  She already knows.  Jesus appears to her first according to tradition.  Cleopas and another disciple go to Galilee.  On the road to Galilee near Emmaus, Jesus reveals himself in the breaking of the bread.  Cleopas is the Greek transliteration of Alphaeus (Aramaic).  The two disciples are most likely Alphaeus (Cleopas) and his wife, Mary Cleopas.  Her identity is undisclosed because women are not valid witnesses.