Welcome to Green Reflections, the blog dedicated to reflections on the readings from the Roman Catholic Sunday Lectionary, with particular sensitivity to the needs of the earth. Use this blog to deepen your own awareness of our Creator's desires for the planet and ways that we can appreciate God's goals for the earth,giving it the loving care that it deserves.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
The following are ruminations from Mary, wife of Cleopas whose journey to Emmaus we heard this morning.
“How could I ever forget that first Easter? Cleopas and I were walking home from Jerusalem after the terrible events of Jesus’ death. Both of us were crying and holding hands as we slowly made our way home. We were confused and in the deepest grief that either of us had ever experienced in our lives. Only married five years, the two of us were among the younger disciples of Jesus and He changed our lives dramatically. We discussed what happened and what we were going to do next.
Cleopas ventured, ‘I can’t believe it. I thought sure He was the messiah. Who could ever kill such a gifted and charismatic leader?’
I answered, nearly wailing, ‘I know. He changed our lives completely. When we first married I was resigned to living in the women’s tent, cooking your meals and raising your children. Then we met Jesus and He treated women with such respect! He asked our opinions about various happenings and included us in all His teachings. Why, even you changed, Cleopas! After our first few months following Jesus around and experiencing His ways, you began talking to me like an equal. Some of the Emmausian wives even complained when you took me to live with you in a separate house instead of the common tents that women and men had slept in for centuries!’
‘I know,’ Cleopas replied. ‘Jesus not only showed me that you really were my partner in life, but also an equal. He even opened my eyes to see that so-called sinners were welcome to God. Imagine that! We even eat with tax collectors and prostitutes. I see how God works now: By loving people where they are, people are enabled to become fully who they were made to be, gifts and treasures from the All Holy One. I guess we’d better stop that before our local leaders notice.’
‘How could God allow our religious leaders to murder Jesus, Cleopas?’ I wondered aloud.
‘I don’t know, Love. All I know is that Jesus was able to forgive them from that wretched cross. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to forget what he suffered or be able to forgive our religious leaders. After all, I expect Romans to be butchers, but our religious leadership?’
‘I know it is hard, Cleopas. Jesus changed our lives so completely. I was looking forward to bringing up our children in God’s love and without any fear of Church leaders. Their lives would have been so different from ours. Remember how my dad told me to always keep my eyes lowered around Pharisees and priests so not to attract their attention?’
‘Well, it looks like we had better pay attention to your dad’s advice, God rest him.’
We were going on like this when Jesus appeared on the road beside us. I guess we were so wrapped up in our talk that we never noticed where he came from. He asked us what we were discussing.
Both Cleopas and I stopped dead in our tracks and looked at him through our tear stained eyes. ‘Are you the only one who doesn’t know what happened in Jerusalem this weekend?’
‘What things?’ He asked.
I guess Jesus really understood our hearts and our need to express our shock and disappointment and our grief. But He didn’t let us stay in them. Instead, Jesus began reminding us of the Scriptures and what they said about Him. He interpreted the prophets that said the messiah had to die. He reminded us that He had said He would rise in three days. And He said, ‘Do not be afraid.’ I remember the hope that began to grow in my heart. I’d never responded to any teacher like this, except to Jesus! Just as I thought that maybe the other women were right when they proclaimed that Jesus was alive, He kept on walking right past the road to our house.
‘No, don’t travel on,’ Cleopas insisted. ‘It is nearly night and the roads aren’t safe to travel after sunset. Come stay with us and leave in the morning, instead.’ I nodded my agreement to this arrangement and hurried inside to get some dinner ready. Thankfully, I had plenty of vegetables left in the garden and flour in the jar, so I made a stew and flat bread. Cleopas went to the back room where we kept our wine and poured it into glasses at our table.
We all sat down at table and I should have realized it was Jesus right then and there. I forgot myself and sat next to my husband and this Stranger didn’t object. He acted like this was the most natural thing in the world. As I began to bow my head, I saw something strange.
The Stranger picked up the bread and wine and began the table blessing. How odd! Cleopas was the man of the house. He should have led prayers. As Jesus said the blessing, He broke the bread in half… I couldn’t believe my eyes. Only one person I knew did the blessing like this and my eyes were fully opened and I saw Him right in front of me. This Stranger was Jesus! Both Cleopas and I started laughing and crying and saying, ‘It really is you!’ but Jesus vanished!
We looked at each other and jumped up, forgetting the food completely.
‘We must tell Peter,’ Cleopas said.
‘Yes. We must tell him that everything Jesus said was true. He is truly risen.’
We scurried back to Jerusalem, yacking the whole way. ‘The others must know that nothing can stop Jesus and His message. We can trust His words and live by them since death no longer has power over us! Death is not the end; it is only a passage to eternal life. The God of Love is the Master of the Universe and we belong to Him. There is nothing left to fear.’
We wanted to tell them everything we experienced, but we were greeted at the door with, ‘It is true: Jesus is risen and He has spoken to Peter!’
My goodness, Jesus was busy that day. It seemed to me that He wanted all of His disciples to know that they could live in joy and without fear. Even if the Romans or Church leadership wanted to stop us, we would go on and tell the whole world the good news. Jesus will always be on the paths we travel.”
The Green Nun's Favorite Links
- Audubon Society
- Carbon Footprint Calculator
- Catholic Coalition on Climate Change
- E Magazine
- Earth Literacy Masters Program at SMW College
- Environment California
- Environmental Defense Fund
- Forest Ethics
- Friends of the Earth
- Global Climate Change Report
- Natural Resources Defense Council
- Ocean Conservancy
- Pacific Environment
- Sierra Club
- The Nature Conservancy
- Union of Concerned Scientists
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