The Road of Discipleship

Road to Emmaus Icon

Image: Sister Marie-Paul/The Printery House

Description via The Printery House.

The vivid story of two disciple’s encounter with the Resurrected Christ on the road to Emmaus is found in chapter 24 of Luke’s Gospel. The scene has often been rendered in western European art. The painting, “Supper at Emmaus” by Caravaggio is particularly famous. However, icons of this very familiar story are rare. The image we have reproduced for you here is an original by Sister Marie-Paul and is especially unusual in that one of the disciples is female. There actually is excellent scriptural and traditional evidence for identifying the unnamed disciple as a woman. The man is named as Clopas or Cleopas (Luke 24:18). Elsewhere, a woman named Mary (often called “the other Mary” to distinguish her from Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene) is named as the wife of Clopas (John 19:25). Still elsewhere, this Mary is identified as the mother of the Apostle James the Less and Joses (Mark 15:40). So the most likely companion for Clopas on the Road to Emmaus would be his wife Mary, who had been a witness to the Crucifixion and to the empty tomb (Mark 16:1).

I found this icon at our local Catholic bookstore, and I love it for two reasons. The story of the “Road to Emmaus” (Luke 24:13-35) has always seemed to me to be a prefiguring of the Mass. We meet Jesus on the road of our lives each Sunday or Holy Day, and we walk with him for awhile. He speaks to us through the Scriptures, and especially in his own words through the Gospel. And then he becomes known to us in the breaking of the Bread. The eyes of our faith are opened, and we believe that he is with us in the Blessed Sacrament.

The other reason I love this icon is that the unnamed disciple is female. This weekend, my daughter will take the next step on her own road of discipleship as she receives the Body and Blood of Christ for the first time. This icon is a reminder to her, and to every other woman who follows Jesus on the road, that she is as much a part of the Body of Christ, as the men who walk alongside her.

For “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

Bloggerhood Etc. 4/14/14

Photo: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Photo: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Welcome to Palindrome Week! That right, this week (at least in the US) every date is a palindrome. Exciting, huh? Well, here’s the best of the last, semi-palindromic week from around the blogosphere.

Best Remembrance.Hank Aaron’s Homer and the Most Revered Record in Sports” by Grant Brisbee at SB Nation.

Best Special Needs Post.The Exquisite Joy of Nothing” by Robert Rummel-Hudson at Support for Special Needs.

Brightest Post.Bright Spot” by Cara Strickland at Little Did She Know.

Most Hopeful (in Spite of its Title).The World Would be a Better Place if We All Died …” by Brandon Andress.

Best Psychological Analysis.REF RAGE: A Study of Our NCAA Tournament Frustrations and Hatreds” by Jon Bois at SB Nation.

Best Parenting Post.The Saint of the NICU” by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary.

Best Headline.Meet the Prizewinning Catholic Biologist Creationists Can’t Stand” by Karl W. Giberson at The Daily Beast.

Best Synchroblog.The Day it Felt Like Church” by Chris Morton (and several other bloggers) at Growth and Mission.

Best Question.Why Can’t My Son Receive the Eucharist?” by Anna Nussbaum Keating at First Things.

Most Likely to Make You Cry.The Lessons of Princess Lacey” by Kurt Mensching at SB Nation.

Best Advice.How To Be A Christian Without Being A Total $@#& About It” by Benjamin L. Corey at Formerly Fundie.

Best Video Mashup.Spoiler Alert – Supercut!” by Screen Junkies (via YouTube).

And like that … the movie’s ruined!

The Crowd of Witnesses

Crowd in St. Peter's Square

Pope Francis’ first Angelus blessing March 17. (Photo: Joshua J. McElwee/NCR)

I hate crowds.

I hate being in the middle of a mass of people. I hate standing in long lines. I hate traffic jams. And I hate elevators most of all.

Maybe it’s because I’m claustrophobic. Or because I’ve lived in big cities most of my life. But I would rather be in a big, open space, either by myself or with a few people, with room to stretch out and breathe.

I hate crowds. With one exception.

As much as I love praying alone in a beautiful old church, I love it even more when I’m surrounded by people at Mass. I love joining my prayers with others and I love seeing the long lines leading up to the altar as each member of the Body of Christ takes a turn receiving the Body of Christ.

And in my imagination I can see all the people in all the churches in the world united with Christ. One Bread, One Body.

And that unity goes beyond the Mass. When I say the familiar prayers with my family or I pray the Liturgy of the Hours, trying to time my prayers to coincide with the monks at Mt. Angel Abbey (as much as my schedule allows) I know that I am part of that great cloud of witnesses.

That great crowd of witnesses. In heaven and on earth. The Communion of Saints.

That’s the one crowd I want to be in.

Five Minute Friday

Note: This Five Minute Friday post was delayed one day due to circumstances beyond my control, but since I usually take longer than five minutes to write these posts, consider it a Six-Minute Saturday.