Can you support someone when they hurt you?
Cleopas and another disciple (Fr. Mike Schmitz suggests that this was husband and wife) are walking from Jerusalem to another village, probably their home, discussing the tragic events of the crucifixion of Jesus. They hurt. They need support. They talk to each other.
But it is likely they were Jews. So adding to the tragedy is the reality that the leaders of their own religion were responsible for the events that publicly executed the one they saw as Lord and the one whose death dashed their hopes and dreams. “But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel.“
We were hoping. Our hopes are dashed. What now? To what degree have these two disciples made significant sacrifices to follow this Jesus, to place their hopes in him. In what way do they now need to go back to what was, difficult because they got more than a taste of what could be?
They really are dealing with issues of hurt, and issues of how now, without Jesus, they can receive the support they need. Can they, in their hurt, forgive the Jewish leaders who cooperated in the death of Jesus? Fortunately, the events at the end of the gospel help to show how both are going to happen.
Because Jesus the stranger comes upon the scene. He helps them to see that all they had hoped for was true all along. That these events they struggle with were all part of the saving plan of God. They can forgive. They have direction. And how did all this come about? In the breaking of the bread.
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