Theresa Doyle-Nelson enjoys researching and writing about holy people from the Bible. She has written for a variety of Catholic resources and is the author of Saints in Scripture. Theresa and her husband Chad have been married for over 30 years, and although their nest is now empty, their three adult sons have growing families — providing enjoyable opportunities for growing gatherings and grandchildren graces! Theresa and Chad are parishioners at the beautiful and historic St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Bandera, Texas. You can find Theresa’s blog, “The Hill Country Hermit” at TheresaDoyle-Nelson.blogspot.com.
He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” 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?” ―Luke 24:17a, 18
Luke’s Gospel offers a unique post-resurrection narrative not found in the other three Gospels. There were two people: one was Cleopas, and the other is unnamed. Cleopas and his traveling companion were on their way to Emmaus, a town about 7 miles from Jerusalem. The two travelers felt troubled over the recent death of Jesus. They had placed great hopes in Christ and felt confused over his passing and yet were simultaneously amazed over the stories circulating that day about a resurrection.
As they walked along, Jesus happened by; however, the travelers were unable to recognize him. When Jesus asked them what they were talking about, they began to explain—astonished that he had not heard of all the events that had just occurred in Jerusalem.
Jesus replied to their comments by pointing out Scripture verses from the prophets in an attempt to help Cleopas and his friend understand the necessity of the sad happenings. The words of Jesus must have given the two a sense of awe, for as they approached Emmaus, they urged Jesus―whom they still did not recognize―to stay with them. Jesus evidently agreed, and at the dinner table, he took the bread, blessed it, and gave it to Cleopas and his friend. It was at that moment the two realized that this stranger was Jesus. At the moment of recognition, however, Jesus vanished. Even though it was already evening and getting dark, Cleopas and his companion promptly went back to Jerusalem to share their glorious experience.
Some claim that Cleopas was the husband of Mary of Clopas (who was perhaps his traveling companion on the road to Emmaus?), attributing the different spellings (Cleopas versus Clopas) to different authors. Some also claim that Cleopas could be the father to the apostle James, son of Alphaeus (May 3), citing that Cleopas/Clopas could be a variant of the name Alphaeus. It has also been asserted that Cleopas may have been the father of St. Simon of Jerusalem.
Pondering St. Cleopas through Scripture
Not a great deal of text within the Bible discusses St. Cleopas; however, what is offered is valuable for mulling over. Below are a handful of St. Cleopas-relevant verses to thoughtfully study and reflect—how does this walking saint inspire your heart? The memorial of St. Cleopas is Sept. 25. Some might consider him to be a perfect saint to request prayers from when taking a journey.
- Luke 24:13–35
- John 19:25
- Luke 6:15