As an example of powerful Biblical interpretation which combines the different approaches approved by the Pontifical Biblical Commission of which I wrote yesterday, I would now like to present to you a powerful reflection by Michael B Kelly. This was originally presented as a keynote address to the Australian lesbian and gay Catholic group “Acceptance” back in 1997. An edited text is reprinted in his book, “Seduced by Grace: Contemporary spirituality, Gay experience and Christian faith“.
Michael’s interpretation is notable for the way in which he places the familiar story of Emmaus firmly within the broader context of Luke’s Gospel, and specifically its narrative of the Resurrection.
In this, he is well within both the canonical tradition of looking at the Bible as a whole, as well as the literary/narrative approach. He stresses the psychological context of the disciples in the immmediate aftermath of the Crucifixion, but also the social context: the male leaders as religious insiders locked in fear of the authorities, but also unwilling to believe the reports of the women, who were outsiders. He also notes Luke’s background as an educated Greek, writing in Greek, for a Gentile audience, to whom same sex relationships would have appeared commonplace and morally neutral. This puts him firmly within the cultural anthropology approach, but also prepares the way for his great pastoral insight: as nothing is stated in the text about the sexual orientation of the disciples on the road, we may legitimately imagine them as gay men or lesbians. By placing his interpretation bang in the middle of the contextual approach, he transforms a familiar story into a profoundly fresh metaphor for our prophetic role in the church. Continue reading The Road from Emmaus: Gay & Lesbian Prophetic Role