Tuesday, May 10, 2011
‘Christ our Passover Has Been Sacrificed for Us. Therefore Let Us Keep the Feast’
Photo: The Ghent Altarpiece by Jan van Eyck (c. 1432)
‘Christ our Passover Has Been Sacrificed for Us. Therefore Let Us Keep the Feast.’
Most of the ink that has been spilled on this seminal statement of our redemption focuses only on the first half - 'Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us'. But don’t miss the second part, the logical couplet of completion: ‘Let us keep the feast’. Feasting is the message of Eastertide.
St Paul writes: 'For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth'. We must, therefore, feast on the riches of our redemption this season, both spiritually, that is, in our heart of hearts, also in our interactions with others and on our kitchen tables, to boot. For why else did we fast during Lent than to prepare for the feast that is Easter?!?
The primary means by which we feast spiritually, the means by which are souls are fed and nourished, is by feasting on the True Bread of Heaven, ‘which comes down and gives life to the world’, without which, as St. John saith, we have no life in us (St. John 6:53).
And this Bread is the Bread of Life, the Easter Bread of the Most Blessed Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and it is given to us in the Mass, the Holy Communion, the Lord's Supper. For, yea verily, ‘my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them’, promises our Lord Jesus. And this abiding in Christ – He in us and we in Him – is the natural outworking of the resurrected life. Christ has risen so that we may live, be healed and restored to glorify Him.
What I write to you is not hard to comprehend. Do not grumble with this Divine Love, this deigning to love us so intimately, as did the original hearers of this great gift – ‘They began to argue sharply among themselves, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat’? Instead, let us this Eastertide accept this precious Flesh and treasure the gift of the Eucharist as the outpouring of God’s own self and delight forever in its richness.
Christ’s abiding presence in the Sacrament of the Altar is not something we pull out on Sundays as some talisman that makes us feel good and makes us look good. From so many unworthy Communions, Good Lord deliver us!
Through the power of Our Lord’s resurrection, we who have been baptised are drawn into a deeper and infinitely richer life than we once knew, and isn’t this both what we want and what we so desperately need? The grace received in the Eucharist, you see, is the way in which our new life, our ongoing sanctification, is actualised and sustained.
What I have written to you is what it means to feast on Christ, especially in the gift of the Eucharist. We feast not only for sustenance, but also for the grace of transformation.
I am begging us to feast on Him, the Victorious Lamb, this Eastertide. Drink deeply from Him, dear ones, and allow Him to raise you up now and on the last day.
And while you’re feasting, try feasting on these decadent veal chops!
Festal Grilled Veal Chops & Herb Butter
Ingredients for Chops
4 double-eagle veal chops (i.e., two bones in thickness)
8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
Fresh cracked pepper
2 tablespoons of thyme
Ingredients for Herb Butter
2 cups salted butter, softened
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons minced garlic cloves
4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh minced chives
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
Make the herb butter first. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl or blender and mix till smooth. Store at room temp.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and preheat the grill to high heat. Coat the chops on both sides with first the balsamic then the olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Allow chops to rest at room temp for one hour before grilling. Grill chops on very high heat for four minutes per side; the grill will most likely flame up. Remove from grill and transfer to hot oven for an additional 8 minutes. After 8 minutes, remove the chops and insert and instant-read thermometer in the thickest portion. Remove the chops at 125-130 degrees (for medium-rare). They will continue to cook after they’re removed from the heat. Let cooked chops stand for ten minutes before topping with a healthy serving of the herb butter. Serve and enjoy.