I was watching the telly the other night and was much amused when I realised why all of the supermarkets seem to be advertising lamb joints at the moment. Ah yes, it's Easter and roast lamb is what people generally have for their lunch on Easter Sunday. Well, you know how it goes..... the Bible tells us that Jesus was the Lamb of God, and Easter is the most special of all the Christian festivals because it is the day when Jesus, the Lamb of God, rose up from the dead. Hmm. But how best to celebrate this? I know! Roast lamb for dinner!
Other cultures could surely be forgiven for wondering what kind of weird cannibal cult Christianity is. This is the religion, after all, that has a regular ritual that involves the eating and drinking of their Lord's flesh:
John 6:51-58: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world." The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?" Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Most sane people can surely understand where the Jews were coming from there ("WTF?"), but Jesus seems pretty sure and the Catholic church in particular is most specific on this point.... we're not talking about a symbolic transformation of bread into body and cheap wine into Christ's blood at Eucharist, we're talking about an actual, honest-to-goodness transformation. Transubstantiation or bust, baby. You spill that stuff, you're burning the carpet.
So, to recap the Bible's restaurant rules: shellfish: no. Flesh of the Son of Man: yes.
With that in mind, maybe having lamb for lunch this Sunday perhaps isn't quite so weird, relatively speaking. After all, no one's saying that anything at the dinner table has been literally transformed into anything. At least, I don't think they are.
On the whole - and this is a pretty good rule for life - I'm with Monty Python on this:
Gregory: What was that?
Man: I think it was, "Blessed are the cheesemakers"!
Gregory's wife: What's so special about the cheesemakers?
Gregory: Well, obviously it's not meant to be taken literally. It refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.
Jesus has been seriously misquoted and mistranslated over the years and everyone knows that Easter is really all about chocolate eggs. Besides, I'm spending Easter with a house full of vegetarians, so... (how do vegetarian Catholics cope with the Eucharist, incidentally.... when Jesus talks about being 'living bread', he's still technically meat, right?)
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