For Jesus, the risen and still incarnate God, it was a busy Sunday.
Confined as the Divine Word had willingly made himself to the physical world, patiently allowing body and intellect to grow, mature and experience human life, it must have been exhilarating for the now glorified humanity of Jesus, united again to his divinity, to be utterly free of the physical constraints of time and space, moving as fast as thought from one place to another.
Paintings and movies notwithstanding, the stone closing his grave was not pushed aside so Jesus could escape entombment. “And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, rolled back the stone and sat upon it” (Matthew 28:2). The angel rolled away the stone to show that Jesus was gone.
An honorable tradition has it that our Lord first visited his mother that Sunday morning. It would surely have been something else for Mary to ponder happily in her heart.
At his tomb Jesus spoke to the holy women who arrived to anoint his body (Matthew 28: 9,10), briefly dropping out of sight to encounter Mary Magdalene, He sent her to the apostles to authenticate the other women’s tale of having seen him alive (John 20:11-18).
After shedding acrid tears of remorse over his triple denial, Simon Peter was visited by the risen Jesus so that, “once you have recovered, you must strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32, 24:34).
Jesus then took off to bump into the saddened Cleophas and another, unnamed, disciple. Concealing his identity Jesus strolled the seven miles to Emmaus with them, citing Scripture as to the Messiah’s suffering; finally revealing himself in the breaking of bread (Luke 24:13-31).
Returning at last to Jerusalem Jesus suddenly stood in the midst of his friends, assuring them he was alive, but upbraiding them for refusing to believe the reports of those to whom he had appeared. Granting them power to forgive and retain sins, he confirmed their mission to take the Good News to all the world. Again, he vanished.
May I to encourage you and your family to enjoy Easter a bit more leisurely, with a hand-packed picnic lunch? Here are some variations on deviled eggs to include, just to show Satan he lost — and because egg shells cracked open are symbolic of the empty tomb.
After hardboiling and peeling a dozen eggs, cut them in half lengthwise, removing the Yolks. In a bowl, mash the yolks, along with any egg whites that didn’t survive cutting. Add two teaspoons of Colman’s dry mustard (make it three teaspoons if you want it hotter) with one tablespoon of prepared mustard and one to two tablespoons of mayonnaise (depending on how wet or dry you want the mixture). For an extra kick, add up to one teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
Mix in half of one small onion, finely chopped, and two tablespoons of crushed black olives (or one tablespoon of black olives with one tablespoon of green olives). Drain both and taste mixture, adjusting flavors as desired. The olive brine is sodium enough, but, absent the olives, stir in 1/2 to one level teaspoon of salt.
After filling egg halves, sprinkle paprika on top.
For another flavorful alternative, crumble one pound of golden, crispy bacon on top of the egg mixture. Cayenne and olives overwhelm the bacon’s flavor, so eliminate them if you opt for bacon. Important note: stir in the bacon last, with just a few turns of a fork, so it won’t lose its character. Again, adding bacon eliminates the need for salt.
For curried eggs, mix the yolks with the same measure of mayonnaise, with two teaspoons of dry dijon mustard, two teaspoons of curry powder, two tablespoons of lime juice, 1/2 cup minced cilantro and half a small, finely chopped red onion, with one teaspoon cayenne. Again, serve with a sprinkle of paprika.
Whatever the entrée, Easter dinner in my youth always included scalloped oysters, one of my parents’ favorite party dishes. It’s quick, delicious — and found on page 210 of the Sherlock Holmes Cookbook:
Ingredients for Scalloped Oysters
1 pint oysters
2 cups crushed saltines
16-20 whole saltines (or Ritz crackers)
1/2 cup oyster liquor
1/2 cup milk
1 /4 cup (1 cube) butter
A few sprinkles of salt and cayenne
Drain and reserve oyster liquor. Cut large oysters in two. In a skillet melt the cube of butter over a low heat to prevent burning. Slowly stir in the crushed crackers. Thickly butter a 9” x 9” x 2” (or similar) casserole dish. Lay whole crackers on the bottom and along the sides.
Lay all the oysters on top of the crackers, dot with butter, sprinkle each a little salt and cayenne. Cover with crushed cracker mixture, slowly add oyster liquor and milk to cover bottom (about 1/4-inch deep). Bake for 20 minutes at 350¬∫ F; serves four to six people.
If you’re greeted (as you should be), “Rejoice and be glad, the Lord is risen!” respond as my son DeForeest has each year since he was three years old, merrily quoting Luke 24:34 in full, “The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon!”