It’s made with love

by Fr. Jeff

Food. We all have to have it. It’s part of our daily routine and the cycle of life. Without eating, we go hungry.

While making the transition into priestly life, food has been one of those many transitions. While I lived at home with my family for 18 years, I never gave a second thought to where my food would come from. After all, mom cooked. Every day. She started around 4, we ate at 6:30. We did dishes around 7. That was the routine.

In seminary, too, I never had to worry. Food was always in the refectory. It was there at the same time everyday.

But now, the transition has been made. No longer am I at home; no longer am I in seminary. I’m not just the regular patron; I wear the chef’s hat, too.

This evening, I reflected on something while I was cooking: food takes a lot longer to prepare than it does to consume.

Tonight is a perfect example. I was hungry for fish. In early November, some friends took me fishing, and we happened upon a great number of redfish and flounder. They were cleaned, bagged, and frozen. At 5pm I pulled the bag out of the freezer and let it defrost while I went to the store to pick up the rest of the necessary ingredients. By 6:00 I was back in the kitchen at the stove. At 7:45, Fr. Mac and I sat down to enjoy a great meal of baked fish smothered with mushrooms and shrimp with a sweet potato on the side (Thanks, Will C. for the sweet potatoes!).

I remembered one of my dad’s favorite expressions: “Man, this food is great! And I know the secret ingredient: love! It’s made with love!” 

You have shown me that Your Food is no different. While Jesus was on earth, he devoted his life to preparing for that meal. It took time, indeed his entire life, but it was a labor of love. “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you.” (Luke 22:15).

Priests, like any family, spend much of our time preparing for the Meal. We spent years in formation. We pray for guidance. We study the Word carefully. We listen what the Fathers and others have to say. It takes time and a bit of work. In fact, it takes much longer to prepare than to celebrate. But those words of his resonate in our hearts, too: “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you.”

It might take some labor, but it’s always made with love.