12 oz. (350 g) shrimp or tiger prawn, head-on and shell-on
2 1/2 cups shrimp stock (preferred). You could also use chicken stock of you don’t like shrimp stock.
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 3-inch strips, pounded with a cleaver
3 slices galangal
6 kaffir lime leaves, bruised
6 bird’s eyes chilies, pounded
6 fresh oyster mushrooms, cut into pieces
3 teaspoons fish sauce
3 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
Cilantro leaves, for garnishing
1. Peel the shell and head off the shrimp, keep the tails on. Save the shell and shrimp head. Devein the shrimp and set it aside.
2. In a pot, bring 3 cups of water to boil. Add the shrimp head and shell to make shrimp stock. Boil until the water turns slightly orange in colour. Press the shrimp heads with a spatula to extract the juice from the heads. Simmer and let the stock reduce to 2 1/2 cups. Drain the shrimp stock and discard the shrimp heads and shells.
3. Turn the heat to high and add the lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, bird’s eye chilies, mushroom, and the oil. For best flavour use nam prik pao and nam prik pao oil. Add the shrimp stock. Bring it to boil.
4. Add in the shrimp and fish sauce. Lastly, add the lime juice (if you add lime juice too early, the soup might turn bitter). Boil until the shrimps are cooked, dish out, and garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.
Agnus Dei Francisco De Zurbaran 1635 – 1640 Museo del Prado, Madrid
The artist presents a simple still-life with extraordinary realism and symbolism. Against a dark background, resting on a table is a merino lamb. Still alive, it lies silent with bound feet – a posture indicating sacrifice. For the Hebrew Passover meal, God had commanded the sacrificing of a spotless lamb, whose blood marked the doors of the Israelite households. The blood saved them from the Angel of Death. The image of the Passover Lamb effectively foreshadows the Passion of Christ – the Lamb of God whose blood and sacrifice set us free. Notice the purity of the lamb’s wool. Its spotlessness reflects Christ’s innocence. Now observe the Lamb’s feet. Though tied for slaughter, they show no indication of resistance or struggle. It depicts Christ’s willingness and incomprehensible love to set us free and take our place with abounding grace.
Madonna of Humility
Museum of Catalonia, Barcelona
Unlike popular medieval representations, the Blessed Virgin is not seated on a majestic Gothic throne. Rather the Virgin of Humility rests against a cushion directly placed on the ground. She is cloaked in blue (divinity), red (humanity), green (life), and gold (glory). Christ Child gazes at His beautiful Mother. As He takes His first step in faith, notice the protective arm of the Gentle Mother around her Little Boy. A choir of angels bears witness to this tender affection. With much adoration, Baby Jesus offers a white lily to His dear mother. The open flower signifies Mary’s openness and Humility.Humility for Mary was not weakness but a strong-willed determination to let God’s will be done in her life. The greatness of Mary was that she constantly focused on the greatness of God.
1516 – 1520
Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City
Raphael’s last painting, ‘The Transfiguration’ is hailed as ‘most beautiful and most divine work.’ The scene takes place at Mount Tabor. The upper foreground of the painting illustrates the Transfiguration of Christ, while in the lower foreground, we see the next episode – the healing of the demoniac boy. Christ floats in glory, surrounded by Moses (law) and Elijah (prophets). The three apostles prostrate themselves in awe of this magnanimous glory. Artistically, the painting is divided into two parts: the celestial and the earthly. Observe the striking contrast through the play of light and shadow. The celestial regions are filled with splendor and calmness as against the feelings of agitation, trouble, confusion, and suffering that abounds the earth. As the finite look up and cry out for help, the Infinite Christ brings hope and restoration.
Seeking the created not the creator – 18th Sunday in ordinary time – John 6:24-35
Today’s Gospel is a continuation, if you please, of last Sunday’s Gospel text. To refresh your memory, last Sunday’s we heard of the multiplication of the fish and the loaves. At the end of the sign (Remember that the Gospel of St John does not have ‘miracles’ but signs) Jesus left the place as he realized that the people, whose bellies were full wanted to take him and make him king by force.
For the crowds, the sign they experienced was about having a belly full of food they failed to see that the real sign was Jesus. Even though the crowd acclaimed Jesus as prophet and sought to make him king (John 6:14-15), they seem not to have really understood the significance of what happened in the feeding miracle (John 6:1-14). Last Sunday they called him a prophet even though it was clear he was the long-awaited Messiah. The simply chose to see what they wanted.
That brings me to my first reflection. Who is Jesus to me? The correct answer is my Lord and saviour. Any other expression is secondary. There are many who in order to sound secular and popular treat Jesus as ‘a god’ or ‘one of the gods’. Jesus is GOD, the only begotten son of the father. This must be our confession of faith no matter what. We cannot choose to see Jesus the way we wish to in order to sound secular or socially acceptable.
The Gospel now tells us that Jesus heads to Capernaum, his de facto headquarters in Galilee and is quickly followed by the same crowds. At first Jesus confronts them. “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves” (John 6:26), I do not think Jesus was scolding the crowd for seeking bread because they were hungry. I think Jesus was disappointed that the crowd did not expect more, not more bread but something more. Sadly, because they found a source for food, they were not looking for Jesus, they are looking the man who could keep feeding them.
Fr. Warner D'Souza is a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Bombay. He has served in the parishes of St Michael's, Mahim, St Paul's, Dadar East, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Bandra and at present is the priest in charge of St Jude Church, Malad East. He is also the Director of the Archdiocesan Heritage Museum and is the co-ordinator of the Committee for the Promotion and Preservation of the Artistic and Historic Patrimony of the Church.