And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hastened to dress it.
Read Chapter 18
Ambrose of Milan
The fact that Abraham ran to the herd, took a good and tender calf and served it with milk is not without significance. In fact, in Exodus Moses, when he proclaimed the Passover of the Lord, said, “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old; you shall take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall kill it at sunset in the midst of the whole assembly.” So also here it is specified that it was midday that Abraham offered hospitality to the Lord. But it was for supper that the calf was immolated and eaten with milk, that is, not with blood but with the purity of the faith. A “good calf” because it should wash away sins. “Tender” because it received the yoke of the law, not with a stiff neck but docilely, and did not refuse the gibbet of the cross. And it is “tender” since nothing of its head, feet or internal organs is thrown away, nor were any of its bones broken, but it was eaten in its entirety by those taking part in the meal. Thus what the law represented in a sha...
He received the three men and served them loaves out of three measures. Why is this, brothers, unless it means the mystery of the Trinity? He also served a calf; not a tough one, but a “good, tender one.” Now what is so good and tender as he who humbled himself for us even unto death? He himself is that fatted calf which the father killed upon receiving his repentant son. “For God so loved the world that he gave his onlybegotten Son.” For this reason Abraham went to meet the three men and adored them as one. In the fact that he saw three, as was already said, he understood the mystery of the Trinity; but since he adored them as one, he recognized that there is one God in the three persons.
Lot too received men, but only two, not the whole Trinity; moreover in the evening, not at noon. What did he serve them? “He baked unleavened bread, and they ate.” Because he was much inferior to Abraham in merits he did not have a fatted calf. Nor did he recognize the mystery of the Trinity in the three measures of flour. However, since he offered what he could in a kindly spirit, he merited to be freed from the destruction of Sodom. Notice, brothers, that even Lot deserved to receive the angels, because he did not reject strangers. Behold, angels enter a hospitable home, but houses that are closed to strangers are burned with flames of sulphur.
The bread and meat, which was in abundance, was not to satisfy the angels but rather so that the blessing might be distributed to all the members of his household. After the angels had washed and sat down beneath a tree, “Abraham brought and set before them what he had prepared”; he did not dare recline with them but like a servant “stood apart from them.”