GROWING UP LUTHERAN, I knew Catholics couldn’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent. They ate fish. I never understood that because I consider fish to be meat.
But, still Lutheran today, I respect the Catholic Friday Fish Fry tradition.
This time of year, you’ll see advertisements and signs galore calling the faithful to feast on fish on Fridays.
These weekly Lenten fish fries should also remind believers of their calling to be, like Jesus’ disciples, fishers of men (and women and children). If I remember my bible facts correctly, Andrew, Peter, James and John were fishermen by profession and fishermen by discipleship.
Throughout scripture, you will find numerous references to fish, beginning with the beginning. In Genesis 1:26, God says:
“Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
What a great responsibility.
Then there’s the story of Jonah being swallowed by a great fish. I remember as a child reading Sunday School bible lessons and how impressed I was by this. To think that the prophet Jonah would be swallowed by a whale, remain in the whale’s belly for three days and then be spit out alive seemed pretty miraculous to me.
And that’s exactly as it should have seemed. The apostle Matthew writes in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 12:40:
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Jonah’s experience connects to Christ’s resurrection from the dead after the third day, as explained by Matthew.
Finally, the other significant mention of fish imprinted upon my memory comes in the feeding of the 4,000 and the 5,000 plus. On both occasions, Jesus multiplied miniscule portions of bread and fish to feed the masses:
Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. (Matthew 14: 19-21)
I think Jesus would have appreciated a Friday Fish Fry.
© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling