Children's books with names like One Fish, Two Fish; Red Fish, Blue Fish.
Screen savers on our computers that pretend to be an aquarium. Long weekends
in the north woods, on silent lakes waiting for the first nibble on the
line, or sea stories about "the one that got away." It seems like fish turn
up everywhere. Maybe that's because fish are such fascinating creatures.
Fish come in an amazing variety of shapes, sizes and colors, and they move
so gracefully through the water. Watching them can be soothing or
entertaining. They can be eaten in any setting, from around a campfire to
the finest restaurants. Fish just never seem to be boring. From early
childhood to old age, fish seem to be a source of wonder and delight for so
Maybe that's why, in today's gospel passage, the words that really stand out
are Jesus' first words to the disciples: "Children, you have no fish, have
you?" Such sad words. After trying all night, the disciples still have no
fish. The people Jesus loves like his own children have no source of wonder
or delight. They can't even make a decent meal. In the ancient Middle East,
for a meal to be considered complete, you had to have bread and fish. Fish
weren't just part of a heart-healthy diet, fish were essential. No decent
host would let even his guest's slaves go without fish; to do that was to
treat them as less than human, and risk being thought of as a poor host. So,
without fish the disciples weren't even human beings. No fish. A whole
night's work, and nothing to show for it. Just an empty boat. No wonder, no
delight, and no breakfast.
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