Like Us…

As he walked along the Sea of Galilee he watched two brothers,
Simon and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea. They were fishermen.

Matthew 4:18

Today is Friday. Tonight, my husband and I will enjoy a fish fry at our parish church. We’ll join our fellow parishioners and friends for this Lenten ritual.

While in Israel, we ate a lot of fish. Like Jesus and his disciples, we took advantage of the well-stocked Sea of Galilee. I enjoyed my favorite meal in a restaurant on the shore of Galilee which specializes in preparing St. Peter’s Fish also known as tilapia. We were offered the opportunity to enjoy this local delicacy, just as Jesus’ contemporaries did, with head and scales intact. I admit that the authenticity of that offer didn’t tempt me a bit. I happily ordered a scaled filet without the head!

While we waited for our food, I enjoyed the circus around us. The restaurant was filled to the gills. Pardon my pun! Still, guests and wait-staff alike were in good spirits. A gentle breeze off the sea carried me back two millenniums to Jesus and his friends who likely enjoyed several meals on this very shore. Perhaps these were the few times when they felt truly carefree as they enjoyed one another’s company. I don’t often think of Jesus in “care-free mode” and I found this mental image of him to be quite inspiring.

You know, Jesus-the-Miracle-Worker is also Jesus-the-Human Being. When I remember that Jesus experienced everything just as you and I do, I find myself far more appreciative of all that he did for us.

Dear Jesus, thank you for being just like we are.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Fish Fry

Your justice I have not hidden in my heart;
your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of;
I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth
in the vast assembly.

Psalm 40:11

Friday night approaches. In a few minutes my husband and I will head to Chicago for a fish fry. We will drive an hour to sit in a school gym with our son and daughter-in-law and hundreds of others to engage in this Lenten ritual.

On Friday’s during Lent, we Catholic-types refrain from eating meat. We do so to acknowledge that this is the day on which Jesus was crucified. Throughout the rest of the year, the Church leaves us to devise our own Friday observances. It is during Lent that we join hands in the effort. Many parishes embrace this opportunity to build community by hosting fish fries.

If this evening unfolds as it did last year, we will pay a fair price for a good meal and enjoy it in excellent company. In addition to spending time with our son and his wife, we’ll enjoy the circus around us. There’s nothing like watching kids running around for a few hours to make us grateful that our own kids are grown and on their own. If this evening unfolds at it did last year, it will also remind me of the reason Good Friday occurred in the first place. There is something endearing about each of us fish-eaters which caused God to pursue us for four thousand years. When we failed to get the point of God’s efforts, Jesus came to reveal God’s loving and merciful ways once and for all. Even when we repaid this effort with a crucifixion, God continues to love us… every single one!

Merciful God, thank you for loving us and thank you for gifting us with the capacity to love one another and to love you.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved