Summary: In Jewish apocalyptic circles, it was expected that fish would be the main dish at the Messianic banquet.

Jonathan Turnbough of Garner, North Carolina, talks about the time when his mother was driving him and his sisters to school and she was pulled over by a policeman and ticketed for speeding. After their little visit with the officer, they took off again, and his mother was very careful to stay under the speed limit. A few minutes had passed, and they started hearing a strange noise coming from the car.

“What’s that noise?” Jonathan’s mother asked.

Laughing, he replied, “That’s the sound of slow. We’ve never heard it before!”

source: (Jonathan Turnbough, Garner, N.C., Christian Reader, “Lite Fare”).

Jesus said “have the people recline on the abundant grass in that area,” and slow down and get recollected. This is eucharistic imagery, as in the seating of the congregation and preparing for Mass.

Some parents say, "I prepare by getting my family to church, with the least amount of fighting” or by finding socks and shoes for everybody.

But, at Mass we say “my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable…” We have to think about what we are offering to the Lord before Mass starts; what personal intention for ourselves or others?

What are our five small barley loaves and two small fishes to offer Jesus?

Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and prayed over the "elements," and broke the bread and distributed it through the Twelve to the seated assembly.

The five barley loaves are a Eucharistic image, but what about the two fish?

Two fish- In Jewish apocalyptic circles, it was expected that fish would be the main dish at the Messianic banquet. In the Talmud, a collection of writings on Jewish law and tradition, God created two Leviathans or sea monsters or great fish that God would slay as food for the remnant in the Messianic Age (Baba Bathra 74b-75a; 2 Baruch 29; implicit in Ezekiel 47:9, and very clear in Psalm 74:14).

Fish also became a symbol for Christ when an early Christian first realized that in the common phrase “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior" are spelled the word “fish” if one took the first letters of each word and made an acronym.

Tertullian, a third-century Christian writer widely read in Catholic circles said, “But we, little fishes, after the example of our [fish] Jesus Christ, are born in water [through baptism].

[source for the above section: The Bread and Fish Eucharist In the Gospels and Early Christian Art, Richard H. Hiers, University of Florida, Charles A. Kennedy, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Perspectives in Religious Studies, January 1, 1976]

The filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments after the meal are those destined for the Kingdom in the eucharist tradition set forth in the Didache 9:8.

The application: Battles are never won from a sitting position (unless you are playing a video game). All the military traditions follow the model of Henry V's "Once more into the breach, dear friends!" (William Shakespeare). There is a text in Ezekiel that says, “He said to me, "Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you." (Ezekiel 2:1)

The final words of the Mass in Latin are: “Go, the Mass is ended,” or “Ite, missa est,” which means “it has been sent,” as in your sacrifice (loaves and fishes), so now get on your mission. The word ‘dismissal’ has come to imply a ‘mission’ for Christians, wrote Pope Benedict XVI in Sacramentum Caritatis, 51.

Alyce McKenzie puts it this way: “Jesus’ words, ‘You give them something to eat,” are a daily dare. He’s saying, “I dare you to take me at my word. And see what happens.”


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