Fish for one, not five thousand.

I had fish tonight, for dinner, and thought about the Gospel of Matthew 14:13/14-21: As He went ashore He saw a great throng; and He had compassion on them, and healed their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a lonely place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And He said, “Bring them here to me.” Then He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. (from RSVCE)


When I was done eating, I had finished about two fish, and there was nothing left over. I did think about the Biblical reference and Jesus’ compassion for the people who had nothing to eat. What a lovely thought! Wouldn’t it be something if a miracle like this would be repeated in the 21st Century, to remind everyone that we can always count on Jesus to feed us spiritually and physically. Jesus does feed us, all of us. Let’s face it, the bread we eat comes from fields of Wheat (Indiana comes to mind) and/or other food crops, and the fish come from our rivers and lakes, and also from oceans.

I lived in Indiana in 1998-1999, and I vividly recall acres and acres of wheat crop, swaying in the wind, and there was always plenty of wind. I had the same thoughts there, that Indiana could feed a good part of people in our land. Fish provides a good source of high quality protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. Fish served is usually whitefish, oily fish, or shellfish. Whitefish, such as haddock and seer, contain very little fat (usually less than 1%).


I probably had Haddock. Haddock populations on the offshore grounds of Georges Bank, off New England and Nova Scotia coasts, have made a remarkable comeback with the adoption of catch shares management program, and are currently harvested at only a fraction of sustainable yields.

The important point I wish to stress is that bread and fish come from God, with the help of those involved in the harvest. All people have an obligation to conserve our resources. They are shared by all consumers, even though the harvesters have a big interest in their crops because they need to feed their families, too.


Franciscans are very much involved in saving the environment through a program called JPIC, short for "Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation." Article 19 of the Rule of Saint Francis, which all Secular Franciscans observe is: "Mindful that they are bearers of peace which must be built up unceasingly, they should seek out ways of unity and fraternal harmony through dialogue, trusting in the presence of the divine seed in everyone and in the transforming power of love and pardon. Messengers of perfect joy in every circumstance, they should strive to bring joy and hope to others." And, "Let them individually and collectively be in the forefront in promoting justice by the testimony of their human lives and their courageous initiatives. Especially in the field of public life, they should make definite choices in harmony with their faith." ~ Article 15.


We have an obligation and a desire to promote justice and peace, and that includes making sure people are fed through the proper use of natural resources. Not all of us are involved in harvesting or growing, but we pray for these things and for the people who depend on our natural resources.


Prayer is very, very powerful, I assure you. I know this for a fact, that prayer is very powerful. People ask me, or send me requests to pray for. Although we never know whose prayer the Lord uses to heal people and fill the most wanted and needed intentions, people do get healed. They tell me so, and it is a joy to hear that prayer helps.

"Everything is related, and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which also unites us in fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river and mother earth." --Pope Francis, Laudato Si, para. 92.


Peace and all Good!

Fred Schaeffer, OFS
file: D18-002Fish for one.docx



Another Reflection -- Charity: Respect for Each Other  (Not in list at left)

A Gift of a New Life
A Biography
by Fred Schaeffer, OFS 2019

Secular Franciscan Order
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