Holy Ascension Thursday


Gospel Reading: Luke 24:36-53

At that time, Jesus, having risen from the dead, stood in the midst of his disciples and said to them, “Peace to you.” But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit.

And so Jesus  said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? See my hands and feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

And when he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them. *

Then he said to them, “These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled.”

Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands, he blessed them.

While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and they returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.  And it was good.

Luke 24:36-53

This is the only passage in the whole New Testament where Jesus specifically ate meat and this  happens after his crucifixion and on the eve of his ascension.  It is an odd thing but it is what the Orthodox and Roman faiths trace fasting on “fish” to.    In some older texts he is given fish and honey and eats only the honey , which is what the Seventh Day Adventists base their vegetarian lifestyle upon but all modern texts have just the “fish”.

So what fish would he have eaten? 

Problably one of the tilapia species that are found in the Sea of Galillee.  Tilpia is a  Latinization of the Setswana word for the fish that is prevalent in the area.  Typically the fish is  definned, deboned and sometimes boiled to ensure that all the blood was gone..   Then the tilapia  was  stuffed (this is what is called “ gefilte”) with some local root vegetable or even matzoh (unleavened breed)  and then presented as a quenelle or fish patty.

Sometimes you will see this also called “St Peter’s Fish” as it is thought that Peter was the one who presented Jesus with the gefilte dish.

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