09 February 2009

Lunch, anyone?

Above: My son Nathan, ever the intrepid connoisseur of fine dining, gets ready to dig in.
Below: Lunch, up close and personal
As we were travelling around the Sea of Galilee, we stopped for lunch at a restaurant owned by a Christian family. Of course, the "must-try" item on the menu was St. Peter's fish (better known to us as talapia). I'd had it before, on a previous pilgrimage. My impression the first time I ate it was that it's a lot of work for little return, and my first impression proved to be correct. It tastes great, but seems to be more bone than flesh. Plus, getting past the staring eyes takes a strong constitution.

This kind of fish was made famous by Christ's direction to St. Peter, found in St. Matthew's Gospel:

When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the half-shekel tax went up to Peter and said, "Does not your teacher pay the tax?" He said, "Yes." And when he came home, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tribute? From their sons or from others?" And when he said, "From others," Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook, and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel; take that and give it to them for me and for yourself."

Interestingly, the St. Peter's fish has been observed rummaging around at the bottom of the water near the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee, picking up various items, including bottle caps and other shiny things. Our Lord used this natural tendency in conjunction with His divine Will, thus providing St. Peter with the temple tax.