Monday, April 11, 2016

153 Fish And The Mystic Lamb

Did any of you get to Mass yesterday? If you did, you may have noticed that the disciples caught a miraculous catch of 153 fish under the direction of the Risen Lord. Why 153? Apparently the ancients believed there were 153 different species of fish, and so the catch represents all of humanity. The Gospel is of universal application to all men, everywhere; to put it another way, it's catholic. But here's the detail, from Rebirth of Images:

"Sir Edwyn shews that the number of the miraculous catch, 153, is what the ancients called the triangular power of 17... Here Sir Edwyn stops, because 17 considered in itself is a meaningless number. But we do not need to consider it in itself; we may consider it as the diagonal of the square twelve, as the measure of that river which, issuing out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, cuts Paradise from top to bottom. It is then obviously good sense to see the fishes as the ‘fullness’ or the ‘complement’ of the River of Life, just as the citizens are the fullness or complement of the square city.

"But why, we may still ask, does St. John take the triangular power of 17 as its ‘fulness’, rather than the square? The answer is that the square (289) is a meaningless number, whereas the triangular (153) receives an appropriate sense from that very treatise of numbers which St. John found in Solomon’s temple-building. The labour of the building was done by the non-Israelites of Solomon’s dominions; 153 thousand and some odd hundreds were set to work (II Chron. II, 17-18: VIII, 7-8). What could be more appropriate to St. John’s purpose? The miraculous catch, as has long been recognized, signifies Gentile converts: it is these, rather than the Jews, who build up the temple of God, the church."

Some people think that the New Testament is two dimensional, or less. That would be an error. Others think that St. John the Divine had too much time on his hands while in exile on Patmos. Perhaps, but I prefer inspired, holy, brilliance.

God bless,



LL said...

You don't get that sort of sermon and logic from within the walls of a cowboy church.

But are the refreshments better?

LSP said...

The cowboys tend to have very good scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy. I know this from experience, they also have "praise bands." I like the former.

I also enjoyed your comments, outside of Itasca, on the nature of certain, ahem, theologians: "These people are busy pulling ***t out their ass."

That's not the case with Farrer...