fish symbol“Give a man a fish you feed him for a day…”

Gave it to His disciples and said, “Take this, all of you, and…”

Most of us know the words that come next with these sayings. But the question is how they relate to our present situation?

My dear friend Monsignor Eustace Thomas began his homily by picking on me regarding the medical profession’s new stance on barbeque. The Gospel reading was about Jesus’ appearance on the seashore after Peter and company’s fruitless night of fishing. He told them how to cast their nets. Now they filled to the point of bursting. Christ proceeds to prepare a breakfast of bread and grilled fish then commissions his disciples to feed my sheep. “Sorry,” the Monsignor declared while greeting me warmly after church. “If Jesus grilled, it must be okay.” More on that in a moment.

Frank Baron – Beacon of Prosperity

We learnt this morning that our first Chief Minister, the Honourable Frank Baron, had slipped away quietly during the night. His storied life’s story has been documented for posterity by one of Dominica’s leading authors, Irving Andre. https://www.amazon.ca/Franklin-Andrew-Merrifield-Baron-Biography/dp/0969985770. Accolades continue to pour in. Notable among them is the fact that this man employed hundreds over the years from his business enterprise. During his tenure at the helm, Dominica enjoyed significant prosperity. His successor, the EO Leblanc contributed mightily to making that a better shared prosperity. Mr. Baron would subsequently become the power behind Dame Eugenia Charles’s throne, a dispensation when Dominica was best regarded on the international scene. This most durable of our leaders remained sharp and forward-thinking in his twilight years, always fishing for new ideas.

Frank Baron, standing on the Land Rover, backing the camera, leads a demonstration of banana farmers against the ruling Dominica Labour Party government in front of the Government Headquarters on High Street to protest against an export tax on bananas in the early 1960s. Text and photo by Dr. Lennox Honychurch

Frank Baron, standing on the Land Rover, backing the camera, leads a demonstration of banana farmers against the ruling Dominica Labour Party government in front of the Government Headquarters on High Street to protest against an export tax on bananas in the early 1960s. Text and photo by Dr. Lennox Honychurch

Picture this: During those childhood days in Boyd’s Avenue, Phillip Timothy and I observed one of the several tractors laden with golden yellow limes making its way down Bath Road. British sailors from a visiting warship were cooling out upstairs Fire Brigade headquarters. Upon seeing the limes, their eyes lit up and they began bawling like wild men. The fellah at the back of the tractor began pelting limes upstairs (like Brathwaite would do from the long leg boundary). The sailors caught them, and literally devoured them whole, skin and all! Phillip and I laughed our little hearts out. “Dose bakay doh know lime is to make squash or to clean fish?! Lime skin so bitter boy!”

Back then, Dominica was still regarded as the world’s top lime producer: http://dominicanewsonline.com/news/homepage/features/commentary/commentary-the-days-of-lime-and-rose%E2%80%99s/ British sailors were daubed ‘limey’s’ because they were the first realize that the Vitamin C in citrus was the preventer and cure for scurvy.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limey This contributed in no small measure to the Royal Navy ruling the waves through much of the past century. Last Saturday, I searched for limes in the Roseau Market…

Somebody, please correct if I’m wrong. Mr. Baron was also a founding member of the Dominica Banana Gowers Association. In those days every fortnight, every poor farmer had some of his own money in his pocket. Today, we have to hunt for green gold, two little grains of fig to make a braf.

The Good Lord was not content to just give fish to the disciples. He taught them how to fish in a special way. The knowledge he instilled was to help provide for the physical needs of his flock. Do this in remembrance of me, (the bread and wine of the last supper) was about sacrificial saving grace.
The great commission – symbolized by bread and fish – is all about ministry. It is about caring for people with love, serving others as the hands and feet of the Almighty Father.

Actually, I was quite inspired by the Monsignor’s homily. As a scientist however, I stand fast by the facts. I am quoting the research verbatim. I think this is something you can feel confident to share.

“Eating charred, well-done meat on a regular basis may increase your risk of pancreatic cancer by up to 60%. (This rapidly lethal cancer was practically unheard of in Dominica. Do you want to know how many cases we now have per year?) Heterocyclic amines (HAs) are created by the burning of amino acids and other substances in meats cooked at particularly high temperatures and that are particularly charred. HAs turn up in grilled and barbecued meat as well as broiled and pan-fried meat. This link provides practical grilling tips. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/news/a-backyard-chefs-guide-to-healthy-grilling

Dr. Sam Christian

Dr. Sam Christian

Bottom line, Monsignor, when it comes to fish, I take it any way I can, boiled, baked, steamed, fried, grilled – even barbequed. I just know some ways are healthier than others so whenever I can, I try to choose wisely.

And this whole fish business dramatizes how Dominica overall boasts an abundance of theology, but a shortage of ministry. Could the Spirit be leading us to talk less and do more? Could the Spirit be leading us to commemorate bread and fish a bit more? Whenever I behold that fish symbol, I am reminded me that the good Lord came that we may have life – and have it more abundantly. As we eulogize the Honourable Frank Baron, let us rededicate ourselves to regaining Dominica’s productivity and shared prosperity, which he championed so impressively.

Dr. Christian is a syndicated columnist focusing on health and development matters. He can be reached at 767 440-9133 or by clicking on http://urgentcareda.weebly.com