Today is Good Friday. Like Ash Wednesday, it is the only other day in the Church calendar that requires adults, 18 to 59, to fast. As the Church has evolved, so too has the definition of fasting. Today it means eating no more than one full meal and two smaller meals that combined do not equal another meal. It’s not starvation by any stretch of the imagination.
A full, true fast of nothing – not even water, simply isn’t healthy. Once upon a time, fasts were much stricter, but the Church began to rethink its form of fasting. After all, the results, a focus on God and prayer and penance, can be reached without endangering one’s health in the process.
Some Catholics impose their own fast for the full 40 days of Lent. (Remember, the 40 days of Lent excludes Sundays). This form of fast means is to eat nothing up to the ninth hour or 3:00 p.m., which is the hour that Christ gave up his spirit on the cross. The intent was to unite one’s suffering through fasting to the passion of Christ. Such dedication is to be admired. While you might not agree with the practice, you have to admire the strength of faith. At least I do. I feel the same way about the Muslim practice of prayer five times a day. What dedication! I struggle to pray the Rosary on a regular basis, let alone openly pray five times a day.
So often we allow the distractions of life and living to get in the way of faith and dedication. For me personally, Lent and Holy Week serve as a reminder that I can do better, focus more on the good, and place others above myself.
The Events of Good Friday
Good Friday was the last day of Jesus’ earthly life before His death and resurrection. He was betrayed by Judas, as predicted, and denied by Peter, as predicted. His disciples scattered. He was arrested and was placed on trial falsely. He was condemned, beaten, mocked, and required to carry His own cross to the place where He was crucified and His physical body died. “The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head.” Though he was offered something to dull His excruciating pain, Jesus refused. He chose to face the pain of death head on. They stripped Him of His clothes and cast lots for them, fulfilling another prophecy.
“It was at about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.” – Luke 23:44-46
Today is also National PB and J Day. Since children are not required to fast, why not have a PB and J celebration? The fact that these are little bites on a spear can also serve as a teaching tool and symbolisms on Good Friday. Enjoy!
PB and J Spears
8 slices White Sandwich Bread
Creamy Peanut Butter as desired
Grape Jelly as desired
2 cups seedless Grapes
2 small Bananas, sliced
8 (5-inch) Wooden Cocktail Skewers
Spread 4 slices of bread with peanut butter. Spread remaining 4 slices of bread with jelly. Press together to create 4 Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches. Cut sandwiches into 1-inch squares and set aside.
Peel and slice bananas. Rinse grapes, pluck from stems.
Assemble spears by alternating threads of grapes, sandwich squares and banana slices onto each skewer. Serve immediately.
Delicious with chilled Apple Juice and a Chocolate Chip Cookie