“Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In addition, all Catholics 14 years old and older must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Friday’s of lent” (American catholic.org)
What is Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and most of all, what is Easter?
The term Easter is associated commercially with chocolate banners, egg hunts and pastel color palettes. The true meaning of Easter, however, is based on the Christian belief of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion on the cross and resurrection three days later. (Background: Jesus was hated by the leaders of the church and was betrayed by one of his disciples who accused Him of being a blasphemous).
In modern times we celebrate the life of Jesus through the Easter season with Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. So what is so important about these specific days?
Mostly devoted Catholics follow the fasting principle of Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of lent season: fasting for 40 days in hopes of correcting sinful behavior. The ashes are a symbolism of the Bible verse “Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return.” Ash Wednesday is this Wednesday.
Both Christians and Catholics celebrate Palm Sunday in remembrance of the day Jesus came into Jerusalem. It is also referred to as a His triumphant entry because He knew about the upcoming event that would change his life and all of His followers eyes. Senior Pastor Fred Rodkey said, “the key to Palm Sunday is that he knew that he was going to die but he still walked into Jerusalem.”
The next momentous day of the Easter season is called Good Friday. It is the most tragic of days and both Christians and Catholics acknowledge this day. Good Friday is that day when Jesus was crucified on the cross, it marks the day when wrath and mercy met at the cross to take away all the people’s sin and to be forgiven.
Lastly, resurrection Sunday, finishes the Easter holiday because it was when Jesus fulfilled his prophecy and rose from the dead three days after his crucifixion. Easter this year falls on April 20.
To sum up the miraculous and symbolic past of Easter, let’s go back :
1) Ash Wednesday means to sacrifice a sinful behavior similar to Jesus sacrificing his life
2) Palm Sunday celebrates Jesus self-less act of entering Jerusalem when he knew His outcome was death
3) Good Friday is good because on the cross believers are and forever will be forgiven of our sine through mercy.
4) Resurrection Sunday celebrates the power of Jesus as Son of God because He rose from the dead.