Ice cream on a Good Friday
By Virginia J. Pasalo
THERE was this one time when a friend fetched me on a Good Friday and we drove to EDSA as fast as we could because there were no vehicles around, and we would stop for some minutes in the middle of the highway, licking ice cream dripping from cones, while waiting for another lost soul to pass. I have never done it ever since, but even if we decide to do it for the second time, EDSA now will never be empty of vehicles on a Good Friday, or any day within the Holy Week, despite the fact that most people have already gone for vacation outside Metro Manila.
When I shared this story to a pious friend the following day, she said, “Licking ice cream on a highway on a Good Friday is sacrilegious!” And it is not only because I was licking “dirty” ice cream, but because I am not supposed to be happy on a Good Friday because on that day, Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary, because it is an improper behaviour, because it is against the law, and a litany of other “becauses”. So I never shared this story to anyone else making my sinfulness public. And because I was not sure if I committed sin, I asked God for forgiveness and fervently prayed, “Oh, God, forgive my sin if I have sinned. If it is not a sin, give me more ice cream!” When I opened my eyes, the sorbetero was in front of me.
Of course, that story was so very long ago. In the succeeding years, and owing to the natural evolution of my own consciousness, I maintained a healthy respect for those who observe Holy Week with its original intent. “The earliest allusion to the custom marking this week as a whole with special observances is to be found in the Apostolical Constitutions (v. 18, 19), dating from the latter half of the 3rd century and 4th century. In this text, abstinence from flesh is commanded for all the days, while for the Friday and Saturday an absolute fast is commanded.”
Abstinence from ice cream was not indicated for the week, however, it was a Good Friday and absolute fasting was required. It is now clear to me, I violated the Apostolical Constitution, but I am still doubtful if this Constitution is consistent with the intent of Jesus Christ.
Others celebrate the Holy Week too far removed from its original intentions, it becomes an occasion to get together with family and friends, meet new friends, enjoy the beach, and eat. Occasionally, I meet people engaged in self-reflection, others in self-indulgence, others in self-flagellation.
No matter how we appreciate the philosophical underpinning of the Holy Week, let us be aware that the intention is to reflect on the philosophy of love and the practice of loving, the core teaching of Jesus Christ. And loving is not only directed at family members, but on the surrounding environment where we bring them to enjoy one another. Carry a trash bag, clean up the beach, whisper a song of love to the mermaids.
Salitan ag nibalikas
anguyat so salita
balet arengel na dagem
et bekta, binmales
No words were spoken
the words scampered
into the sea
but the wind heard
and without a word