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How to Celebrate Holy Wednesday or Spy Wednesday

Updated: Mar 27


Today is Holy Wednesday or Spy Wednesday.


Spy Wednesday is the Wednesday before Easter Sunday, commemorating the day that Judas Iscariot made a deal with the chief priests to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. It is called "Spy" Wednesday because Judas acted as a spy, secretly plotting to turn Jesus over to his enemies.


Spy Wednesday is a difficult day. How might one of Jesus’ companions turn against and betray him? Someone who has witnessed the love and power of God through Jesus approaches the religious leaders and asks them what they would give him for Jesus. What drove him to this? We are told in scripture that he has secretly been stealing money from Jesus but there also seems to be more going on. Was he hoping that the arrest of Jesus would be the spark that launched a Jewish rebellion against the Romans? Was he fed up with Jesus’ upside-down teachings? We can only guess his motives.


But we can look at our own hearts and motives. Reflecting on Judas’ betrayal is also difficult because it is a powerful reminder of our capacity for betrayal. We have to ask ourselves what powerful forces drive us to steal from Jesus and betray him.


Ways to celebrate:


Read John 12:1-11 and Matthew 26:1-25 as a family.


Discuss: Why do you think Judas was bothered by what Mary did? Why do you think Judas decided to betray Jesus? What is the difference between Mary’s response to Jesus and Judas’ What must it have been like for Jesus to be betrayed by one of his closest friends?


Make Jidáše, a Czech Sweet Bread. Jidáše are shaped to look as if they were made from a rope on which the apostle Judas hanged himself after he had betrayed Jesus. And that’s where the Czech pastry Jidáš (Judas) got its name from!


Jidáše


Ingredients


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1.1/4 cups whole milk lukewarm

  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast

  • ⅔ stick butter unsalted melted and a bit cooled

  • 2 egg yolks

  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar

  • pinch of salt

  • 1 whole egg for egg wash

  • 2 Teaspoons honey to glaze Jidáše after baking

Instructions


Put the flour into a bowl and make a well in the middle.


Pour in two-thirds of the lukewarm milk. Add ½ teaspoon of sugar and the yeast. Take a fork and stir the flour in from the sides, until a small puddle of semiliquid batter forms in the middle. Dust its surface slightly with flour and let it rise for 30 minutes.


Meanwhile, heat the butter. It shouldn’t be hot, just warm.


Add the melted butter to the bowl with activated yeast, add yolks, a pinch of salt, and the rest of the lukewarm milk and sugar.


Stir everything together with a wooden spoon, then knead the mixture until it turns smooth and stiff and it doesn’t stick—or it´s sticky only a little bit. I knead and fold the dough with my hands on a dusted kitchen worktop for 10 minutes. Don't underestimate this step.


Let the dough rise for a further 30 minutes.


Divide the raised dough into pieces of about 2 1/2 oz each. Roll each piece into a string about 10 inches (25 cm) long and 2/3 inch thick, then form a spiral. Flatten the end of the string and tuck it under the spiral so that the Jidáše doesn't roll up on itself during baking.


Transfer the finished Jidáše to a tray lined with baking paper, cover them with a clean towel, and let them rise for 45 minutes.


Heat the oven to 350 °F.


Whisk the egg in a separate bowl to make egg wash, and brush the Jidáše with it.


Bake Jidáše for 15 minutes until they turn golden brown.


Melt the honey so it gets liquid, and glaze Jidáše right after taking them out of the oven.


Notes


Makes about 10–15 pieces of Jidáše pastry, depending on their size.


Jidáše glazed with honey iss sticky, but it should be that way; it is honey after all. The sooner you glaze them, the less sticky their surface will be.


Like all yeast dough pastries, Jidáše taste best on the day they are baked.


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