How Do We Fast?
2nd Sunday of Lent
Lk 9: 28b-36
What is the purpose of Jesus’ Transfiguration? Why did he transfigure his body before his disciples before journeying to Jerusalem?
The Transfiguration in Luke takes place in chapter 9, which is before Jesus’ Journey to Jerusalem. Three events in chapter 9 take place before the Transfiguration that we should know: (1) Mission of the Twelve, (2) Prediction of the passion of Christ, (3) and the condition of Christ’s followers. “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross everyday and follow me” (Lk 9: 23). Therefore, the Transfiguration cannot be viewed outside of the context of the journey to Jerusalem where Jesus will be crucified. However, the Transfiguration has to be viewed as part of the preparation for the cross and resurrection. In other words, the teachings of Jesus to his disciples about the cross closely connect with the Transfiguration. Glory goes hand in hand with suffering. Glory has to be gained through the cross; without the cross, glory can be counterfeit.
During Lent, we often think about fasting, abstinence from something, or going to the cross as the ways of observing Lent. If we just think about the purpose of Lent as the season of fasting and abstinence, we may ignore the true meaning of Lent. Lent does not only show us the cross, but it also shows us triumph and resurrection. Thus, while we are fasting, we do not fast in vain, but we do it with hope and are ready to receive the glory of God.
There are different ways of fasting, physically and spiritually. This Lent, I would like to invite you to go deeper by fasting spiritually. You can fast by more prudently judging others, such as your friends, your colleagues, your church, and your pastor. You can fast by being willing to say sorry and to grant forgiveness. You can fast by spending a certain time before the Blessed Sacrament. Fasting like that, you will experience the transfiguration undergoing in your own spiritual life.
My dear friends, the glory on the mountain is the glory that Jesus wants to share with you. However, that glory can only be manifested through your attitude of fasting and carrying your cross physically and spiritually. In short, the transfiguration depends on how you fast and with what kind of attitude.
Jesus, help me fast by casting out negative words, thoughts toward myself and others, and help me be willing to say thank you to you and others at all times. Amen.