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Select Homily
March, 17 2019

2nd Week of Lent (C)

Rev. Jim Schmitmeyer


 In the part of Ohio that I come from,

deer hunters are as common as pickup trucks.

The hunters I know don’t read the Bible much,

but they’re good at reading trails.


Most trails are easy to follow:

tracks laid down on a hillside,

the bent blades of grass in meadows.

These trails are easy to spot

and they traveled by does and fawns

as they hurry from one protective stand of trees to another.


But these aren’t the trails traveled by the bucks.

They travel alone and are exceptionally wary.

They seldom move out of dense cover.

They might travel a well-established route,

but only occasionally.

Sometimes, they seem to lay down trails that lead nowhere.


Hunters call these trails “teasers.”

They lead nowhere but confusion.


These trails exist not only in the woods

but everywhere:

in the Bible

at work

at home

in society at large.


A “teaser trail” leads you to confusion and despair.

Have you been on a trail like this?


A trail that ends with God hunters like us scratching our heads saying,

“Where are you, God?”

“Why me, Lord?”

“Sweet Jesus, don’t ask this of my family!”


In today’s gospel passage we find Peter, James and John

on a hike up Mt. Tabor

with Jesus at their side.


For once, it was no teaser trail they were tracking.

Suddenly a flash of light blinded their eyes.

The apostles were stunned terrified.


Yet the vision…

that strange vision they saw…and the Voice they heard

managed to clear the air

and dispel their doubts.

For just a moment they encountered

—and knew they had encountered—

the presence of God falling about them

like sunlight on a summer day.


And when the incident it was over,

they looked around,

and all they saw was Jesus.


Why did this occur?

For what purpose did this take place?


It’s a natural question to ask because, as we know,

those hikers would soon descend the mountain

and find their way back to the trailhead.


Normal conversation would resume,

soon worries about the future would shove aside

the memory of the dazzling Light,

that splendid moment when everything was good

and life made sense.


Come Good Friday,

they would need this memory.

In the days of confusion that followed Jesus’ horrific crucifixion,

the experience on Mt. Tabor

would mark their way out of the fog.


Mt. Tabor remained in their memory.

The purpose of that hike came clear:


The trail that is true takes us to the Son.

The trail that is true reveals the face of God.


All other trails are teasers.


Are you good at following the trail?

Are you skilled at reading the signs?


On Mt. Tabor,

God’s presence shown a blaze of dazzling light.

 [Did you catch the spark of light in the water of eternal life

poured across your daughter’s head on the day of her baptism?]


On Mt. Tabor,

God’s voice boomed out:

“This is my Son. My chosen one. Listen to him.”

 [When the addiction ended,

when depression lifted,

when justice won,

did you hear the Voice

that broke the darkness

say to you:

“You are mine, my chosen one!”]


This is the trail we’ve set upon.

This is the trail marked out for us.

 Any other is but a teaser.


©Fr. Jim Schmitmeyer 



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