Beware! There are many people who do not want you to hear the lesson in today’s Gospel reading! It is one thing to be told to beware of false prophets, but it is another to be told how to tell who a false prophet might be!
And how do you know a false prophet when you see one? If you tell a tree by its fruits, then you tell a false prophet by what they produce. And what should a prophet produce who claims to speak for Christ?
We begin the readings with an Epistle which reminds of the importance of looking forward on the path we’re on, and not being distracted. Where we were gets us nothing, but where we are going gets us the grand prize.
It might be said that the Gospel illustrates that in one of the stories of a feeding of multitudes. It can be said that one of the perhaps-too-familiar prayer lines we say by rote memory comes alive here in what happens.
How about some clues as to how to get yourself off the hook? That’s what we have here! It begins, also, with an Epistle that reminds us to remember what we are looking forward to. Sometimes, as with academic and other courses, it can seem hard to make it through.
But the Gospel offers how to get off the hook! And if you see what’s offered here, you’re looking at God’s own version of the “Get Out Of Jail Free” card in the Monopoly game. Who can refuse that?
A well-matched pair of readings today, with the Epistle telling us that God cares, and the Gospel showing us how much he cares! This kind of flies in the face of some who want to speak of “God’s will” as being anything else but willing our well-being!
We also see a prime example of why not to exalt ourselves. We wouldn’t think much of a doctor or nurse who didn’t want to deal with sick people, so why disdain a minister who wants to spend time with people that some folks call “unworthy”?
One experience many of us have in common is listening to lectures in school. And it was no secret that if the person teaching kept making the same point over and over again, including in different lectures, you’d probably see that point again in an exam and perhaps in real life. We have that situation here.
Again, stress being placed on love and its importance. Basically the question is: “How can you be what you claim if love is not part of you?”
The Gospel tale of the man with the large supper illustrates how this works, and it works both ways. Most of you will recognize the art of the excuse being done by the originally invited guests. See then what happens to what would have been theirs.
A pair of lessons which remind us of something which some people seem to have forgotten. The reading from 1st John centers on the importance of love.
The Gospel tells us of the story of the rich man and the beggar Lazarus. Note that dogs licked the sores on Lazarus. Nobody else cared for or about Lazarus, but the dogs did! Dogs set an example of what love can be.
I see also that the rich man still has an attitude problem even in hell. And note what Abraham denies to him, even if something like it is soon to be!
Many threads in the lessons for today, and even the prayers special for Trinity Sunday. Then again, Trinity Sunday is about the Trinity, which is a subject of much debate among some of the best theologians and scholars!
The difficulty is illustrated by a visit to Jesus by Nicodemus, someone important among the religious establishment who somehow felt he needed to sneak to meet Jesus. Many of Nicodemus’ questions of Jesus are similar to what ours would be. And Jesus responds that Nicodemus needs to understand more!