There are a lot of very rich readings in today's series.
God literally shows up on Abraham's doorstep. Oddly enough, God chooses to appear as three men. Abraham addresses them as one Lord, though, and they seem to speak with one voice. It certainly gives us something to think about with regard to the trinity, especially when some folks deny the trinity altogether. It would seem that God is sending a subtle message, foreshadowing a more complex revelation of His nature.
I love the scene where Sarah is listening to The Lord tell Abraham that she will have a son in the spring, and Sarah laughs. The Lord questions her laughter (Is anything too hard for the Lord?), and she does just what we do sometimes when we are caught in an inappropriate expression - denial - "I didn't laugh." The Lord calls her on it, though. I can imagine the Lord smiling, too, "Oh, yes you did!" (And I knew you would)
Then we move on to the famous bargaining for Sodom scene. I never realized that this came immediately after the visit to Abraham and Sarah...it's in interesting backdrop. Abraham talks The Lord down to ten, and does so with such great humility, reminding himself that he is but dust and ash before his God.
We've all felt this way at one time or another, haven't we? That the world is falling apart? That there is no good left in man? That we can't trust anyone? This psalm is so relevant to today. "Do thou, O Lord, protect us, guard us ever from this generation. On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the sons of men."
I think we see a lot of vileness exalted in this age. It is easy to forget that the Lord can help us navigate and thrive, even in this toxic environment.
So Jesus comes down off the mountain, and people now have an idea of who He is as a result of His teaching. We get some amazing miracles here, but it is very telling to see how they unfold.
The first instance we see is the leper who really lays down the way supplication should be done: "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." The faith is soooo there...I know you can, it's just a matter of if you will. We so often ask things (and sometimes even demand things) of God, but how often do we offer it to Him in a form that makes it clear that we understand that He answers prayers at His discretion, not our own? Just as Abraham lays out his desires in humility and leaves the decision making to God, so does this leper.
The Centurion, also, teaches us quite a bit. Here we have a Roman who, after hearing about Jesus, beseeches him to heal his servant. And Jesus offers to come and heal him, but the Centurion declines! What?!?!? Jesus offers to come to your house and you turn him down? But the Centurion has a good reason, and speaks the words "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed." For we Catholics, these words should be very familiar, since we say a form of them prior to receiving Holy Communion. Jesus responds by praising this man, and hinting at the salvation of gentiles, before granting his request.
Jesus then heals Peter's mother-in-law, and many others. Matthew, true to form, points us back to Isaiah to show how this fulfills the prophecy.
Lots of meat here about what we call "Big 'T' Tradition" and why it is important, and why Sola Scriptura is insufficient. The first generation of Christians had no new testament. Jesus left behind eleven men when he ascended, not a book! So initially everything was passed down orally. Eventually people began to record things in writing. While the writings were important, certainly, there was no way to write down everything that was important. Some things were still handed down orally among the first Christians, particularly from those who were entrusted with the deposit of faith (The apostles) and those who succeeded them...hence, apostolic succession. As Catholics, we believe that the authority and the deposit of faith still resides within this succession as guarded and taught by our bishops lead by the Pope. The bible is important, and never contradicts our Tradition, for the New Testament was born from Tradition.