All I have ever made out of the Gospel is that people can be saved even though they come to God at the last hour. Like the saying: “Between the saddle and the ground forgiveness was sought and forgiveness was found.”
I can’t do much with the first reading either. When Gideon’s reign was coming to an end, Abimelech, his son by a concubine, murdered off all his siblings except Jothan who fled. In the parable when the citizens of Shechem were about to anoint Amimelech king, Jothan said they were as foolish as people who would come near to a buckhorn for shade. They would not only be scorched by the sun, they would also get a prickly rash.
Let me reminisce about something I shouldn’t reminisce about. When I was ten I had a great uncle who was retired and lonely. He had been an official of the Wabash Railway, and he would now and then come to St. Louis to play checkers with me. One time he came after attending an estate auction in which he had picked up a little book that he presented to me. It was called “The Vocal Forest,” and was written in 1645 by one James Howell who was in the Tower of London for siding with Charles I rather than with Cromwell.
I mention it here just to make the point that fables about talking trees were a favorite for centuries. For years I carried my little book in the bag I had with me on airplanes, but someone made away with it. If we can find out about such things in heaven I will definitely ask about where it went, and how much they got for it.