“Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, ‘Listen and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles… She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.” (Matthew 15:10-11, 27-28) This week’s Gospel lesson is one of the hard sayings of the New Testament. Its difficulty arises if one does not pay particular attention to the context in which the story of the Canaanite woman’s faith is told. Without understanding the previous parable of the redefinition of clean/unclean, Jesus seems rather harsh and (dare we say it?) exclusive. It’s not what goes in, but what comes out is a radical redefinition of what faith means. And lo and behold, the champion example of that new understanding is a pagan woman who has placed all her trust in this young Jewish teacher. Her witness is an amazing one, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” (v 22) She has seen something that Jesus’ own people and friends are having a hard time recognizing: and what is coming out of her mouth is the acknowledgment that Jesus is Lord! Perhaps this lesson is most important in the light of what occurred in Charlottesville this past week. Are you and I able to transcend old understandings of who’s in and who’s out, of what is clean and unclean? Are you and I able to get beyond family ties and racial differences and behold the Kingdom of God? Are we willing to allow our Lord to reconstitute all relationships so that we may recognize brothers and sisters in the most unlikely places? May what comes out of our mouths always reveal the truth, which our Canaanite sister saw so long ago: Jesus Christ is Lord and only in him will we find healing for all of our needs.