Reflection on – Matthew 15:(10-20)21-28 (Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost)

When one reads the Gospel this week it is in two parts, and as we read it one wonders how they are connected. But as we read it it becomes apparent, It also is so relevant to what is occurring in today’s society.

He tries to explain to the crowd that it isn’t what you put into your mouth that makes a person unclean, but what comes out as spoken words actions and feelings that makes one unclean, Those words once spoken can never be taken back, they can be cruel and can hurt, But what we put into our mouths is eaten and is gone.

What we say and do are the things that make us clean or unclean in the eyes of God. One’s words and actions reflect the attitude of one’s heart. Basically, Jesus is saying, don’t worry so much about the purity laws, worry about loving your neighbor.

So how does the second part tie into this first part? Jesus had to rethink what his position was with the Canaanite woman. He had just told a crowd about words that come from your mouth is what makes you unclean in God’s eyes and he finds Himself using harsh words against the Canaanite woman. He had to stop and realize what he was doing as he listened to the words from the women who kept shouting after him about her daughter, she kneels at his feet, and appeals to his compassion. “Lord, I am asking you for help!” He rationalized his position as not enough of me to go around. He had just finished explaining to his disciples, that the very laws that kept them, the Jewish people, pure and clean and set apart from everyone else, were no longer needed. That it’s our attitudes and actions that make us unclean. And then what does he go and do? He ignores this desperate woman’s request because she is not part of the in crowd! And he doesn’t even realize it. Not until she pushes back and makes him understand his own hypocrisy. And then his eyes were opened. And then he gets it. And his whole outlook on all of humankind changed. Here’s the thing. When it comes to Gods love for human beings. Every single human is in that in group. Period. We may never get it right, when it comes to how we treat others, how we love our neighbor. We will mess up, again and again. But we can learn. And we can keep trying to make it right. Let us keep trying,

Do the words of this Gospel ring true today. We look at the civil unrest and how we treat each other. It is unfortunate we can’t stop and look at our words and actions and realize that we need to desperately change. We need to learn to really hear one another, to also hear our own words and observe our own actions. Even Jesus had to rethink his words and actions. And he changed his mind and his attitude. Here’s the thing, when it comes to Gods love for human beings, every single human is one of God’s children. We may never get it right, when it comes to how we treat others, how we love our neighbor. We will mess up, again and again. But we can learn. And we can keep trying to make it right. Let us keep trying, with God’s help.

I am going to close with the lyrics for John Lennon’s song, “Imagine’

You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one

In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen

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