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

Today we hear of a woman whose faith was great.  The Lord says to her,
?Woman, great is thy faith.  Be it done to thee even as thou wilt.¦  Now
we must learn something of this woman so that we can apply this
knowledge to ourselves; we can learn something of faith, we who know
very little about faith.  We say we have faith, we say we are Orthodox
Christians.  But, if we look inside of ourselves, we see that in many
ways we live without faith.  Let us learn about faith from someone who
is such a good example.  Now the woman was from Canaan.  You have heard
of the land of Canaan; populated with idols and such.  The Jews had to
fight the Canaanites in order to go into the Promised Land.  Well, those
peoples and their idols were never obliterated because the Jews did not
obey; they were supposed to kill everybody, but they didn-t.  This was a
land that was full of demons, full of unbelief, and full of evils.  And
this woman was not one of those full of evil, but her daughter was
possessed of demons.  Now, we read in Scripture where children were
possessed of demons and where the Lord rebuked the parents, as in the
case of the father whose child could not be cured by His disciples and
asked the Lord that He would help him.  The Lord rebuked him, saying,
?O, how long am I to be with you, you wicked and deceitful generation?¦,
because the father-s sins had brought on the possession of his son by
the demons.  This can happen.  Now, we must surmise that the woman did
not have any sins that would cause the demons to possess her daughter
because the Lord said that she had great faith.  He didn-t say anything
about the faith of this man that had a possessed son.  The woman-s
daughter was possessed of a demon because of the evils in the land. 
Now, this is the case to this day, sometimes people are possessed by
demons or fall into great sins because of the evils around them or other
times because of their evil parents or family.  Now, she comes to Him
and says, ?Have mercy on me, thou Son of David!¦  What an amazing thing
to say.  Not necessarily because she asked him for mercy; she wanted to
have her daughter healed.  But that she called Him ?Son of David¦.  This
is a pagan woman, a pagan who is more Jewish than the Jews; who
understands more about the Messiah than they do because the Lord indeed
is the ?Son of David.¦  That is a Messianic title.  The Lord would be
from the loins of David, it was prophesied in the Scriptures.  Now the
Jews who would end up crucifying the Lord knew these same Scriptures,
but because of their unbelief, their hardness of heart, because of their
ambition, they forgot about this.  They knew that He was descended from
David.  So we see that knowledge does not help much unless we have
virtue as well.  And this woman had great virtue, as we will see in a
minute.  It is truly amazing that she said ?Son of David.¦  Who told her
this?  Maybe she heard the Lord preach, she probably didn-t have access
to the Scriptures.  She had a heart that was open and willing to be
touched by God, even as a pagan (nominally a pagan because she was truly
a believer), and came to know about the true God and had the courage to
call Him by His Messianic title.  Now she comes to him and says, ?My
daughter is grievously vexed by a devil¦ and He doesn-t answer her word,
He doesn-t say anything, He ignores her.  How rude!  How many of us
would, if we had a daughter that was vexed with a devil or someone who
was very sick, react as this woman did and keep on following and keep on
crying and not get angry and in a huff.  Do you think this would work
for Jairus?  I don-t think so.  The Lord had to ?baby¦ Jairus a little. 
As a leader of the synagogue, he would have become quite angry if the
Lord had ignored him.  So the Lord is ignoring this woman and she keeps
crying out to the Apostles, who become vexed with this.  And they go to
the Lord and then He says something somewhat cryptic, ?I am not sent but
unto the lost sheep of Israel.¦  The Lord came to enlighten the Jews and
then by the Jews enlighten the whole world.  The Lord didn-t come to
enlighten Dallas, Texas.  He expects His followers, His disciples to
enlighten Dallas, Texas.  And the woman then, worming her way forward,
was able to present herself to Him and say, ?Lord, help me.¦  And then
He answers her dismissively, in a manner most of us in this situation
would consider to be rude, ?It is not meet to take the children-s bread
and give it to the dogs.¦  Now the children are the Jews.  He is sent to
the lost sheep of Israel.  So His task is to enlighten the Jews.  Now,
there were very few instances where he had interactions with those who
were not Jews, preeminent being the Samaritan woman, where He cured the
lepers, of which one was a Samaritan, and now this woman.  And He says
that I am not going to take My teachings, waste My time, with little
dogs.  And the woman doesn-t take offence.  She knows that she is that
she is outside the household of faith.  She believes that He is God, but
she also knows that she unworthy and outside of salvation.  She accepts
this.  She doesn-t take offence at this because she knows that the Son
of David will have mercy on her if she asks with faith, with desire, and
with humility.  So she answers, I think, the greatest answer in all of
Scriptures to something the Lord has said.  She says, ?Yea, Lord, but
even the dogs eat of the crumbs of the master-s table.¦  This is part of
the reason that the Lord says that she has great faith.  The pursuing of
Him, even when He ignored her, was a sign of great faith.  But this is
an even greater example.  What a marvelous thing to recognize her
unworthiness, but yet to have this confidence that the Lord would help
her.  She knew her place.  She knew she was a little dog and she didn-t
take offence.  By the way, that is quite an insult, among the Jews, to
call someone a dog.  But she knew that even a dog could lay patiently by
their master-s table, not begging, because then they would just be
cuffed and kicked and sent out into the courtyard.  But, patiently
awaiting the time when they would be fed, even if it was only by
accident.  Most of you know that dogs are my favorite animal.  Dogs are
amazing animals.  They are very humble.  They don-t take offence and are
very patient.  They are very loyal.  They know their place and they are
not offended by it.  They don-t mind that we tell them what to do.  They
are also very bold; but bold and humble at the same time.  True humility
brings about great boldness.  This was a very bold comment for this
woman to make.  Yes, I am a dog, but I know that you are merciful and
that even the dogs will be fed.  So the Lord answers her and says,
?Woman, great is thy faith.  Be it done to thee even as thou wilt.¦  And
the demon left her daughter at that very moment and she was healed.  Do
we have this kind of faith, brothers and sisters?  That we are willing
to pursue the Lord even when we don-t get an answer?  Even when we feel
like we are being ignored?  Do we have such faith that we are willing to
look at ourselves and see our imperfections and realize that we are not
worthy of mercy but know that the Lord will give us mercy if we will be
as this woman was?  I dare say, most of the time, probably not.  But
this woman can teach us.  We don-t even know her name.  In all of Church
history, I don-t think I can recall where her name was mentioned.  We
know the name of the woman at the well.  The Church tells us that her
name was St. Photini.  But this woman is nameless; nameless on the
earth, but not in Heaven.  She is well known in Heaven.  Let us have her
faith.  Let us have just a little of her faith!  Let us pursue the Lord.
 Let us not take offence when we do not have things the way we desire
them according to our grand plan.  Let us consider ourselves to be like
dogs.  But dogs will obtain mercy from God if they are patient, loyal,
bold, and humble.  Do you have those attributes?  Are you patient?  Are
you loyal?  Do you pray with attention?  Do you pray often?  Is your
goal when you get up in the morning to be a Christian in everything you
do, think, and say?  Or, do you have other goals when you get up?  To
take care of this or that, or this ambition or that ambition?  Let us be
like this woman.  Let us be humble.  Let us pursue the Lord.  And if we
are humble and pursue the Lord, then we will have great boldness, and we
will be able to ask Him for things.  ?Lord, help my friend, my son, my
daughter, my wife.¦  This person who is grievously suffering-and the
Lord will hear us.  Not because we think that we deserve anything, but
He will see our faith, and the Lord responds to faith and true faith is
boldness before the Lord.  So let us cultivate our faith at least by
struggling to pursue the Lord and not expecting to be fed immediately
with the feast that is on the table-the crumbs are enough.  May God help
us to be like this woman.