Do you have a good friend? This week we will celebrate one great saint, and the day after, we will celebrate the nameday of his good friend. Long ago, in the city of Thessaloniki, Greece, Christians were not allowed to be Christians. Well, they could be Christians, but they had to do it in secret or they could be hurt or killed.
St. Demetrios was a Christian soldier. He was sent to prison because he wouldn’t worship idols. He said he would only worship our one, true God… the same God that you and I worship! The general, who was in charge of that whole land, held a cruel game sometimes – he would send Christians into a stadium to fight a huge, strong man named Lyaeus.
Another Christian, named Nestor, decided to fight him, even though he wasn’t even close to Lyaeus’s size! Nestor wanted to show that God was on his side. He visited his friend, St. Demetrios, in prison, and asked if he should. St. Demetrios gave him his blessing, and told his friend, Nestor, to always love God.
What wonderful friends St.Demetrios and St. Nestor are! They knew that the best thing they could do was to help each other love God. Can you help your friends do that, too?
Presvytera Alexandra Houck, myocn
How many times has somebody—a teacher, your mother or father, or even a friend— told you to LISTEN? Sometimes we DO hear something, but that doesn’t mean we are really listening!
In today’s Gospel reading, we hear a story about somebody who goes out to the field to plant seeds. Some seeds never sprout at all. Some seeds sprout at first and then die. But some seeds fall onto good dirt, and they do sprout. They grow and grow and give a good crop.
This story shows how we should hear God’s teachings. The Gospel explains that the seeds that are in the good dirt are the ones who, “hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart.” They hold onto it, because the word of God is something precious!
So it’s easy to hear the word, but we also have to listen. That means in church, or in church school, or when we read our Bibles, or when our parents tell us about Jesus Christ, we listen. We try to take these words about God and put them into our hearts. We try to live the words, and not just hear them. We hold them fast in an honest and good heart.
Presvytera Alexandra Houck, myocn
We’ve all heard sad stories. But in today’s Gospel reading, we hear one of the saddest of all. We hear about a woman whose son had died. She was already a widow—her husband had died. Now her son had died, too. Of course, she was very upset!
When Jesus saw her, He felt sorry for her, too. “Do not weep,” He said. “Don’t cry.” Right then, He touched her son, and he rose up! The boy was alive again! Lots of times, especially when you were little, your parents might have seen you sad or crying. “Don’t cry,” they said. Of course, your parents don’t want you to be sad. Just like your loving parents, God does not want us to be sad either.
But God has given us something to be very happy and joyful about. He gave His own Son, Jesus Christ. He opened up heaven for us, so that one day, we can be in a perfect place forever! “Don’t cry,” God tells us too!
Presvytera Alexandra Houck, myocn.
Is there something you are afraid about?
You might not know that the thing people are most afraid about is…spiders! Yes, more people are afraid of spiders than any other thing. Usually, people are afraid of something that is stronger than they are, or more powerful. Some spiders might have a strong poison, and you can’t do much about it!
In the Gospel reading today, Jesus tells His followers, “Do not be afraid!” He wasn’t talking about spiders, of course. But His disciples might have been afraid when they found out how powerful the Lord really was!
Saint Peter was cleaning his fishing nets when Jesus told him to go back out into the lake to try again. “We have worked all night and caught nothing, but at your word, I will let down the net” Peter answered Him. When he did what Jesus had told him, Peter caught so many fish that his boat was starting to sink! Then he and his friends knew that Jesus had done a miracle. They knew He was strong. They knew He was powerful.
We know that God is strong and powerful too. But let’s remember, God tells us too, “Do not be afraid!” We can still come close to God. We can still talk to Him in prayer. We can know more about Him when we read the Bible. Do not be afraid of our strong, powerful, but loving God!
Presvytera Alexandra Houck
When you see your friends, what do you say? “Hey, what’s up?” “How’s it going?” We always have something to say, don’t we? At church, you might hear people greet each other in a different way. “Christ is in our midst!” Christ is with us! And you can answer, “He is and ever shall be!” He always will be with us!
We know that our Lord, Jesus Christ, is with us always: when things are going well and when they’re not, when we’re in church and when we’re somewhere else, when we’re with our Christian friends and family and when we’re not. But today, in the Gospel reading, we hear about how Christ is with us in a different way too. We hear how God wants us to think about our Lord anytime we see another person!
The Gospel says, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,” and more. And for those people, God says, “Inherit the kingdom prepared for you.” He invites these people to be with Him in heaven! Then the people wonder when they gave Jesus food or drink or clothes, or when they visited Him. But He answers that as you did it to “the least of these,” you did it to Him. So when we help another person, we are really helping Christ too!
Let’s always remember, “Christ is in our midst!” He is with us! Let’s do our best to give Him food and drink and clothes, and love – every time we help another person!
Presvytera Alexandra Houck, myocn.net
What would you do if you had an hour free to do whatever you wanted? How about a weekend, or even a whole summer break? How would you spend your time? Reading books? Napping? Playing video games? Some-times we might want to spend our time in a good way, but when it comes down to it, we waste our time on silly things.
Today is the Sunday of the Prodigal Son. You remember that Gospel reading, don’t you? The young man wasted all his money on things he shouldn’t have. He might have wanted to spend his money on good things, but when he had the money in his hands, he wasted it all, every single bit of it! He didn’t have any money left for something he really needed—like food. Continue reading
When we hear a story, sometimes we think about how we fit into it, don’t we?
Today we hear the story of the Publican and the Pharisee. Do you remember it? Two men went to the temple to pray. One of them said, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people.” He went on to compare himself to other people, other sinners. He told God all the great things he did. But the other man would not even look up, and just said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”
When we hear this story, we think about how we fit into it. You can ask yourself: Which way do I pray? Do I tell God all the great things I have done? Do I compare myself to the bad kids at school, and remind God that I’m not like them? OR do I tell God that I make mistakes? Do I ask Him to help me with my problems?
Which way do YOU pray?
Just think: the two men came to the same temple. They came to talk to the same God. But how different they were! Remember, God wants all of us to talk to Him, to pray to Him. But let’s follow the example of the humble man. “God be merciful to me, a sinner!”
Presvytera Alexandra Houck, myocn.net