Have you ever seen something that made you feel sorry for somebody?
Maybe a person asking you for money? Maybe a classmate who had a family member who was very sick? Maybe a neighbor whose house burned down?
Sometimes we hear about sad things, but we might say to ourselves, “Too bad for him!” or even “I’m glad that didn’t happen to me!” We might feel sorry, but we don’t want to try to do anything
In the Gospel reading today, we hear a story about a very rich man who acted just that way. The Gospel says he dressed very well and ate very well too. Outside his gate lived a very poor man who had nothing. Only the dogs came to take care of him. That first man surely noticed the poor man, but maybe he thought “Too bad for him!” or even “I’m glad that isn’t me!”
We have to be careful not to be like the first man! Saint Basil once said that when we don’t help the poor, we are like thieves! He said, “The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat you don’t use in your closet belongs to the one who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the one who has no shoes; the money which you store up belongs to the poor.”
When you feel sorry for somebody, can you think of a way you and your family can help?
DO YOU KNOW SAINT JOHN OF CHICAGO?
We all want to be first at something, don’t we? First in line. Or first to finish our work. Or even first to invent something important or solve some great puzzle.
Saint John Kochurov of Chicago was first at something that not many people would want to be first at! A hundred years ago in Russia, a big group of people hated the Church, and they hated their Christian leaders too. They (called the Communists) started a huge rebellion, and they wanted to throw out all the leaders and put their own people in charge. Saint John Kochurov was the first priest to be killed by these God-hating people. He was the first one…out of many, many Christian priests.
Before that though, Saint John grew up in Russia and he studied to be a priest. He wanted to go to America, to serve as a priest where there weren’t too many Orthodox churches yet. The bishop sent him (along with his wife) to Chicago, Illinois. Saint John worked hard to teach the people there, and many people became Orthodox Christians. Saint John built churches here in the United States with help from Tsar Nicholas (the king) in Russia. He was a great priest with lots of energy. Sadly, when he went back to Russia, things were becoming hard for Christians.
He was a very popular priest, and the rebels didn’t like that. He was killed for his Orthodox faith. But Saint John loved his flock in the U.S., and now we can pray for his help!