The church is an hospital

Have you ever been to a hospital?

Well, probably you have, as a newborn baby. But maybe you broke your arm or maybe you were sick another time. When you’re very sick and need help, you know that the hospital is the best place for you.

Today we hear in the Gospel a story you probably learned when you were very small. It’s the story of the Good Samaritan. You remember how a man was beaten up and left on the side of the road. You remember how nobody would help him, until a stranger came and took him to an inn. This stranger took care of him, and promised to come back and check on him.

When we read these parables or stories in the Bible, we know that they’re not just for our entertainment. They have other meanings too, don’t they? Of course, we know we should be like the Good Samaritan, the stranger who helped the poor, sick man. But some people explain the story in other ways too. Saint John Chrysostom (who wrote many, many sermons) tells us that the church is our hospital. We go there to be healed. We go there to get medicine (Holy Communion). We go to church to try to get better, and to grow closer to the best Doctor, Christ Himself. He’s the one who takes care of us, just like the stranger did in the parable today!

A Saint who got in trouble

Nobody likes getting in trouble. Do you? At home or at school, or anywhere else, you might get punished for it, or you might at least get embarrassed.

Today we celebrate one of the best saints of our Church. Saint John Chrysostom was a saint who didn’t mind getting in trouble. That’s because he was used to it. He also knew it was more impor-tant to speak the truth and get in trouble with the rulers, than to keep quiet and live in peace. Saint John wrote many sermons, and lots of times he talked about how we Christians have to help the poor. He built hospitals for poor, sick people, and special kitchens for poor, hungry people. In the great city of Constantinople (where he was the archbishop), the emperor and empress didn’t seem to care so much about the poor. They grew richer and richer, and they ignored the poor people in the city. Saint John spoke out against the rulers, and he got in big trouble for it.

The empress Eudoxia had a big, expensive statue of herself built, and Saint John spoke out against that too…and he got in even more trouble for that. He was sent away into exile, away from the city, where he couldn’t serve as archbishop. He later died there.

Saint John had lots of people who loved him (and he still does!). He told them not to think of the bad things that happened to him, but to think of the rewards he won in the contest—and that’s life with Jesus Christ forever!

We celebrate the feastday of St John today, November 13th.