Are you listening?

How many times has somebody 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.


Do you have a favorite saint? A holy person who loves God very much? Maybe you pray to him or her more than to any other. Well,the people of the country of Bulgaria have a favorite saint. They name their churches after him, they put his icon on their money, they pray to him because he was one of them!
Saint John of Rila was once a simple cowherd, who lived near what is now Sofia, Bulgaria. John loved God so much that he wanted to find a way to grow closer and closer to Him. So he moved to the Rila mountains, to the wilderness. He wanted to live all alone so he could pray and fast and love God’s beautiful world. That was Saint John’s plan, but people began to find out about this holy man, and they wanted to be close to him too! Soon, more and more people would visit him, asking for his prayers and his advice.
Once, even King Peter of Bulgaria came to see him. John was so humble though, that he refused to meet the king. Instead, they bowed to each other from far away. He gave away most of the gifts the king gave him, and he told the king that he needed it more—so the king could help the poor.

For many years, the people of Bulgaria had a hard time as Christians. But they have always loved Saint John and many people still pray to him as one of their real heroes!

We celebrate the name day of St. John on Wednesday, October 19th