Presvytera Alexandra Houck created The Children's Word bulletin so children will know they are not only welcome in church, but even more, an essential part of the Church family. She hopes the weekly bulletin will be just one more way we can make kids feel at home in church. Presvytera Alexandra is a graduate of Duke University and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Her husband, Fr. Jason Houck, is a priest at St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis, MN. Presvytera Alexandra and Fr. Jason have three small children: Lydia, Paul, and Silas. Presvytera Alexandra grew up attending Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Asheville, North Carolina with her nine siblings.
Can you think of something you’ve taught somebody else to do? Cook a dinner? Tie your shoes? Dribble the basketball behind your back? When you teach something, you have to do it yourself first, right? You’d look kind of silly if you just told somebody how, but couldn’t (or wouldn’t) do it yourself!
In today’s Gospel reading, we hear the words of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. We call Christ “Teacher” because He was the best of them all. In fact, in the Bible, His followers call Him “Teacher” 60 times! Today we hear, “ Therefore… whoever does these commandments and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
One of our favorite saints, Saint John Chrysostom, once preached about these words of our Lord. He said that doing and teaching go together. When we do something good, we have to teach others to do good too. And when we teach others, we have to do it too! In other words, we can’t tell other people to be good Christians, if we aren’t trying to be good Christians ourselves. Otherwise, we will definitely have people make fun of us for that, St. John said! Remember, doing and teaching go together.
We can also look to our Teacher, Christ Himself! He taught the right way, but He did the right way first!
SAINT MARINA: A SAINT WHO STILL LISTENS!
Do you have a friend who is a good listener? It’s easy to notice somebody who really listens to you when you tell him or her something.
You know, saints are good listeners too! How do we know that? Because many, many people pray to them, asking them for help. They listen, and then they help!
Saint Marina lived many years ago—only two hundred years after our Lord did! Her father was a pagan priest who worshipped idols, but he had a Christian nanny for her, who taught her the faith. Saint Marina grew to have a strong Christian faith too. Later on, she suffered and even died because of her love for our one, true God.
But that’s not the end of the story, of course! Saint Marina is still alive with our Lord in heaven. Many people love her very much, and they pray to her for help. On the island of Andros, in Greece, a family prayed to Saint Marina to heal their sick boy. She helped the boy, and was even with the doctors in the operating room!
In Albania, up high on a mountain, there is a monastery named after Saint Marina. Christians, and even Muslims too, visit this holy place. The people of Bulgaria also love Saint Marina very much. Her feastday there is a big deal!
Always remember that the saints listen to us. When we learn about their lives, we will want to talk and pray to them even more!
We celebrate the nameday of Saint Marina on July 17th (July 30th OC).
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