How often do you think about: Your relationship with Jesus? Or why we are here?
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is preparing the apostles for his farewell and shares with them gifts that will help them as he completes his hour of passing from this world to the Father. The first gift is that of the Holy Spirit who will be their Advocate and will teach them everything and remind them of all that he told them. The second gift is the gift of His peace. He explains that this peace is not as the world gives, but instead is one that will remain with them and is beyond any human effort or comprehension.
Reflecting on this scripture passage gives us the opportunity to ask ourselves if we have accepted these gifts of Jesus and helps us to think about how we experience these gifts in our own lives. What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? How can I have the peace of God that transcends human understanding?
The answer lies in our relationship with Jesus. God wants to be in perfect relationship with us -- so he made that relationship possible through Jesus. It's then up to us to seek God and ask him into our lives. Christ has made it clear in his Word that the peace we seek is bought, assured, and sustained by Christ alone.
How often do you think about your relationship with Jesus? Do you have opportunities to talk about your faith and share your feelings with others? Most of us feel as if there is not a safe space to explore our feelings and ask the deeper questions about the meaning of life.
One of the ways that you can look at these and other questions can be done with Alpha for adults – a tool that can help you rediscover the meaning and joy of the Christian message. Alpha was created in England by the Anglican Church; it was later adapted and endorsed for use with Catholics and is currently is being used in Catholic and Christian churches throughout the world. Alpha creates an environment and opportunity for an encounter with Jesus. As Pope Francis likes to say, it is the chance for “Jesus to find them.”
No two Alphas look the same, but generally they have three key things in common: food, a short video and good conversation. Enjoying a meal is an essential part of Alpha; eating food together is great for building community. After the meal, a short video is viewed. The content, which explores the big issues around faith, are designed to engage and inspire conversation. Small groups provide the opportunity to share thoughts and ideas on the topic and to build trust and friendship. All are invited to share openly and honestly, without any criticism or judgement.
We plan to offer the Alpha Film Series in the Fall starting in October. Alpha is all about taking that next step in one's faith journey and is perfect for those who have been involved in the faith all of their life, or just recently beginning a faith journey with Christ. Our hope is that many will respond to this invitation to explore life and the Christian faith in a friendly, open and informal environment. Perhaps there is a friend or family member you can invite to join you at the sessions to give them the opportunity to ask the fundamental basic questions about life: “Why are we here, who are we, what’s our purpose?”
When Jesus was preparing the apostles for his leaving, he knew that they needed to have ways to stay connected to Him to be able to carry on His work in the world. We, like the apostles, need to stay connected to Jesus and give ourselves time for the Spirit of God to do what only He can do. The unchanging message of Jesus Christ can help us to understand our purpose in life and have our faith renewed and rekindled. Stay tuned for more details about the offering of Alpha – something that can help you experience the Lord as real and truly present in your life. We hope you will join us!