“Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
These words, spoken by Peter, are meant to be spoken by each of us. There are many voices in the world promising all kinds of “salvation.” The whole media/advertising industry is meant to get us to listen to those voices promising a better life awaits us … if we buy the right toothpaste; drive the right car; get the best price on insurance; etc. And, truth be told, we sometimes believe them! Young persons are confronted with the voices of peer pressure, leading them to do “what everyone else is doing” in order to be accepted or popular.
All these many voices … all the words with which we are inundated on a daily basis. Whose voice, whose words do I listen to? If the Lord is not guiding me daily life, who is? Or, is the only voice I listen to my own, thinking that I can manufacture my own happiness? (Which is another way of saying I can achieve salvation by myself.)
Like the crowds in the gospel today, many refuse to listen to the Lord’s voice: “This teaching is hard, who can accept it?” We’re told that they “returned to their former way of life.” They chose to listen to another voice – a different promise of salvation. We see this in the lives of many Christians today. They may claim to believe (usually only a vague belief) but by their lives it’s clear their listening to voices other than the voice of Jesus. Some other promise is guiding their lives.
How can you and I better hear and listen to the words of Jesus? The Alpha Course is an effective means of hearing his words – sometimes for the first time! Alpha is also a means of re-hearing the Good News in a way that makes it relevant for your life today. Many of the folks from our parishes who have attended Alpha are life-long Catholics, yet Alpha helped them to appropriate the Gospel in new and profound ways. They’ve come to understand in a deeper way “the words of eternal life” that cut through all the false promises of the world around us. Here’s what a couple folks have had to say about their experience of Alpha:
"Alpha has given me the tools and understanding of how to use those tools in order to have a relationship with God. The weekend away gave me the ability to finally fully accept myself as I am and a sense of calm and peace that I carry with me every day. I know truly know and feel God with me every day."
“The Alpha Course and especially the Weekend Retreat were life changing for me! I experienced a peace and joy that I have never known. I continue to feel this peace and joy, a closer relationship with Jesus, and a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit in my life.”
Alpha begins on Tuesday, September 8th. I believe so strongly in what Alpha can do for folks, I’m praying each day that as many parishioners as possible will take the Alpha Course. Please consider joining us this fall on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. For more information and to register for Alpha, visit us online: www.chippewafallsfaithformation.net/alpha.