I used to love watching Monty Python movies and the “Flying Circus” series on PBS. They would get me laughing so hard that my stomach would ache. In one scene a Saint is trying to coax the killer rabbit out of its lair. He finally had to rely on the Holy Hand Grenade. He said a bunch of prayers over the weapon and it was launched. It made a direct hit in the rabbit hole. When the dust cleared the rabbit reappeared unharmed. A knight when after the rabbit only to get his head bit off by the ferocious beast. At once all assembled broke ranks screaming “Run Away, Run Away.”
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Today’s gospel is John 6: 56-69. It tells the story of many of Jesus’ disciples running away. Jesus again said that He was the bread that came down from heaven. He said that whoever fed on this bread (His body) would live forever. Many disciples said this was a hard teaching and they began to leave. This spiritual mystery was much too much for them to handle. Then Jesus said that the spiritual life is much more important than the physical life. Yet many among the disciples didn’t believe Him. Jesus knew who didn’t believe and who would betray Him.
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Next a very powerful interchange happens between Jesus and the twelve apostles. Jesus asked them: “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Simon Peter answered, “ Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of Eternal Life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” So Peter and the others had an enormous Epiphany, Aha Moment! They realized that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior. They understood that His words and following Him would lead to Eternal Life!
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I know of present day disciples who came to the Lord. They were on fire for God! Things got rough though! Remember Jesus said that following Him would have lots of costs. Maybe you and I lost a job. Maybe a relationship went sour. Maybe we experienced some health problems. So then some believers go through the trials and tribulations of life and they allow the fire for Christ to burn out. Jesus’ teachings are counter cultural and can be tough to follow. What do you mean I have to love my neighbor as well as myself? What do you mean I have to take up my cross daily and follow you? What do you mean I have to share what I have with the poor? Well I think we get the picture. So the big question now is are we going to Run Away, Run Away when things get tough? Or are we going to step up to the plate (or cross) and be faithful followers of Christ? The choice, after all , is ours! AMEN!

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-Father Ed Murphy, Shared Episcopal Ministry

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