6th Sunday of Easter, Year C

We have two homilies by Father Hanly for 6th Sunday of Easter, Year C, but one is just for Mother’s Day.

Two Homilies:

Love and Peace

Love and Peace

In his homily for 6th Sunday of Easter, Year C, Father Hanly reminds us that the only command that Jesus ever gave his disciples was this: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Readings for Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year C

  • First Reading: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29
  • Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
  • Second Reading: Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23
  • Gospel: John 14:23-29


Written Homily

In today’s gospel, Jesus says to his disciples:

“Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.

We’re so used to those words we forget how beautiful they are. And it’s Jesus at the Last Supper talking to his disciples.

And what does Jesus mean when he says: “Whosoever loves me keeps my word?’ Keeps what word?

The only command that Jesus ever gave his disciples is this: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Not love him or the Father, but “Love one another.” Be generous and kind, loyal and true, but most of all forgiving of each other. This is all that God wants of you.

The true mark of a disciple of Jesus is his willingness to forgive.

Jesus says: “By this will all men know you are my disciples, because you love one another, loving with God’s love, and God’s love is for always a forgiving love, and God’s love is a giving love, and what God gives, he never takes away.”

I’m sure you’ll all say, “Yes, fine words as we sit here in this church, safe, sound and comfortable. But as for the world outside, the wicked world is a different place, full of evil and guile, and great dangers, too. Best to be avoided at all costs.”

Only one important thing to keep in mind when we say things like that and that is this: the world outside is God’s world, and he tells us, “Do not be afraid, I have overcome the world that you fear. And together we shall change the world.” In fact, it’s changing before your very eyes, for Jesus is among us and is changing it.

And now I shall tell you an old story, which you have probably heard before, but it bears retelling to us disciples of Jesus who are sent into the whole world, sent by Jesus himself, especially to those people who need God’s forgiveness and need God’s love.

That world can be very empty and who but we are to fill it with an understanding that God is there and with them.

After all, to give the gift of God’s love and to teach others how to love as God loves is the reason that Jesus came to dwell among us and why he makes his home with us in the first place.

The story:

There was once an old Rabbi who lived on the edge of a dark and gloomy forest.

The forest may have been dark and gloomy, but it was also known far and wide as a sacred forest. And in the sacred forest there was a sacred tree. And beneath the sacred tree were written the sacred words in a sacred language that only the Rabbi could read.

And whenever his flock was in grave danger, the people would go to the Rabbi and the Rabbi would go to the sacred forest, find the sacred tree and read the sacred words, and a miracle would happen and the people in the village would all be saved.

Now when the old Rabbi died, a new Rabbi took his place. He had heard the story of the sacred forest and the sacred tree and the sacred words, so when the people came to warn him of a great danger, the Rabbi went with them to the sacred forest, and they found the sacred tree.

Alas, the Rabbi had forgotten how to read the words, so he made up his own. And guess what, the miracle happened anyway and the people were saved.

A long time passed and a third Rabbi was appointed, but he lived in a city far away, and though he knew the story about the sacred forest and the sacred tree and the sacred words, he thought it was all only a story.

But when the people of the village went up to the city to seek the new Rabbi out, to save them from a great danger, he gathered them together in the city square and prayed:

“O Lord of Heaven, we know there was a sacred forest and we know there was a sacred tree and we know there were sacred words to be said, but they’re lost and gone and almost all forgotten. However, now, in their memory, we now beg you to save us from the great danger.”

And guess what, the miracle happened again and the people were saved.

The lesson? Many, but one explanation might be: God is with us all, and always with us: in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, in mourning and in celebration… He loves us, we are all his children, and his love and our destiny are and will be everlasting.

And the people rejoiced and praised the Lord of Heaven for his wisdom and kindness and his love.

And, today, we add to that joy the joy of Jesus telling us it’s all about love: God, loving us and we loving one another as Jesus loves us.

And not to forget the end of today’s Gospel, which is the end of our homily, and that is when Jesus himself speaks to us again. The first part was love; the second part is peace. And he says to all of us here today:

 “Peace I leave with you, my own peace I give you. A peace which the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. So do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”

And we might well add: “Jesus, take pity on our troubled and fearful hearts, and grant to us the peace and unity and love of your kingdom where you live with us now and forever and ever.”


Mother’s Day for Peace

Mother’s Day for Peace

In his homily for 6th Sunday of Easter, Year C, Father Hanly explains that the idea behind Mother’s Day was a Mother’s Day for peace.

Readings for Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year C

  • First Reading: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29
  • Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
  • Second Reading: Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23
  • Gospel: John 14:23-29



It’s Mother’s Day. I thought we should talk a little bit about how Mother’s Day originated. We think of it primarily as an American feast that spread around, but it has a much deeper meaning than that behind it.

Since the beginning of time, mothers have been venerated. Mothers are very important members of every community, because you can imagine without mother, we’d have nothing.

Even in the Ten Commandments handed down by God. They all seem rather negative — don’t do this and don’t do that — but the fourth one says, “Honour your father and your mother, and you will live long upon the land.” Not only is it positive, but it is full of promise.

But the day, Mothering Day now …

Well, of course, when we think of mother, we think of all the days dedicated to Mary Mother, the mother of God, for instance, the mother of the Saviour, the mother of the Messiah. And, of course, it fills us with joy to celebrate all these many forms of mothering that she takes for us during the year.

But around the 1600s, we have the mention of a day, a special day, for mothering and it started in England.

And it was in the 17th Century, the Church was divided in England at the time. Part of the British empire was Catholic but most of it had followed King Henry out into Anglicanism and Protestantism.

And so a lot of the liturgy was left behind, the kind of treasured liturgy that we have today when we have saints names and Christmas days and Easters and all of it, some of it was taken, a lot of it was left.

And so during this time, they began to have these special days that were, in a sense, trying to recall the good old days of showing our devotion to the Blessed Mother.

And so one of the popular feast days was Mothering Day.

Now that’s the first time we have Mother’s Day or close to it.

Mothering Day was…

Because the rich people all moved into the big cities at this time (in fact they created the big cities like London etc, etc), they had to bring all the country people with them, or the ones that served them, the ones that were a part of their household, their household servants.

But they had one thing. They left their mothers and fathers behind and went into the big city, but, every Lent, on the 4th Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday, they allowed all their help to return to the country and visit their mothers and to spend the whole day with them, probably the only day they got off.

And so it happened that Mothering Day was the first time we hear about Mother’s Day.

The American…

Of course, many of those who settled in the United States were from England or the British Isles.

And so Mothering Day they did not bring with them, largely because those who came from England were usually leaving England because they felt they were not appreciated there.

They were certain members of certain groups and they were looking for a land where they would be free of kings and queens, and so they settled in America.

But what did happen was the Civil War, when it broke out…

Now the Civil War was around 1860s and you can’t imagine how terrible the Civil War was because, first of all, it was fratricide, it was killing your brothers and sisters, but mostly your brothers.

You sent all your men out to battle, and you sent your young men from sixteen on, and even some fourteen and less, and then you waited for the great battle, and so many didn’t return.

The United States lost more soldiers in the Civil War than every war since then up to now in their whole history. And it was a savage war.

And so the end of it, people trying to, through the rubble and destruction of cities and towns and areas, they tried to build a new world.

Of course, the split was terrible and it hung in the air like a foul odour. There was the north and the south…

And then one lady whose name you probably are familiar with, Julia Ward Howe…

Julia Ward Howe wrote the lyrics for the most famous song to come out of the Civil War which is “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” This was her.

But later on, she began to gather women who had no rights, or they couldn’t vote, and she began to gather them together, and their one idea was Mother’s Day, Mother’s Day for peace.

She was anti-war, and so were all the women that she gathered together, because most of them had lost husbands, they had lost their only children, they suffered greatly and those who were with them suffered greatly.

And so it was that this movement became very, very strong. And its idea was anti-war and they would organise against the government that would allow their grandchildren to be slaughtered at the next terrible war.

Now this movement was very, very strong, as you can imagine. It grew out of the pain and sorrow and loss of a terrible, terrible time for a still young country.

They made, at that time, the first proclamation, this group, and they made a proclamation of “Mothers for Peace”: no more wars, we’re not sending our children out anymore.

Well, this met with approval, but not so much approval, because as you know some felt that this was a radical idea, no wars, all pacifist etc. So it had great success and popularity, but it had great arguments against it.

At the same time, however, there was another woman from the south, from West Virginia. Her name was Ann Reeves. And she started a mother’s friendship, which became a mother’s friendship day.

But it wasn’t just a day. She gathered women and their aims were reconciliation between east and west. And they felt that the women could do this better than the men, that they could reconcile the north with the south, and they were organised for social services.

This is important now, social services, not religious purposes. They all came from basically Christian religions, but it was for social services.

And they went to these burnt out areas all through the south and the north where there was all kinds of difficulties, but mainly the people were dying from the destruction and the garbage and the filth and the destruction of whole areas at a time.

So they began to teach women how to deal with that kind of crisis.

So it was really the first social service that the United States government got involved in, although they didn’t get involved in it, but Ann Reeves and these women, and they grew very powerful.

What they used to do is train the mothers, mothers now, how to be nurses, how to take care of the food, how to live in a world that had so much destruction and poison and misery in it.

And they became very effective social service workers: medical services, nursing, caring for depressed and despised people, and this is they would have their day.

This was not just a day, but it was a woman’s day, it was a mother’s day.

And, lo and behold, after that, the daughter of Ann Reeves, whose name was Anna Jarvis, spent her whole time, she actually went to a seminary (now a seminary was a woman’s college in those days) and, when she graduated, she took up her mother’s cause.

And now there were very many women in the 1900s, and when she took up this cause, she dedicated her whole life to it.

The nice thing about this is she is the one who called her movement Mother’s Day and that’s what she went about. She wanted to create a day, a Mother’s Day, a day that would be anti-war, a day where women could get together and discuss their needs, their social needs.

And it became so very popular that Woodrow Wilson, who was the president of the United States, in 1914, finally was convinced that he would declare the United States would have a national Mother’s Day. And this is part of what it was like.

The ideals were rooted in religious faith, belief in God, because it was the Judeo-Christian tradition all these people came from.

It was respect for motherhood, not women, of course that could be taken for granted, but with special care for motherhood, because they were the ones who suffered from the Great War mostly.

It was to be full of social action, anti-war, promote social action and social action mainly for the support of families, so it was the first social service.

But the ringing spirit behind it all was the original one by the one who started the movement for Mother’s Day for peace. It was peace that would be the goal.

Now I’m going to see if I can find it here, but it was basically the President said this: Mother’s Day for the “public expression of love and of reverence for all mothers of our nation.”

That was in 1914. By 1920, one third of the whole world had begun, if they didn’t already have one instituted, a Mother’s Day. All of Canada, all the way down through South America and even over to Asia. 

(Father says something in Chinese), you know (Father says something else in Chinese)? That originated during this same period. It’s the three eight, the anniversary, every year, that we celebrate Mother’s Day and Woman’s Day.

Now what happened very quickly, and this kind of broke the heart of Anna Jarvis, it got commercialised. It became sort of a time when chocolates were given and flowers were sold and restaurants did a great business.

And it didn’t spoil it, but it kind of disappointed Anna Jarvis because she was for freedom and peace for the whole world that would come out of this.

But it kind of put a little tinge in it and it began to lose its dedication to anti-war and social services and all of these things. But not entirely.

But four years later, when President Wilson declared Mother’s Day, four years later, the worst of all wars happened, the First World War, that wiped out so many young people all across Europe and other places, and it took another generation to go back to these original principles and say, “No, we must create a world of peace, integrity, where mothers are held sacred.”

I’m going to end this now, and you probably didn’t put two and two together, but originally it started out as a peace movement and then it concentrated on motherhood. Remember these two things, peace and motherhood because they are closely connected.

And now I’ll read you what Jesus says, yes, today:

“Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.”

“We will dwell, we will be with him.” And then Jesus says this:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”

Jesus’ peace is self-sacrificing love. “I have come to be with you to teach you how to love, to teach you how to care, to teach you how to sacrifice.”

And if there’s any picture that we all are familiar with when we think of peace for the whole world, if we’re religious people, it’s Christmas, the Blessed Mother holding the little child who is the hope and salvation of the whole world.

And her commitment was a mother’s love, a self-sacrificing love, a new hope, a new joy and a world fit for bringing in children that they might understand the love of God.

So today we’re going to ask all the mothers to stand up. We have a special blessing for you.

In Woodrow Wilson’s message, remember, he said “for all the mothers, those who are living and those who have passed away,” and so today we want to remember them in this blessing as well.

Let us pray.

Holy God,
You compare Your own love for Your people
to the love of a mother for her children.
Look with kindness on these mothers.
Give them comfort in moments of sorrow.
Give them joy in their work with their families.

Listen to their prayers
And bless them in all they do for You.
Let them share with Jesus Your Son
and with Mary our mother

in the everlasting happiness of Heaven.

We ask this grace
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

And may His blessing be upon you all.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

FAQ for Homily for 6th Sunday of Easter, Year C

When is 6th Sunday of Easter, Year C, in 2025?25th May 2025
What is the title of Father Hanly’s homily for Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year C?"Mother’s Day for Peace" and "Love and Peace"
What is the next homily by Father Hanly in this Liturgical Cycle?
Ascension of the Lord, Year C
Who was Father Hanly?Father Denis J. Hanly was a Maryknoll Missionary
How can we find other homilies by Father Hanly?By Liturgical Calendar or by topic or by title

Information about Father Hanly’s homilies for 6th Sunday of Easter, Year C

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If you would like to use our transcripts of either of these sermons (updated 2023), please contact us for permission.

Father Hanly's sermon for 6th Sunday of Easter, Year C, "Mother’s Day for Peace" was delivered on 9th May 2010. Father Hanly's sermon for 6th Sunday of Easter, Year C, "Love and Peace" was delivered on 5th May 2013. It is sometimes hard to accurately transcribe Father Hanly's reflections, so please let us know if you think we have made a mistake in any of our transcripts, and let us have your suggestions.

We hope that Father Hanly’s homilies, always kind, always wise, always full of love, will restore you to peace and harmony through a new understanding of what is important in this world. We believe these homilies are inspiring for everyone, not only for Roman Catholics or other Christians.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. ajioane65 says:

    Very nice sermons, I love it

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