Sixth Sunday of Easter


Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
1 John 4:7 – 10
John 15:9 – 17


Last week we celebrated ANZAC day. When we celebrate a day like this, especially in the form of the Eucharist, we are never glorifying war. We are honouring the sacrifice of men and women who gave their lives because of their belief that they were defending the lives and freedom of their loved ones back home. There certainly is nothing to glorify in the horror of war, as the current wars in the Ukraine and Gaza have made us all too aware of.

There was an episode in the long running TV series, ‘MASH,’ where Hawkeye is having a conversation with Fr. Mulcahy, and Hawkeye says: “War isn’t Hell. War is war, and Hell is Hell, and of the two, war is a lot worse.” Fr. Mulcahy responds, “How do you figure that, Hawkeye?” Hawkeye replies, “Easy, Father. Tell me, who goes to Hell?” Fr. Mulcahy answers, “Sinners, I believe.” Hawkeye then says, “Exactly. There are no innocent bystanders in Hell. War is chock full of them – little kids, cripples, old ladies. In fact, except for some of the brass, almost everybody involved is an innocent bystander.”

What we are grateful for on ANZAC day is that because of the sacrifice of the fallen, we are free, just as we are grateful as Christians for the sacrifice of Christ that had set us free. St. Paul tells us that for a good man or someone truly worthy, a person may be willing to give up their life. But what proves God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners.

There is a story I heard, that I’m sure is apocryphal, from the Vietnam War. It was during the Tet offensive, when the country of South Vietnam exploded in a coordinated assault on every front, including terrorist acts in the city of Saigon. In one such act, there was a little girl who was wounded while she played with a boy her own age. The girl and boy were taken to nearby AID station set up by the American forces. The doctor quickly assessed that the girl had lost much blood and needed a transfusion. So a search was made of those present to find the same blood type, and the little boy was found to have it, so they set him up with the transfusion apparatus. The boy then began to cry, and the doctor in surprise asked one of his assistants who could speak Vietnamese to ask the boy why was he crying? Was he in pain? The boy replied to the assistant who translated back to the doctor that he believed that if his blood went to the little girl that he was going to die. In great surprise the doctor asked his assistant to ask the boy why then was he just lying there letting them take his blood. The boy replied, “Because she is my friend.”

Fr. Ray Sanchez CP is the leader of the Oxley community and is responsible for Parish Missions and Retreats throughout Australia and NZ.