Love Prepares Us for the Coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost

User’s Guide to the Sixth Sunday of Easter


Sunday, May 14, is the Sixth Sunday of Easter. Mass readings: Acts 8:5-8, 14-17; Psalm 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20; 1 Peter 3:15-18; John 14:15-21.

In the Gospel for today’s Mass, Jesus gives us three lessons on love meant to prepare us for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. They also go a long way in describing the normal Christian life.


The Power of Love

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. … Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.” The Lord is saying, in effect, “If you love me, then by this love I have given you, you will keep my commandments.” When love is received from God and experienced, we begin, by the power of that love, to keep the commandments. Consider how this is by the following qualities of love:

Love is extravagant. The flesh is minimalist and asks, “Do I really have to do this?” Love, however, is extravagant and wants to do more than the minimum. No young man would say to his beloved, “What is the least amount of time I must spend with you?” Love doesn’t talk or think like this. Love wants to spend time with the beloved. Love has the power to transform our desires from our own selfish ends toward the beloved.

Love expands. When we really love someone, we also learn to love whom and what the beloved loves. As God’s love grows in us, it has the power to change our hearts, minds, desires and vision. The more we love God, the more we love his commands and share the vision he offers for our lives. Love expands our hearts and minds.


The Person of Love 

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him. But you know him, because he remains with you, and will be in you.” 

In this text, Jesus tells us what changes us is not a “what” at all but a “Who.” The Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, living in us as in a temple, will change us and stir us to love. He who is Love will love God in us. 

Love is not our work; it is the work of God. “We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:10).


The Proof of God’s Love 

“Because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.” The key phrase here is “You will realize.” To “realize” means to experience something as real. Sin is being put to death, and new graces are coming alive. We start to experience a conversion of our desires and to love what God loves and to detest sin. 

Simply put, we experience as real that Christ is living in us because of the new life we are receiving. We start to experience that we have a power available to us to keep the commandments and to embrace the new life, the new creation offered to us. 

We keep the commandments because we want to, rather than merely because we have to. 

Pentecost depicted in stained glass.

Here’s When Easter Officially Ends

Easter lasts for a total of 50 days, from Easter Sunday until the Solemnity of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles, Mary and the first followers of Christ.