Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 17, 2020 Cycle A
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.E., Chaplain
Saint John Paul II National Shrine
 Washington, D.C.

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Sunday Reading Meditations

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (Jn 14:15).

In today’s Gospel, Jesus talks about the connection between loving him and keeping his commandments.

The commandments are a thermometer of our relationship with Christ. It is not possible to love Jesus without considering the commandments but, indeed, we all fail to keep them. However, Jesus’ love gives us the strength and ability to be faithful to the law of God.

When we break a commandment, it means that something is not working in our relationship with Christ. When we do not love God above all things and others as ourselves, there is a distance between Jesus and us. It is time to go to confession.

Interestingly, Jesus does not ask us whether we have been keeping his commandments. He only asks us if we love him. That is what he did with Peter. Even after Peter denied Jesus three times, Jesus asked him three times: “Peter do you love me?”

Without love, the commandments are mere laws that judge our frailties. In a particular way, the people of our times are rebelling against such judgment.. To see from the inside is to see with love. From the outside, we only see the negative dimension of the law, the prohibitions imposed on us.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says that he is going to send us his Spirit so that we may love him and obey his commandments: “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of Truth” (Jn 14:16–17). It is the Holy Spirit who enables us to pass from the outside to the inside. The Holy Spirit enables us to do what Saint Peter says in the second reading: “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts” (1 Pt 3:15).

In order to keep the commandments, we must constantly seek the face of the Lord. Although Peter was a sinner, he never stopped seeking Jesus’ face. After Peter denied Jesus for the third time, he immediately wept bitter tears of repentance.

To seek Jesus’ face is to seek our own happiness. How can we be pure? How can we keep the commandments? How can we treat each other not as objects but as persons? The answer is found in Psalm 119: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping your words. With all my heart I seek you, do not let me stray from your commandments.” If we do not seek the face of the Lord in the faces of those we love, we end up treating each other incorrectly, failing to respect each other’s dignity and greatness.

We are almost at the end of the Easter season. The Feast of Pentecost is approaching. Next Sunday, we shall celebrate the Feast of the Ascension. Let us start asking for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Come Holy Spirit, come. Bring us your divine gifts. Light the fire of your love in our hearts. Give us the grace to love Jesus and keep his commandments.  Amen.