Pope Francis’ catechesis for the Sixth Sunday of Easter is devoted to the gratuity of God’s love and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
By Vatican News
Pope Francis prayed the Regina Caeli on Sunday and addressed the faithful, connected by live stream, at the Vatican Apostolic Library, encouraging them to live the Gospel with joy in the knowledge that they are supported by the Holy Spirit who lights the way.
Drawing inspiration from the Gospel passage of the day (Jn 14:15-21), the Pope said that it presents two fundamental messages: the observance of the commandments and the promise of the Holy Spirit.
In his words to the disciples, he says, Jesus links love for him to keeping the commandmentswhich he had insisted on in his farewell speech at the Last Supper when he said: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”.
And further: “He who has my commandments and observes them is he who loves me”.
The pope explained that with these words, Jesus asks us to love him and “requires the will to follow his way, that is, the will of the Father.”
This, he continued, is summed up in the commandment of mutual love, given by Jesus himself: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, you too must love one another”.
The love of Jesus is free
Jesus, he pointed out, did not say “love me as I have loved you”, but “love one another as I have loved you”.
“He loves us without asking us to do the same in return, and he wants this free love to become the concrete form of life among us: it is his will,” he said.
Pope Francis then explained that to help the disciples walk this path, Jesus promised that he would ask the Father to send “another Paraclete”; that is to say, a comforter, a defender, to accompany them and give them “the intelligence to listen and the courage to observe his words”.
The Holy Spirit: the gift of God
“It is the Holy Spirit,” he says, the gift of God’s love that descends into the heart of the Christian.
This is why, he said, after the death and resurrection of Jesus, his love is given to those who believe in him and are baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.
It is the Spirit, he says, who guides us, enlightens us, strengthens us so that we can move forward in life itself “through adversities and difficulties, joys and sorrows, remaining on the path of Jesus”.
This, he continued, is possible if we remain docile to the Holy Spirit, so that, through his presence at work in us, he consoles and transforms our hearts, opening them to truth and to love.
The Spirit illuminates our steps
The Pope said that at some point in our lives we are all confronted with the experience of error and sin, and it is the Holy Spirit who helps us not to succumb and allows us to grasp and to live fully the meaning of Jesus’ words: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
The commandments, he adds, are not given to us as a kind of mirror in which to see the reflection of our miseries and our inconsistencies: “No, the Word of God is given to us as the Word of life, which transforms, which renews, which does not judge in order to condemn, but heals and has forgiveness as its end. A light Word for our steps.
Pope Francis concluded that through this gift, God helps us to be free people, “people who want and know how to love, people who have understood that life is a mission to proclaim the wonders that the Lord accomplishes in those who trust him.
“May the Virgin Mary, model of the Church, who knows how to listen to the Word of God and welcome the gift of the Holy Spirit”, he prayed, “help us to live the Gospel with joy, knowing that we are sustained by the Spirit, the divine fire that warms our hearts and illuminates our steps.