Feast of Pentecost

Artist He Qi
Artist He Qi

As the saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” Horses can have a mind of their own and be stubborn. So can humans! We often need prodding—motivation—to do something, especially if it’s something we don’t enjoy. When it comes to us humans, motivation plays a huge role in why we do anything and how we do everything. Need is a strong motivator, as is love.
This solemnity is really about motivation, the reason why we listen to Jesus and choose to follow him. We followers of Jesus never stand alone. We have each other to motivate ourselves toward faithful action. But even more: we always have the Spirit who dwells within and among us and binds us into one. Through the Holy Spirit we all share in the same risen Life, the same saving mission, the same love. There is strength in numbers. There is motivation in numbers. Our strength is the gift of the Spirit who binds us in love and unity as the one Body of Christ. Our motivation is that with the gift of the Holy Spirit we become one with God’s love in a unique way. We become bigger than ourselves. 
In today’s gospel, Jesus reminds us that our love binds us together and to him. Our love motivates us to keep his commandments and word, the measure of our being together in community. Love is a strong motivator. The strength of our love for Jesus is the measure of how well we keep his commandments and word, how well we care for each other. Why and how we keep Jesus’ command¬ments and word is, in the end, keeping him—the divine Word who was sent by the Father. Pentecost is a celebration of both the gift of the Spirit and the effects of that gift—we are sharers in the one Body of Christ who take up Jesus’ mission to preach the Good News of salvation. [Living Liturgy 2013]
The Father sent the “Advocate, the Holy Spirit” to teach us “everything.” What is this “everything” we need the Spirit to teach us? Why and how keeping Jesus’ commandments and word is the unconditional condition of loving him. Why and how this love is the wellspring of our relationship to Jesus and his Father in their Spirit. What the Spirit teaches us, in the end, is why we do anything and how we do everything.