Every good thing we do begins with the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit. St. Peter reveals this in this Sunday’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles. He is preaching to and praying with a group of Gentiles when they begin to exhibit the presence of the Holy Spirit active within them by: “speaking in tongues and glorifying God.” Peter’s response to this manifestation of God in them is to demand that they be baptized. The Sacrament confirmed the work the Holy Spirit had begun in them.
We respond to God’s love with acts of faith, but God acts first. As St. John says: “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.” Our good works should find their motivation in loving response to the gift of our salvation. Jesus’ exhortation in our Gospel backs this up: “Love one another as I have loved you.” Having received Jesus’ love, we know how and why we are to pass that love on to others. We keep God’s commandments so that we might remain in God’s love. We love, not to earn some new grace, but out of gratitude for grace already received.