Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
Tobit exemplifies the blessed man described in the psalm we hear today. He “greatly delights in [God’s] commands,” and “he is gracious and merciful and just.” As Tobit reclines at table to enjoy a fine dinner, he asks his son, Tobiah, to first find and bring home a poor kinsmen of his to dine with him. Instead, Tobiah announces his discovery of one of their relatives murdered and left in the marketplace. Tobit doesn’t hesitate to jump up to fulfill God’s command to bury the dead, despite it being inconvenient and even dangerous for him to do so. Tobit is not afraid of men; instead, he fears God.
What does it mean, though, to fear God?
The fear of the Lord is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and is better described as a holy and reverent awe of God. In Pope Francis’ General Audience on June 11, 2014, he explained, “It is not servile fear, but rather a joyful awareness of God’s grandeur and grateful realization that only in him do our hearts find true peace.” Fear of the Lord gives us the courage and peace to do God’s will even when it is inconvenient or dangerous.
What inconveniences or fears hold me back in responding to the call of God and fulfilling his commands?
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord.
God, we pray that our hearts will learn how to fear you rightfully. We acknowledge your sovereignty, your strength, and your mercy. Fill our hearts with the gifts of your Holy Spirit so that we may always walk in the path you have set for us. Amen.