Both Jesus’ words, Love one another…, and those of St Peter, The truth I have now come to realise is that God does not have favourites, but that anybody of any nationality who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to Him, challenge us big time! They challenge us to reconsider and to live more fully the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and in particular the gift of Fear of the Lord. What is Fear of the Lord? Since God is loving and full of mercy it cannot mean living in fear of Him, nor can it be a fear of punishment by Him. No, it is not that sort of fear. Rather it is about our deepening appreciation of the depth of God’s love for us. This gift is perhaps easier to understand if we use its other names: Wonder or Awe. Fear the Lord heightens our awareness of His glory and majesty; it lets us see Him as perfect love. It is strengthened by the virtue of Hope; and Hope is the assurance that God will give us the graces we need to love Him more deeply. Understanding Fear of the Lord in this way leads us to practise the virtue of Justice both towards God and to our neighbour. Responding generously to these challenging words helps us to open ourselves to the world and to the wonder of the Kingdom of God. This wonder teaches us to Love one another, it allows us to see one another as made in the image and likeness of the loving and merciful God.
…as I have loved you.