And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
I watch Jesus go up the mountain. “Is he running away from us?” I wonder. That’s what I would probably do if I was him—crowds make me anxious, and I much prefer quiet and solitude. But I see that Jesus isn’t running way, he isn’t seeking seclusion. He is going up the mountain so he can be seen and heard by everyone in the crowd.
And they follow him.
I hesitate. I don’t want to get too close. I’m fine standing on the outside edge of the crowd, where I am close enough to see him, but not close enough to hear him.
But Jesus waits. He invites everyone to come closer, to hear him. His invitation is personal: “Bob,” he calls to me, “you’ll want to hear this.”
And so I get closer. Only then, when the entire community has gathered, does Jesus begin to teach.
—Bob Burnham is a Secular Franciscan, spiritual director, and author of Little Lessons from the Saints: 52 Simple and Surprising Ways to See the Saint in You published by Loyola Press.
Lord, grant that I may more closely follow you so that I can hear you clearly.