His mountain, not ours
One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up to the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them. —Matthew 5:1
Jesus was popular at this point, the talk of the town. But here, as I read this, Jesus didn’t talk to the town (that is the people who were thronging to see him). He pulled his closest away for a while. There he taught them.
He did more than teach though. He inspired. He lifted. He called the pack who had already been devoutly following him even further out of themselves into who and what they would become in time, and that is future saints among men and women.
Jesus pulls us aside too sometimes. Maybe the crowds making their way toward us are marks of success and joy—our success and joy. That is what we can think. Popularity is the dream of more than one of us.
Often times, Jesus doesn’t give us that. The mountain we climb is his, not ours. He makes this clear in the following verses which are called the Beatitudes. And this pulling aside business can also be Jesus pulling us down into what he himself did, which was not popularity or fame to the gathering crowds; rather, he taught then and teaches now to embrace humility, servanthood, and what for us too will be may well be the weight of his cross, or, at the least, uncomfortable moments.
We mistake ourselves when we think Christianity is easy. It isn’t. Instead, it is the amazing call, this life above experience that never lets the marks of the world stain us, or stain us for long.
And this, brothers and sisters, is the making of what we celebrate and aspire toward, and that’s being a saint not by our goodness but his endless grace.
PRAYER: “Saint? Who me?” With humility, we never accept the role. With God, however, we do what we are called to do: meet the crowds not alone but with and through our Savior.