Matthew 5:1-12

The crowds surge around him and Jesus looks at them and glances upward as He walks up the mountainside. He sits down. We watch and listen, held in a time of peace and beauty. What do I see, what do I hear? I want to hold every detail, every word in the ‘now’ of my mind. Each word is precious, inscribed on my heart, illustrated by the singing birds, brought to life by the light and the beauty of the mountainside.

A child runs towards him and tumbling over a grassy hillock lifts her hand to her father; an infant at the breast pauses his suckling to gaze into his mother’s eyes, and a man sighs as Jesus turns his gaze towards him.

He looks at the child, the infant and mother, and the man with soulful eyes and he begins to speak.

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit …’ the veil falls away and his face shines … ‘theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’

In Our Midst

The One who sits before us brings the kingdom of heaven to us. He is in the midst of us, as one who is as poor and needy and lost in longing as the least of us.

A widow gazes at him and begins to weep, not for her own loss but for those who will grieve for Him. For a moment she stands, as though she were at the foot of a cross, and she reaches her arms towards him.

“Blessed are those who mourn,” he says. And I think there is so much to grieve. Then a ray of light like the dawn touches her face. I see a stone lying beside the path, as he goes on:

“they will be comforted.”

Children come closer to the Master, the mothers shyly taking a place nearby. His eyes are gentle as he proclaims, “Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.”

Longing and Hope

What kind of heirs are we? Some are wholesome and healthy, some are sick, some are perceived as too disreputable to be in the company of this Teacher, but we long to be accepted, to live on God’s holy mountain, where everyone can be safe from harm; where the poor and unwanted, the sick and the injured will all be included, loved, and respected. This is the hope we carry to our Lord, and we see the same longing in Him.

He says,

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,” and immediately we know that our longing will be met:

“For they will be filled.”

Looking at his eyes we believe in him. His eyes are tender, they are the eyes of mercy and gazing at his eyes of mercy I too am merciful.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”

His eyes dazzle us because there is no darkness in him. No selfish motive taints his words. We see pure love flowing up from his heart and know that it is a heart totally conformed to His Father, and it is a heart that beats with the fluttering wing of the Holy Spirit. Gaze on me Jesus, so that I may look upon God!

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”.

I ask for nothing else, your love springs up and flows out to all humanity now.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”


Ah Lord, as we gaze on you and listen to your words we are at peace with God, with others, with all creation and with ourselves but this is not the way of the world. What becomes of us when we are completely taken up with love of you, when there is no other love to make us seek the world’s approval?

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake , for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven,”


[Readings: Zep 2:3; 3:12-13; 1 Cor 1:26-31; Mt 5:1-12a]

Deborah van Kroonenburg

I am a Secular Carmelite, mother and grandmother, worked in the NHS for many years as a midwife and health visitor, and now work for my UK Diocese, in Marriage and Family Life and Catechesis, as well as helping my husband who is a Deacon in our parish.

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