In the 4th chp, Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, discusses at length the Sermon on the Mount by focusing on two themes: the Beatitudes (today) and Jesus and the Law — the Torah of the Messiah. Once again, the Pope envelops the message of Jesus into the larger themes of the cross and christology.
What are the Beatitudes? (By the way, not enough think about this question: Are they a list of moral attributes? a list of those who were choosing to follow Jesus? a list of those whom Jesus said deserved the grace of God and who were being excluded?) Benedict XVI says they are “eschatological promises”, the transformation of values in light of the kingdom. What do you think the Beatitudes are?
Benedict XVI now becomes theological: “The Beatitudes are the transposition of the Cross and Resurrection into discipleship” (74). Would you accept this theological explanation of the Beatitudes?
The Poor: neither completely material nor completely spiritual.
The Meek: Christologically, we follow the one who showed us what meekness was by entering into Jerusalem to reveal the essence of the kingdom.
The Peacemakers: an invitation to become what the Son was.
The Mourners: one best understands this at the foot of the Cross. Mourning follows the shattering of hope and it also follows encountering truth that leads to conversion.
The Persecuted: this is eschatological for the joy may not come in this life. And persecuted for righteousness is being persecuted for being in communion with Jesus who is God’s righteousness.
The Righteous: “… those whose interior sensitivity enables them to see and hear the subtle signs that God sends into the world to break the dictatorship of convention” (91).
The Pure in Heart: this occurs only in following Christ and of becoming one with Christ.