Recall the bread and wine offered to God as sign and symbol of our self offering. That bread and wine, by the power of the Holy Spirit, becomes the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.
1. Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him.
Moses ascended a mountain—Mount Sinai—to receive the Law of God. Christ ascended the mountain to deliver/teach the New Covenant. Christ also ascended another mountain, the mount of the Transfiguration, and revealed His glory. Christ ascended yet another hill—Calvary—to seal the New Covenant in His Blood. His Blood was poured out upon the earth. When the soldier's lance pierced His side, water poured forth, the water of the New Covenant. Salvation is offered to all; many will accept while others will reject His gift.
The Mount of the Beatitudes
God descends. Are we attentive? Do we see and hear Christ delivering the New Law from His throne above? The Sermon on the Mount reminds us that Christ is the new Moses, the new lawgiver because He, Christ, is the Law, the eternal Word Incarnate.
2. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
In the various Gospel accounts of the public ministry of Jesus, demon's acknowledged who Jesus is, but they cannot love Him. Only a humble soul who accepts Jesus' word whole and entire can acknowledge and receive Him as Lord of all creation.
4. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
compassion (n.) from Late Latin compassionem (nominative compassio) "sympathy," noun of state from past participle stem of compati "to feel pity," from com- "together" + pati "to suffer".
Arguably, we are not ready for adoration if we are not awestruck by the magnificent gift God offers us in the Holy Eucharist. Those who cannot or will not see the face of God in the Holy Eucharist lack faith. They should ask God for the faith to believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ.
5. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Holy Communion requires humility. What better way to recognize and honour the Body and Blood of Christ than to receive Holy Communion on the tongue?
Recall that the first man, Adam, is formed from the clay of the earth. His name means "of the earth". The word humility means much the same. Those who are humbled know their origin and their dependance on God. If God were to withdraw His sustaining Presence, then man would return to the dust.
If he (God) should take back his spirit to himself, and gather to himself his breath, all flesh would perish together, and all mortals return to dust.—Book of Job 34:14-15.
any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.—1 Corinthians 11:29
6. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
James 1:21-22. Therefore put away all filthiness and rank growth of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
James 1:27. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Gospel: Mark 7.1-8, 14-15, 21-23The above passages remind us that the Word of God, Jesus Christ, speaks us into being and sustains us in being to speak the Word we have received to others in charity. The first great mercy we can offer another person is sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
7. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
The Penitential Rite reminds us that we have a God-shaped hole in our hearts. Only a heart which is swept clean of debris and made a resting place for God can hope to find the rest which God alone can offer to a penitent man.
Confiteor Deo omnipotenti, et vobis fratres, quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo, opere et omissione: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, omnes Angelos et Sanctos, et vos, fratres, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum.
I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters,to pray for me to the Lord our God.
8. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Peace is made. Do recall that the Lord has said that "no greater love hath a man than to lay down his life for a friend." Of course, he was alluding directly to His approaching sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary.
The Sign of Peace should flow from the Crucified and Risen Christ Who becomes present—Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity—at the hands of His priest, living water flowing from the cleft rock—the altar stone upon which the Lord's Presence rests.
The sanctuary is hardly a place set apart if people wander into and out from it with little attention paid to the distinctions that preserve that which is holy from defilement, i.e., the Holy Eucharist.
The Sign of Peace is not a human peace. The Sign of Peace comes from God and embeds itself in the gestures which preserve the orientation to the origin of the Peace.
Priests are forbidden from leaving the altar to extend the peace to, for example, members of the congregation. The Priest's "sign", if you will, is the word he speaks from the altar that calls all present in Jesus' name to offer a sign of the peace which only Jesus can give, the only peace that satisfies. Gushy, trite and awkward signs merely obscure the essence of the Sign.
10. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11. “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.
For the Catholic, the mission of the Church supersedes narrow self interests. Perhaps one of the reasons the New Evangelization is slow to take off is that the bar has been set far too low. It seems that Catholics, for the most part, are merely holidaying as missionaries who are barely able to step out of their comfort zones to tend to the spiritual and bodily needs of others. We need a vast company of missionaries dedicated to lifelong service. There is a great reward for those who, during the tenure of their service, suffer and who may die for Christ and Church. So saith Jesus Christ Himself.