As is fitting on a day when we celebrate the wisdom and lives of the saints who have gone before us, Augustine of Hippo will be our conversation partner tonight as we reflect upon this reading. Augustine saw this sequence of nine “blessed are those who” statements as a series of seven steps toward Christian maturity with the eighth step (the last two “blessed are those who” statements) serving as a call to begin again at the first step. 
The poor in spirit are humble and submit to divine authority. This continues our discussion from the last few weeks about Jesus’ authority. The meek are teachable, they know their faults, and they seek to learn from scripture. Those who mourn recognize their condition; they cannot attain the greatest good in life. Where, as church, do we need to exercise humility, live more meekly, and what do we need to mourn?
Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness labor diligently and vigorously to free themselves from the things and systems of this world that entangle them, preventing them from living fully into the reality of the Kingdom of God. The merciful embody humility, meekness, awareness of their condition, and a desire for righteousness. They mercifully receive counsel and assistance from God to disentangle themselves from misery. The pure of heart, from a good conscience and the practice of good works, are able to contemplate the highest good. In what ways do we, as church, need to more actively seek righteousness, God’s counsel and aid for righteousness, and where do we need to examine our conscience and actions?
The peacemakers, having drawn near to God in virtuous actions that purify the entire body, are able to act wisely and contemplate the truth. Those who are living wisely, living kingdom lives, live counter-culturally and are persecuted for this lifestyle. How, as church, are we living as peacemakers and in what ways are we called to begin again because we are fitting in too comfortably into patterns that do not reflect the kingdom life?