When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“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[b] on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
The Maltese Cross is designed with 8 points which are said to symbolize the 8 beatitudes, the 8 goals of the Knights of St. John who originally used the cross as their symbol, or the 8 lands of the Knights. The cross is often associated with the Knights of St. John (also known as the Knights Hospitallers and the Knights of Malta during the Crusades). Today the cross is found in a wide variety of images relating to Malta. It also appears in use by militia and civic organizations, in company logos, on country flags and coins, and even sports teams in a number of countries.
God of All, while the symbol of the cross may be used in a variety of ways in our world, we know that for Christians it serves as a reminder of Your sacrificial love for us. We give You thanks for Your love and the ways that You guide us to follow You and serve all Your children. Strengthen us today to be Your disciples revealing Your grace to friend and stranger alike. Amen.