The Imperial Order used the cross to accuse Jesus and many of his people of sedition, treason, insurrection... terrorism. And the early Christians wore that as a badge of honor. They submitted to it without violence or retaliation, and yet found the true victory. A powerful and unstoppable expression of Jesus' church expanded around them. The cross, for them, was a fellowship of sufferings. But for those Christians today moving to assert their power and cause suffering with the cross as their banner? ...My, how far we have come.
So what happens next?
That is entirely up to us.
The pronouncement of blessings in what we call the "beatitudes" is how Jesus chooses to begin his lengthiest and most life-encompassing statement.
Providing the introduction to the Sermon on the Mount, they are Jesus redefining what it means to be truly happy or fortunate, and they are the very foundation upon which the upside-downness of his kingdom rests. They are the root of what it means to grow with and towards God - a snapshot of the values of a people who see everything differently. They are what Jesus declares to be beautiful states of being... and it would seem to be... that we hate them.