What will we hold dear as this year motors on? In his book ‘A Glimpse of Jesus’, Brennan Manning contrasts the values prized by this world with those of the Kingdom of God.

The world does not understand vulnerability. Strength is made to look like weakness and freedom to look like failure. Vulnerability is flatly rejected by the world as incompetence, and compassionate caring is dismissed as unprofitable…

The glory of Jesus lies in this: in weakness, vulnerability, and apparent failure he has called forth disciples to come after him, willing and able to carry the cross and relive his passion through a life of compassion. They are marginal people, not part of the scene, irrelevant to the “action”.  In their ministry of quiet presence they do not need to win or compete. The world ignores them. But they are building the Kingdom of God on earth by reaching out in vulnerability and weakness to share the suffering of their brothers and sisters. Where the Compassionate One is, there will his servants be. Whether in Times Square, Juarez, Rodeo Drive, middle-class suburbia, an alcoholic rehabilitation centre, or a room full of eighth graders, the Word stands: “I assure you, as often as you did it for one of my least brothers or sisters, you did it for me.”

The life of integrity finds its foundation and criterion in the cross, right down to the humdrum of everyday existence; and the passion of Jesus Christ is relived through compassion, right down to the nitty-gritty of everyday life.