We have now come to the end of the liturgical year, the point that marks the transition from one period to another. Today we see that the kingdom of God is inclusive. Its embrace is as comprehensive as is the embrace of God. Criteria for membership are not based on obedience to the commandments or on conformity to ritual obligation, but on the bonds of love and concern. What we do for others, we do for Christ, because Christ is identified with those in need. We very seldom see the face of the glorified Christ in the faces of the needy; it is more often the face of the disfigured Christ that is turned to us. We see his fear and his shame, his brokenness and sense of loss. As difficult as it may be to look into such eyes, it is precisely the needy with whom Christ is identified. Having entered into the frailty of human nature, identified himself with the needy, and handed himself over to death, in the end Christ will have conquered all. It is a curious kingdom that he has won, a kingdom of the weak rather than the strong. He has turned the standards of the world upside down. He has shown that it does not take strength to ignore or to exploit the needy, but it does take strength to overcome our own selfishness in order to serve them. The kingdom that Christ hands over to God is a kingdom of love and care.