As the gospels present it to us, the mission of Jesus of Nazareth is about the way in which the community of God's people - historically, the Jewish people who had first received the law and the covenant - is being re-created in relation to Jesus himself.
The Church exists to connect people at the level of their hunger for a new world.
In sharp contrast to the idea that this stage of life is enviable, we hear high levels of anxiety about getting old, anxieties about health, mobility, access to facilities, simple routine care and attention.
The Church is the new creation, it is life and joy, it is the sacramental fellowship in which we share the ultimate purpose of God, made real for us now in our hearing the Word and sharing the Sacrament.
Keeping our eyes on journey's end is what we need - the place where we see at last the world that is greater than the world, the new creation that cannot be contained in present thought or social order or piety.
The twentieth century may tell us that we have nothing to be complacent about in the recent history of humankind; but it also tells us that there is nothing inevitable about tyranny.
In a spiritually sensitive culture, then, it might well be that age is something to be admired or envied.
Incidentally, one of the most worrying problems in the impact of Western modernity on traditional culture is that it quite rapidly communicates its own indifference or anxiety or even hostility about age and ageing.
To help the poor to a capacity for action and liberty is something essential for one's own health as well as theirs: there is a needful gift they have to offer which cannot be offered so long as they are confined by poverty.
Economists are coming to acknowledge that measures of national wealth and poverty in terms strictly of average income tell you little that is significant of the health or viability of a society.
Christian teaching about sex is not a set of isolated prohibitions; it is an integral part of what the Bible has to say about living in such a way that our lives communicate the character of God.
So every creative act strives to attain an absolute status; it longs to create a world of beauty to triumph over chaos and convert it to order.
A flourishing, morally credible media is a vital component in the maintenance of genuinely public talk, argument about common good.
A public is a necessary fiction.
Actual human discourse happens within a number of contexts, not in some sort of unified public forum.