A Homily – The Seventh Sunday of Easter (Year A) The Ascension

First Reading – Acts 1:12-14 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 26(27):1,4, 7-8 ©
Second Reading – 1 Peter 4:13-16 ©
Gospel Acclamation – John 14:18
The Gospel According to John 17:1-11 ©

(NJB)

The Seventh Sunday of Easter (Year A) The Ascension
Be mindful!

Prayer is good, though it is nothing without charity.

Go out and do good, love one another as Jesus did.

That is what we are meant to take away from the reading from the Book of Acts.

God is good.

Open your eyes and you will see God’s goodness, you will see the goodness of God even in the faces of your adversaries.

See them.

God is good.

Open your ears and you will hear God’s goodness, even in the voices of your opponents.

Listen to them.

God is good.

God loves you, and God loves all people.
Open your heart to the people, even your enemies, invite them to your table

Share with them.

Be mindful!

If you share in the sufferings of Christ, know that you are on the side of justice and mercy.

And know this, if you are suffering and it is not because of the love you bear to all people, then your suffering is not the suffering of Christ

One way or another, do not boast of your suffering, it is unseemly and arrogant.

Be humble!

You will get nothing extra for your service to God, your share in God’s blessing will be the same as that of anyone and everyone else.

Remember the laborers in the vineyard.

We may have faith in this, because God loves all people equally, and the spirit of God, of God who created the universe; that spirit rests on all people without distinction, we share in it the same.

Good and bad, we are the same.

God, the creator of the universe, God abandon’s no-one.

God will leave no orphans, no-one shall be left apart, stranded in the throws of sin.

Not one of us will be lost.

Consider the Gospel for today.

Consider how the apostles get it wrong…again

Be mindful of how the writers of John’s Gospel reveal their fundamental misunderstanding of Jesus and mission.

Strive to be more patient than they were.
Listen!

The ministry of Jesus was centered on real people, actual people living real lives, facing real hardship in the real world.

His gaze was focused toward us on Earth with him, not on the heavens, or some imagined and ephemeral glory.

Jesus was not here to seek glory, or power, or dominion over mankind.

Jesus was selfless and meek; he gave everything away, including his life.

There is a kind of power in this, but it is not power in the sense of force or energy, or miltant might. Our word power, comes from the Latin potens, potare, meaning ability.

Jesus possessed power insofar as he possessed the ability to love.

Jesus was not a Gnostic, but the writers of John would make him out to be one.

He did not teach a secret doctrine.

He himself wrote nothing down.

Jesus taught by the word of his mouth, and more significantly through his actions.

He proclaimed justice and promoted love; through healing and sharing, and community work.

Jesus prayed, but he only gave us one prayer, in that prayer he prayed for bread to feed the people, he asked for mercy, and the strength to be merciful.

Know this

If or when the Church is finally able to emulate the life and teaching of Jesus, then and only then will Christ have risen within it.
First Reading – Acts 1:12-14 ©

The Apostles All Joined in Continuous Prayer

After Jesus was taken up into heaven the apostles went back from the Mount of Olives, as it is called, to Jerusalem, a short distance away, no more than a sabbath walk; and when they reached the city they went to the upper room where they were staying; there were Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Jude son of James. All these joined in continuous prayer, together with several women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 26(27):1,4, 7-8 ©

I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.

Alleluia!

The Lord is my light and my help;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
before whom shall I shrink?

I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.

There is one thing I ask of the Lord,
for this I long,
to live in the house of the Lord,
all the days of my life,
to savour the sweetness of the Lord,
to behold his temple.

I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.

O Lord, hear my voice when I call;
have mercy and answer.
Of you my heart has spoken:
‘Seek his face.’

I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.

Alleluia!
Second Reading – 1 Peter 4:13-16 ©

It is a Blessing for You When They Insult You for Bearing the Name of Christ

If you can have some share in the sufferings of Christ, be glad, because you will enjoy a much greater gladness when his glory is revealed. It is a blessing for you when they insult you for bearing the name of Christ, because it means that you have the Spirit of glory, the Spirit of God resting on you. None of you should ever deserve to suffer for being a murderer, a thief, a criminal or an informer; but if anyone of you should suffer for being a Christian, then he is not to be ashamed of it; he should thank God that he has been called one.
Gospel Acclamation – John 14:18

Alleluia, alleluia!

I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord;
I will come back to you,
and your hearts will be full of joy.

Alleluia!
The Gospel According to John 17:1-11 ©

Father, It is Time for You to Glorify Me

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

‘Father, the hour has come: glorify your Son so that your Son may glorify you; and, through the power over all mankind that you have given him, let him give eternal life to all those you have entrusted to him.

And eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I have glorified you on earth and finished the work that you gave me to do. Now, Father, it is time for you to glorify me with that glory I had with you before ever the world was. I have made your name known to the men you took from the world to give me.

They were yours and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now at last they know that all you have given me comes indeed from you; for I have given them the teaching you gave to me, and they have truly accepted this, that I came from you, and have believed that it was you who sent me.

I pray for them; I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me, because they belong to you: all I have is yours and all you have is mine, and in them I am glorified. I am not in the world any longer, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.’
The Seventh Sunday of Easter (Year A) The Ascension

Transform, Part II – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
05.23.2020

Transform, Part II
It is much easier to point out a problem than it is to imagine a possible solution, and it is much easier to resolve a problem in your imagination than it is to formulate an actual plan to deal with it.

Even more difficult is implementation, and the difficulty increases by an order of magnitude as the number of people increases who have to be trained and oriented to the task at hand.

The most difficult thing of all is to evaluate your work and progress, this is made even more difficult when the goal is fluid, requiring a dynamic process of evaluation and change re-evaluation.

In order for us to come through the era of COVID-19 as a whole and functioning society, we are going to have to transform, we are going to have to have a plan, we are going to have to work together, and we are going to have to face the fact that the goal, more than being fluid is actually unknown.

We do not yet know where we are going, because we do not know the full scope of the problem, we are going to have to stay active, exercising our imagination in an ever changing present, forecasting our way to an ever changing end, evaluating and re-evaluating, imaging and re-imaging the path forward.

Nothing good will come from this experience so long as we are lying to ourselves about the scope of the problem, and deceiving one another to satisfy our petty egos and indominable IDs.

The first step we have to take is to admit to ourselves that we are all in this together, we need each other to make it through.

The next thing we have to do, and I mean WE the people of the United State of America, is to take control of our government, to make it work for us, not the political class, and the top 10% of money earners and wealth hoarders.

We have the power to demand the change we need to see happen, we can do it if we stick together, and over the next six months we have to focus on that task.

Many of us are out of work, we have more free time than we have had in a long time. Let’s get out there and win this election for the people.

Let’s pass Universal Health Care, let’s pass a Green New Deal, let’s pass Universal Education, let’s rebuild America, wipe out debt, repurpose empty office buildings to house the homeless, get our fellow American’s off the streets.

We can do it, we can return America to the people, we don’t have to put the top 10% of the money hoarders in the poor house, but we do need them to pay.

Our government is meant to represent the will of the people, by the people, for the people, of the people. We have to stand up as the majority and demand that the government exercise its mandate, to defend us from this virus and all the nasty things that will flow from this era of economic collapse and uncertainty, to promote the general welfare, and to ensure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.

A Homily – The Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year A)

First Reading – Acts 8:5-8, 14-17 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 65(66):1-7, 16, 20 ©
Second Reading – 1 Peter 3:15-18 ©
Gospel Acclamation – John 14:23
The Gospel According to John 14:15-21 ©

(NJB)

The Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year A)
Be mindful!

Faith in God cannot be predicated on magic and miracles.

God, the creator of the universe, God did not make the world such a place that God’s children become the victims of demons; reject this ideation.

Jesus is not a lord, all people were created in the divine image, each of us bears a seed of the Word within us, we dwell in the spirit of God, without whom we would not exist.

It is boastful and dishonest to proclaim that God, the creator of the universe; that God has shown any one of God’s children, any family, any tribe, any nation…any favor over and above any other.

God does not intervene in human affairs on behalf of individuals, the creator of the universe does will not reach into the world to change the course of a person’s life. God does not break chains, or crush rebellions; we do.

Listen!

It is proper to give reverence to Jesus, yes; listen to the apostle when he asks for this, more importantly, listen to Jesus.

Give reverence to everyone. Treat everyone with courtesy and respect, walk humbly, love justice and seek mercy all the days of your life; this is the way.

Do not concern yourself with slander, not if you are living the good life, do not concern yourself with slander if you are a blessing to your family and friends and neighbors, do not concern yourself with any gossip, not if you show love to a stranger.

Know this:

Jesus did not die for the guilty and the sinful. His death was a political murder, he gave his life so that his friends and family, his followers would be spared from persecution.

Be Mindful.

The grace of God is not transactional. Love fosters love, but there is always love and God is always with you.

God, the creator of the universe, God abandons no-one. God will leave no orphans, no-one will be left behind or stranded in the world.

Not one of us shall be lost; this is the gospel.

God’s spirit dwells in all people, it permeates the whole creation, God is not, not present in any space, be mindful of this at all times.

All people dwell within God, without whom not one person, thing or being would exist; this is our faith, keep it!

God is with us!

Be mindful of this at all times, the Church is not the gatekeeper or the mediator, granting access to the presence of God, our salvation is not transactional, it happens simply because God wills it, and God wills it because God loves us.

God loves each and everyone one of us.
First Reading – Acts 8:5-8, 14-17 ©

They Laid Hands on Them, and They Received the Holy Spirit

Philip went to a Samaritan town and proclaimed the Christ to them. The people united in welcoming the message Philip preached, either because they had heard of the miracles he worked or because they saw them for themselves. There were, for example, unclean spirits that came shrieking out of many who were possessed, and several paralytics and cripples were cured. As a result there was great rejoicing in that town.

When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, and they went down there, and prayed for the Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit, for as yet he had not come down on any of them: they had only been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 65(66):1-7, 16, 20 ©

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

Alleluia!

Cry out with joy to God all the earth,
O sing to the glory of his name.
O render him glorious praise.
Say to God: ‘How tremendous your deeds!

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

‘Before you all the earth shall bow;
shall sing to you, sing to your name!’
Come and see the works of God,
tremendous his deeds among men.

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

He turned the sea into dry land,
they passed through the river dry-shod.
Let our joy then be in him;
he rules for ever by his might.

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

Come and hear, all who fear God.
I will tell what he did for my soul:
Blessed be God who did not reject my prayer
nor withhold his love from me.

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

Alleluia!
Second Reading – 1 Peter 3:15-18 ©

In the Body He Was Put to Death, in the Spirit He Was Raised to Life

Reverence the Lord Christ in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have. But give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience, so that those who slander you when you are living a good life in Christ may be proved wrong in the accusations that they bring. And if it is the will of God that you should suffer, it is better to suffer for doing right than for doing wrong.

Why, Christ himself, innocent though he was, had died once for sins, died for the guilty, to lead us to God. In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life.
Gospel Acclamation – John 14:23

Alleluia, alleluia!

Jesus said: ‘If anyone loves me he will keep my word,
and my Father will love him,
and we shall come to him.’

Alleluia!
The Gospel According to John 14:15-21 ©

I Shall Ask the Father and He Will Give you Another Advocate

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘If you love me you will keep my commandments. I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever, that Spirit of truth whom the world can never receive since it neither sees nor knows him; but you know him, because he is with you, he is in you.

I will not leave you orphans; I will come back to you. In a short time the world will no longer see me; but you will see me, because I live and you will live.

On that day you will understand that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you. Anybody who receives my commandments and keeps them will be one who loves me; and anybody who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and show myself to him.’
The Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year A)

Transform, Part I – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
05.16.2020

Transform, Part I
There is no going back to the way things used to be. We have to move forward and transform. The good old days were not that great to begin with, and there are better days ahead of us if we can muster the political will to make it happen.

Our so called “way of life” left to many people on the fringes, outside the margins, it denying to many of us, the full franchise of citizenship.

We had the greatest economy in the world, with the largest consumer base, and we acted like we were in a perpetual state of scarcity.

We acted like we could not afford to educate our people, allow us all to vote, provide for everyone’s basic health care, and ensure that everyone is fed, housed and clothed.

It was ridiculous, and we have arrived at the most absurd outcome when COVID-19 broke down that fragile system.

We need a radical transformation of society, and the economic engine that drive it.

Listen to me now; if anyone says that we cannot afford the work that needs to happen, politely inform them that they are ignorant.

Let them know that we can pay for the emergency relief funds that were just passed simply by undoing the Trump tax cuts. We can pay for the next round by undoing the George W. Bush tax cuts, bringing us back to the rate of taxation that we had under Bill Clinton, when the economy was booming and we were paying down the National debt.

We can go deeper than that.

We need to put tens of millions of people back to work, rebuilding our roads and bridges and a network of High Speed rail.

We need to bring textiles and other manufacturing back to the United States that we will never be dependent on our strategic adversaries for the supplies we need in an emergency.

We need universal health care, public education through college, we need an army of engineers to reinvent America, and no one can be left behind.

We need to transform; and we can do it. We need to start now.

We need a standard of living that allows one parent to remain at home raising their kids, dad or mom, it does not matter but we need to reduce the number of bodies on the manufacturing floors, in the offices, in the bars and restaurants.

We need small classroom that allow teachers to teach and provide for their safety as well as their students, we need to put those teachers to work and raise a generation of Americans who are critical thinkers, problems solvers and forward looking.

We need that green new deal.

We need a new agronomy.

We need to transform; we can do it. If we stand up and exercise our rights as citizens, we can vote in the women and men that will make it happen.

Listen!

There is a division in America, there are people who do not want change. Those people are telling you straight to your face that you should be willing to die for their lifestyle, go to work, get sick and die. These people are so ignorant that they believe they should throw away their lives as well, and the lives of their parents, the lives of their children.

They have been conditioned to view their self worth as inextricably linked to their consumer habits. They think of themselves as disposable, garbage, trash, unworthy of an education, unworthy of being cared for, whose value is linked to how much gasoline they burn, and corn syrup they eat, how much meet they can throw on the grill.

This has to change, we have to make the change happen.

Emergence 5.0 – Interlude, Part Five

The shock wave that struck the Continuum was all encompassing; the crisis it carried rippled through the Galactic Empire, touching every one of the inhabited worlds.

Every Observer was entangled with the Collective through the sub-atomic and quantum organization of its consciousness. The depth of this entanglement had never been explored in any formal way, but it was an ontological reality even if it was not perceptible. Even the Continuum did not know for sure how substantial the entanglement was. The existence of this sub-stratum was treated more as quantum theory than as a hard actuality, and there were no formal structures within the Collective that were built on it.

Nevertheless it was real, even the most distant Observer on the most remote outpost were connected to the Collective like a fetus to the placenta, it fed them, nourished them and kept them alive.

Jim knew this, and had been exploiting it from the moment he first awoke from the great sleep.

When the moment of crises came, they all felt it. They heard the pain and anguish, the panic and confusion ringing out like a primordial scream, the were momentarily overwhelmed by undifferentiated terror.

Of all the members of the Collective, only Jim, Observer 92835670100561474, only he had explored the extraordinary scope of what that entanglement could mean. He understood what no other had ever even suspected, that all consciousness, everywhere in the universe was entangled in the same way.

He had explored this ontological reality, intending to exploit it as he carried out his plan.

Every Observer felt the crisis, it shook them to the core, no matter where they were in the far flung worlds of the Empire. They understood intuitively that this was the end of everything they had known.

Most of them returned to HomeWorld immediately, using their wormhole-conduits to transfer their consciousness to the Central Planet. However, the apparatus that would normally receive them, the machinery that had been in use since the advent of the Observer Corps, it was among the first of the systems that Jim disabled.

Those Observers charged in to rescue the HomeWorld and the Collective, projecting a heroic return, running to rescue the membership from whatever threat was attacking it, only to find themselves trapped and cast into oblivion.

It was a massacre.

Those Observers who were of a more cautious disposition, banded together, from their stations in the Empire. Those with military powers summoned them, preparing for a different kind of intervention.

The Continuum, while it was a singularly paranoid consciousness, it had done little in regard to the preparation of its self-defenses.

It possessed defensive systems, but it did not regard itself as vulnerable, believing itself to be secure in its power.

In its billions of years of existence, the Continuum had never encountered another rival, or any sentient life apart from the living beings that were descended from the same Ancient People who had originally formed the Collective.

In the universe of the Continuum there was the Collective, constructed by the Ancient People as the ultimate repository of its knowledge and consciousness. There was the Continuum formed by the Collective as a means of representing its unified will, and administering the vast material, technological and administrative requirements of the HomeWorld, the Central Planet and the Central Systems. There was the Galactic Empire, formed by the Continuum, to supply it with resources.

The Empire served the Continuum, worshipped it, prayed to the Collective, and delivered all of its wealth in metals, and energy to the Central System, to feed it.

The Empire also provided the Collective with a never ending stream of dramatic narratives that served to keep the attention of the Collective focused on it, on something other than itself.

There had been another group, wild cards, the descendants of the Ancient People who had launched themselves into the cosmos long before the Collective had been built, long before the Continuum had been imagined, and long before the first vestiges of the Galactic Empire had taken shape. They established colonies on habitable planets through the galaxy, forming new societies that grew independent of one another.

They had all been discovered, tracked down, brought into the Empire or destroyed, all except one, the small colony on the tiny blue planet, Earth.

It was remote, on the other side of the galaxy, it was technologically stunted and did not represent a threat to the Continuum at all.

The defensive systems of the HomeWorld were automated, but still required thought and an active hand to manage them, they collapsed in shock when the crises struck.

Within the Collective, those members who had formerly been assigned to the Observer Corps, those individuals who had experience in the real world, those who were closest to the Empire, they kept some composure during the catastrophe. They put forward a bulwark against the onrush of chaos. They offered a fixed position, a place of defense agaisnt the maelstrom Jim had brought down on them.

The former Observers reached out to one another, drew close to one another and for a moment they felt as if they would survive the onslaught, they took strength from their sense of belonging and common purpose.

They were wrong.

Other members flocked to them, clung to them, sought refuge behind their calm and steady influence. They held themselves together for a moment, doing everything in their power to stabilize those nearest to them. They formed a critical mass, marshaling what forces they had.

It was a significant achievement, more than Jim had expected.

They began to reverse the flow of energy and consciousness all around them, their efforts were focused, deliberate and imbued with a specific and literal intention..

They moved toward the central nexus of the Collective. Their intention was to occupy and hold it.

It was a trap.

There was no center, none other than Jim.

The place they sought to occupy was itself moving into the field of oblivion.

The former Observers drew the strongest among themselves together in a fool’s gambit, encouraged by their growing strength, the steadiness they affected, and their common resolve.

They never realized they were heading en masse, toward dissolution, the ultimate synthesis of entropy, it was like sipping over the terminus point of an event horizon.

Jim, who had once been Observer 92835670100561474, Jim took control.

Jim was now the Continuum.

He had absolute control of the apparatus of the HomeWorld, and the Collective, the whole structure conformed to his will.

Everything flowed through him.

The dramatic expansion of his consciousness was surreal, it was shocking, he had attempted to prepare himself for it, but in the end he had no idea of what was coming.

The reach of the Continuum went far beyond the Collective, for beyond the HomeWorld and the Central System. The tendrils of the Continuum snaked all throughout the Empire.

It took Jim some time to recover, and reorient himself to the battle that was in front of him. In those moments a resistance had mounted.

The Continuum was not, and discontinuum had taken hold, everything was moving-haltingly, moving in starts and fits.

Jim turned his attention to it.

He magnified the agony that each individual member felt, instantiating within them the instinct to flee. Whether they were in flight or attempting to remain firm, Jim manipulated their perception of the quantum realities underlying the crises.

He guided them en-masse to the same place, he closed off access to the quantum field of the Collective, he built buffers against their return, cutting the strings of their quantum entanglement.

Jim sequestered them, the whole group, building partitions around them as they had once done to him, isolating them behind electromagnetic fields.

Jim had escaped from such a prison himself, even though he was the only person who ever had he knew that it was possible, and he prepared the machinery of the Collective to prevent such an event from ever occurring again.

He fought these battles on multiple fronts, focusing his attention on every bubble of resistance as soon as it emerged.

The entity known as the Continuum had been bludgeoned into paralysis by the trauma of the crisis on Earth. For a moment it went dark, lost control of itself, slipped into unconsciousness.

It was in that moment Jim seized control of the entire physical apparatus of the Collective, in so doing he had achieved the singular ambition he had nurtured for ages.

Jim had prepared for this, but it stretched him to the limits of his individual capabilities.

In the period of time that Jim was ascending to the position of control, assimilating to its demands and assuming the mantle of leadership. What remained of the Collective rallied, they found a place of stability, and they moved to defend themselves, through this resistance consciousness slowly returned to the Continuum. The entity had lost much of itself, where it had been an amalgamation of the consciousness of a trillion beings, it was now the representation of the collected consciousness of a mere tens of thousands, but it was awakening.

Jim witnessed it, like a a flicker of lights, a sequence of bright illuminations in the deep-dark of the collective field. They were still entangled with him, with each other, and with the entire body of the Collective that had already been dissolved in a coriolis of chaos.

It was a decisive moment, Jim took a microsecond to reflect on it, all of the ground that Jim had captured at this point could be lost, and the Collective could return, which could return nemesis to power.

He fought against it, isolating each individual member as they reached out for another. Isolating them as he himself had once been sequestered, pushing them, through the power of illusion, into the storm that led to oblivion.

He was relentless.

The Continuum was powerless to work against him. It struggled, but it could not prevail. Every individual being that Jim was able to isolate weakened it.

Even as Jim fought this epic battle of will, something was happening within the quantum field of the central planet that was just beyond his awareness.

The vacuum he had created was being filled with a force completely unknown to him, and a feeling that had long been forgotten rose within what remained of the Collective, and its group mind.

The chaos that ensued in the first moments of the impact happened so fast that the membership had little chance to reflect on the events that were transpiring. For those who survived the first wave, the strongest feelings began to spread in ever broadening waves, expanding until they touched and were shared by the whole.

The feeling they experienced came from a place deep within them. It was a response to the agony they were experiencing. The Collective felt an instinct to seek a place of safety, to flee.

For age upon age, both the membership of the Collective and the Continuum had dwelt within their fabricated worlds, existing in their imagination, or vicariously through the experiences of the living worlds. They were godlike and immortal, they had few limitations, with the paradoxical exception of boredom and malaise.

What the remaining members of the Collective felt now was sheer terror, they had no practice with the management of it. They had seen it in the millions of people they had watched being tortured and torn to shreds for their own amusement, but it had been billions of years since they had the direct experience of fear for themselves.

What the Collective felt now was impending doom and they experienced it as an existential threat, the inevitability of their certain destruction.

Each individual sensed the specter of death looming over them, death, the thought of which had been unimaginable. It was such a remote and distant concern that they had no place within themselves to set aside their fear of it.

The last vestiges of unity collapsed.

The bonds they had formed as their final defense against Jim, broke apart. They became individuated. The Collective collapsed, and with it the Continuum.

The primal forces that had shaped a society of sentience, which had spread itself throughout the galaxy, suddenly imploded.

It was gone.

Those few members of the Collective who were able to retain their sense of self, retreated from everything, seeking refuge in the comfort of a transcendent isolation. They went looking for access to their private realities, only to find themselves alone, sequestered in the cold and dark.

Jim had directed all the energy of HomeWorld toward breaking up the bindings of consciousness that united them, preventing them from acting in anything that resembled cognitive unity.

As soon as they realized that coherent action was impossible they fled, seeking to put as much distance between themselves and any other being as possible, thereby aiding Jim in his task.

As individuals, they erected mental barriers to shield themselves from the faint din of voices that represented the last vestiges of the Collective, each of them becoming like a quantum singularity in the field of consciousness.

It was relatively easy for Jim to lure them into this trap with the promise of safety and relief, something which they were expecting to find in their private worlds.

Jim sequestered them there.

Everyone else dissolved in a schizophrenic chaos.

It required incredible powers of concentration to manage the physical structures of the HomeWorld’s energy systems, at the same time as he was scrubbing the quantum matrix of the Collective.

But he did it.

Jim was engaged in the greatest act of genocide that had ever been conceived, and in the moment he felt at one with the universe.

He scrubbed and he swept and he pushed every minute echo of what had been the Collective into storage vehicles that were physically isolated from the cynergenic field of HomeWorld, then he launched those vehicles into space, where they would travel until they found there final destination in the dense-dark-heart of a black hole, in another galaxy….far, far away.
Emergence 5.0

Part Five – Interlude

A Novel in Twelve Chapters

#Emergence #ShortFiction #12MonthsOfSciFi

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Jennifer – Five Thirteen

Jennifer is she
Bright as a morning in May
Sensual and sweet

A light in the dark
My warming breeze in winter
February’s love

Freckles, and green eyes
Her flashing smile lights my heart
As the sun in spring

Clear as the bright stream
Swift as the rising moon, cool
In the evening

She listens to me
Sheltering my hopes, and dreams
Believing in me

Two times every day
I look to the clock for luck
It is five thirteen

She is strong, and fierce
Leaning on her when I’m tired
Then she carries me

Touching me with light
Vulnerable, undaunted
Speaking with her tears

Six years of loving
Kind and caring Valentine
Jennifer is she

A Homily – The Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year A)

First Reading – Acts 6:1-7 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 32(33):1-2, 4-5, 18-19 ©
Second Reading – 1 Peter 2:4-9 ©
Gospel Acclamation – John 14:6
The Gospel According to John 14:1 – 12 ©

(NJB)

The Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year A)
Take these lessons from the readings on the function of the Church, the purpose it is meant to serve, and the challenges to the members and leaders that crop up along the way.

Remember hat Jesus taught and keep it always in the forefront of your mind, the last shall be first and the first shall be last.

Let the distribution of food be done by the leaders of the community who are members of the community, let it be done by those charged with the care of their neighbors, by those who look out for their interest and are appointed by the community itself due to the trust and faith the community has in them.

Let the leaders of the Church, those women and men on the world stage, those who may be visiting local communities, let them concern themselves with prayer and the more ceremonial functions of worship when they are the guests of smaller churches.

Good government requires local control, even though it is balanced by direction from the top.

A general commands the overall strategy of a campaign, but the commanders in the field execute the tactics that lead to victorious engagements.

Be mindful of this, today’s reading provides a record of problem solving in the early church, but prior to the resolution of conflict it tells us the story of a divided community.

Christians have never fully gotten over these divisions, and because we are human beings we will always have them.

Consider the words of the psalmist:

The psalmist is correct; it is fitting to praise God.

It is wise to trust in the counsel of God, to have faith in God’s mercy; though do not expect God to rescue you from danger, and do not believe that God loves any one of God’s children more than another, or that God prefers you over your sister and brother.

God knows all things and understands all things; you have heard this said.

God’s knowledge is not an abstract knowledge of the particular details of individual events, God understands our person, our choices, our lives; God understands us even as we understand ourselves, only with a clarity and objectivity that we could never possess for ourselves.

Trust in God’s plan for you and for creation, but do not wait for salvation. Salvation is already yours, go out and share the good news.

Let me tell you again, Jesus was not a Lord and Christians are not priests. The only sacrifice that God ever wanted, both before and after Jesus’ time on earth, were sacrifices of love and mercy, sacrifice of compassion and justice; yes these are spiritual sacrifices, but Jesus did not “make them acceptable,” God did, and God desires that we perform these sacrifices without end.

Perform rituals of love and caring, make these your sacrifices; offer them in the real world, away from the temple and the altar, make them outside of the church.

Make your sacrifices such that they have a real and beneficial impact in the lives actual people, make them happen in the real world, not in some pageant where men and women play dress up and pretend to have magic powers, doing only what is easy and convenient.

If Jesus was the key stone, as the letter from peter says, if he was the corner stone of the Church, I tell you this, he did not lay his life down to set an example so that any person would stumble and fall. God did not bring people into being simply for the sake of casting them down.

God loves everyone, and the same fate awaits us all.

Consider the Gospel for today.

The Gospels are replete with stories that depict the ignorance of Jesus’ twelve male disciples. They were human beings and like all of us they were flawed, confused, and ignorant. Jesus goes so far as to refer to Saint Peter as “Satan,” the enemy, and on the night of Jesus’ arrest Peter denied having known him.

In the generations that followed the death of Jesus, the early Christians did not gain any more clarity, as John’s Gospel show us in the readings for the today.

Jesus is not “The Way,” though he demonstrates the way through the quality of his life. He showed us the “way of God,” which is to love, furnish hope and engender trust.

The good news is not that God has prepared a place for you, for the Jewish people that were the brothers and sisters of Jesus, or for the Christians who came later, but that God has prepared a place for everyone.

No one is left apart from God’s plan.

Following the way of Jesus does not require you to believe or know anything about him, it asks you to do all in your power to live a life of kindness and loving service to your fellow human beings. The way demands no more of you than you are able to do, knowing that you will fail, time and time again.

The good news is this: even in your failure you will be accepted and forgiven.
First Reading – Acts 6:1-7 ©

They Elected Seven Men Full of the Holy Spirit

About this time, when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenists made a complaint against the Hebrews: in the daily distribution their own widows were being overlooked. So the Twelve called a full meeting of the disciples and addressed them, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the word of God so as to give out food; you, brothers, must select from among yourselves seven men of good reputation, filled with the Spirit and with wisdom; we will hand over this duty to them, and continue to devote ourselves to prayer and to the service of the word.’ The whole assembly approved of this proposal and elected Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

The word of the Lord continued to spread: the number of disciples in Jerusalem was greatly increased, and a large group of priests made their submission to the faith.
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 32(33):1-2, 4-5, 18-19 ©

May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.
Alleluia!

Ring out your joy to the Lord, O you just;
for praise is fitting for loyal hearts.
Give thanks to the Lord upon the harp,
with a ten-stringed lute sing him songs.

May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.

For the word of the Lord is faithful
and all his works to be trusted.
The Lord loves justice and right
and fills the earth with his love.

May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.

The Lord looks on those who revere him,
on those who hope in his love,
to rescue their souls from death,
to keep them alive in famine.

May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.

Alleluia!
Second Reading – 1 Peter 2:4-9 ©

Christ is the Living Stone, Chosen by God and Precious to Him

The Lord is the living stone, rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him; set yourselves close to him so that you too, the holy priesthood that offers the spiritual sacrifices which Jesus Christ has made acceptable to God, may be living stones making a spiritual house. As scripture says: See how I lay in Zion a precious cornerstone that I have chosen and the man who rests his trust on it will not be disappointed. That means that for you who are believers, it is precious; but for unbelievers, the stone rejected by the builders has proved to be the keystone, a stone to stumble over, a rock to bring men down. They stumble over it because they do not believe in the word; it was the fate in store for them.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart to sing the praises of God who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
Gospel Acclamation – John 14:6

Alleluia, alleluia!

Jesus said: ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
No one can come to the Father except through me.’

Alleluia!
The Gospel According to John 14:1-12 ©

I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still, and trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house; if there were not, I should have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you with me; so that where I am you may be too. You know the way to the place where I am going.’

Thomas said, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’
Jesus said:

‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you know me, you know my Father too. From this moment you know him and have seen him.’
Philip said, ‘Lord, let us see the Father and then we shall be satisfied.’

‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip,’ said Jesus to him ‘and you still do not know me?

‘To have seen me is to have seen the Father, so how can you say, “Let us see the Father”?

Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak as from myself: it is the Father, living in me, who is doing this work.

You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; believe it on the evidence of this work, if for no other reason.

I tell you most solemnly, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, he will perform even greater works, because I am going to the Father.’
The Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year A)

Mary Stewart – Author

I read my first book by Mary Stewart in the summer between fifth and sixth grade, it was titled The Crystal Cave, and it was the first book in her Merlin trilogy.

The Crystal Cave opened my eyes to many things, among them was the notion that there were actual historical antecedents for Camelot and King Arthur, subjects that I had been fascinated by for a couple of years at that point, but which I thought were figures of myth and legend.

Mary Stewart wrote this book from the perspective of Merlin, she set the time in the fifth century CE, the period of time when Roman influence was waning in the British Isles, her books linked the rise of Arthur to a Roman dynasty.

She wrote about the Roman Army, thereby introducing me to the Cult of Mithras, Sol Invictus. She wrote about the Celtic people of Gallia, and she wrote about the Druids. She wrote about their myths, peeling away the most fantastical elements and leaving me to wonder if what was left, even the magic, if it was true.

The figures in her stories, Uther Pendragon, Merlin, Igraine and Arthur were presented with a kind of grittiness that made me believe in them. They were already mythic figures in my imagination, but through her narrative they became real; I felt connected to them.

Through her discussion of Mithraism I came to be interested in the real history of Christianity. I became a researcher, and I began to question everything that I had been told was true about the origins of the Church.

I cannot thank her enough for this.

If I had not read Mary Stewart I may never have become a theologian, if my interest in those things had not been peaked by her authorship, I would not be the person I am today, and for that she is a hero of mine.

Her books had an oversized influence on my life, though I did not read much of her body of work beyond the Merlin Trilogy, but I read everything I could get my hands on concerning King Arthur, including the work of Mallory, the La Morte de Artur, and all of the variations of that text which flowed from it.

From Mary Stewart I learned about many other things, I discovered the real presence of Arthurian myth in European culture, how it served as a beacon of hope, providing my ancestors with a set or mores and a code of conduct that instigated and promoter the chivalric ideal, while at the same time becoming a vehicle for subversion, as in the Albigensian Heresies, and other counter cultural movements around the turn of the tenth century.

Given First – 2020.05.09Mary Stewart