Nature Abhors a Vacuum

The expression is attributed to Aristotle who articulated a belief that nature contains no vacuums because at the mere existence of a vacuum, the denser surrounding material continuum would immediately fill the void. He also argued against the void in a more abstract sense that by definition a void, itself, is nothing, and following Plato, nothing cannot rightly be said to exist. The idea was restated as “Natura abhorret vacuum” by François Rabelais (d. 1553), a French humanist and physician mainly remembered for his bawdy songs and poetry. The strictest criterion to define a vacuum is a region of space and time where all the components of the stress–energy tensor are zero. This means that this region is devoid of energy and momentum, and by consequence, it must be empty of particles and other physical fields (such as electromagnetism) that contain energy and momentum. But what does that have to do with today’s readings? Continue reading

For the sake of the Gospel

This coming Sunday is the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time in Cycle B of the Lectionary. It is a familiar story as Jesus encounters a rich young man who asks what must he do to inherit eternal life. He doesn’t like Jesus’ answer and goes away sad. Peter hears this and “…began to say to him, “We have given up everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. But many that are first will be last, and (the) last will be first.” (Mark 10:28-31) Continue reading