Can someone who was a committed enemy become a trusted friend? That was a question facing the crew of Star Trek: Voyager once they took Seven of Nine on board. Seven was a Borg, a part human, part machine race, committed to taking over the galaxy. The Borg did not grow, they assimilated, swallowing up cultures as they went. “Resistance if futile” was their calling card. Connected in every way through hyperspace, they had no privacy, no personal identity, no individual existence.
Then the Voyager captured Seven. Of course, that was a great accomplishment, but the question after is what do you do with one after you catch them. They were able to isolate Seven from the collective, and gave her the chance to become one of them. It wasn’t easy, and it took a long time before they were able to trust one another, but over time they made progress, and Seven became a trusted member of the crew who helped them in all their adventures, even their confrontations with the Borg.
Saul was in the same predicament with the Apostles. He made his career as a persecutor of Christians, and was on the way to do that in Damascus when Jesus appeared to him, saying “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Saul was blinded at first, but as he recovered his sight, he became a believer. When he went back to Jerusalem, he tried to join the apostles, but of course they didn’t accept him. We can understand their reluctance to embrace someone who was a known enemy. Through Barnabas, Saul was able to convince them of his sincerity, however he created such a stir in public they had to send him away. It was ironic that the apostle to the gentiles got into trouble by arguing with Hellenists, who were the people he would preach to later in his life.
We are not meant to be machines, we are meant to be part of something organic. We are not meant to be a nameless cog, but a living flower. We let our inner unique beauty blossom by being part of the great vine. In this time when the boundary between friends and enemies seems impenetrable, we are called to be people of reconciliation. Seven never lost her Borg implants, but was able to integrate them into her new identity. The apostles accepted a man who seemed to hate them after a while, and found a man who would preach the Gospel around the Mediterranean and wind up in Rome.
Jesus becomes part of us, He remains in us. How are we called to come together in service of the one who gives himself to us so completely, and who helps us become our best selves? The one who keeps us away from the artificial collectives that try to assimilate us?