A bit of a break today as Tom McMahon gives us a shorter and very homely reflection in keeping with the Easter season. We all needs hugs in our lives and perhaps that is the chief lesson from this reflection.
Is it Easter already? Holy Week and a wholesome brunch...
Along with their parents, our five grandchildren ate an Easter Sunday brunch at grandpa and grandma's home, quite a feat to assemble this international tribe with ethnic backgrounds of Irish, Italian, Spanish, and Vietnamese, all in proper sequence of entry into our American family system ... and don't think that this grandpa-writer didn't smile as I was very much aware that the little boy from 15th Street who happened to be ordained a priest was witness to a display of holiness/wholesomeness that only a loving Creator could produce. (Thanks God, whoever and wherever you are, for letting me join in your Creation. You are an awesome Creator.) What a challenge presents itself to raise children in this age of technology, keeping them in the holiness in which they were born. By birth alone they have been given a wonder-full start. I have a new camera, not yet adapted to my computer; I will in time show on Catholica four young ones, 6, 4, 2 and 2, loving two-months-old Adam.
During the energy filled meal and following front lawn egg hunt I was so enmeshed in life that I gave little thought to the contrasting years of my celibate days as Roman priest. As two-year-old Adrianne, my Irish lass with rosy cheeks and curly blond hair, went around picking up stray eggs with her bucket I had/have no regrets for my change of life style. The gifts of the Creator are myriad, everywhere. I did take time to admire the front garden my wife had lovingly planted last Fall.
In reality Easter is just another day in my aging life. I pay little attention to the Roman calendar of Holy Week, as every day and week and month and year is the Creator's time and gift to me. I received from our friend Dick Placone of Palo this nature video which I ask Brian to share.
Again hats off to a Great Creator who constantly keeps all things new. Easter is an interesting holiday. I'll go a bit into its history in the Sunday mini-series on the mythology of the gods. I regret to see signs on churches during this time ... "HE HAS RISEN" ... aware that few ministerial persons know much about the complexity of this life-after-death theology. A simple confusing few words about Jesus being alive runs rampant for a few days as tulips burst forth in their annual resurrection. Nature tells me more about the new life of Jesus.
The evolution of life is an ongoing easter experience, nature alive and springing to newness, humans rising to a better way of life, women coming forward to a better place of dignity and power, and people becoming familiar with the sacrament of gentle encounter and the experience of forgiveness. Life is full of hope. Lest a reader think I am naïve in thinking the above comes easily I do admit to the idealism involved, along with the on-going "good friday pain" that goes with spiritual struggle. I have some terrible spiritual self defeats as our new multi-cultured family system works out the best way to live life. Our greater family system lacks good communication which can become painful. Silence is a tool of the new generation. Silence can annihilate.
My year-long lenten penance is to read more and study what we humans call religion. I have again taken up Schoenherr's Goodbye Father, Hoge's First Five Years of Priesthood, reliving so much of what these pioneers offered. I am working away at THE GRACE OF EVERYDAY SAINTS by San Francisco Chronicle writer Julian Guthrie. Julian takes a reader through the onerous closing of St. Brigid's Catholic Church in San Francisco in 1993; we shall see more on this Roman treachery later, sufficing here to say that the archdiocese is after the money this well-endowed old parish had in the bank so as to secretly buy off victims of pedophile clergy. I read with great pain as I realize that the very archbishop who got rid of me for being a family man is working to keep a top dog criminal priest in his monsignor robes. This surely is not an easter experience. The mystery of evolutionary religion is complex.
Happy life to the world and to all your wonderful people...
Happy life to the world and all you wonderful people. I wish our newspapers would give us more of the greatness of life. Ever since I was a young seminarian I have been puzzled by poverty, war, and world hunger. I have been well aware coming from an American Great Depression family that I live a life very different from a tribal family in war ravaged Somalia. God has not blessed me and cursed the Somalians. A generous Creator who has given us free will to manage our own affairs has nothing to do with our world condition. It is mere chance that I was born of Irish Potato Famine immigrants who happened to have education and a keen insight to a God of Love. I am confused with elaborate liturgical ceremony such as Pope Benedict wearing red vestments at the Coliseum in Rome to commemorate the blood shed by Jesus for the salvation of human kind; food and shelter are to me a salvation of people with whom Jesus would align. Poverty, ignorance, and war are problems of human making. What glory is given to the Creator as long as humans are menaced by evil human power. Our world doesn't need any more slogans. As Jesus encourages we need to look at creation through the eyes of children. We need to take seriously John Chuchman's summons to examine this God of Love. The gifts of the Creator are an abundance for us to share.
I close with a quote from Terry Dosh's BREAD RISING, Terry quoting Michael Leach in NCR 3 Feb 2012. as Michael quotes Virginia Satir, commonly called the "grandmother of family therapy" (and whom I studied while Virginia was still alive).
"HUGS" ... Family therapist Virginia Satir says: We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance We need twelve hugs a day for growth. Research shows that hugging for only 20 seconds lowers blood pressure and increases oxytocin, a hormone that relives stress. A lot of hugging reduces the risk of heart disease. And everyone knows that hugging makes babies (and grownups) cry less. [Tom recommends to parents who want help raising kids, PEOPLEMAKING by V. Satir.]
Happy Day, Happy life and a big hug to all and let's get to work on sharing. There is no mass conversion. Salvation is an individual process.
Tom McMahon, at 83 in San Jose, still relishing the joy of the Jesus spirit of new life in our grand kids. 11Apr2012
PS: I wonder who will be the priests who foster this movement of world salvation?
What are your thoughts on this commentary?