Tom McMahon went AWOL during the week and it seems he returned from Roma where his last mini-commentary was based for a brief sojourn back home in San Jose, California. Today we find him on his magic carpet flying back to the Trevi Fountain in Rome but overflying the wreck of the Titanic which has been so much in the news in recent days because of the centenary of her sinking.
A big detour...
Having shed our mourning sack cloth and ashes after discovering god was not really dead we fired up our magic carpet leaving San Jose, Ca. on our way back to Rome we crossed the site where the mighty RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and eventually floundered to the sea bottom, two and a half miles down. At our local senior center we are engaged in a study of the unsinkable Titanic, interested in the tragedy itself as well as a philosophical discussion of modern homo sapiens challenging the powerful forces of nature with new found technological inventions. Mother Gaia, aka the universe, was one of the original gods of recorded history, her power mighty and mysterious. Ulysses of Homeric fame battles the worldwide powers of nature, frequently pitting the raging water and storms of the god Poseidon against the fragile but inventive strength of the human being.
RMS stands for Royal Mail Ship with no one today knowing where its mail cargo lies; the hulk of the ship itself, dismantled and shattered in three large sections is spread across a debris field of 15 miles, sending a powerful message to humankind, namely "don't mess with the power of nature". Myself I have long believed in the presence of a Creator in all creation and I would like to think like Teilhard of the wonderful gifts of life, e.g. colorful flowers and the tranquil poems of Joyce Kilmer. My mother, who loved nature, used to recite Trees to me ….. "I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree ... that looks at god all day and lifts its sleeping arms to pray...". Mom found god in all creation. Humans have ten-thousand ideas about what and who and where this awesome All Knowing and All Powerful Experience is and perhaps we pretend to know more than the Divine does.
I have two confusing ideas:
As we bid farewell to the Titanic we might investigate another one of the mysteries of the tragedy. The death of three classes of people interests me. In spite of financial differences, fifteen hundred rich and poor, immigrant and high ranking, female and male met the common end to life. I am conscious today that I have spent most of my 83 years in a type of an unknown apartheid. My father was a 1920's laborer and his four children came to attain prized university degrees and "special" places in this adventure called life. Yet there is no mystery that we all die breathing our last in the same way. Is there a guiding hand — a supernatural power that our family was fortunate to discover whereas the starving child in Somalia wasn't born in the right place for a god to care? In the plush confines of America I find few who are willing to sit and talk the talk and walk the walk of the Jewish preacher who called his god Abba/loving father and cared indiscriminately for people. Jesus told his followers to go to the far ends of the earth …and love them all, even me.
I find it difficult that after being gone from institutional ministry for 32 years I meet old time parishioners who ask me "Father, do you still believe in god and do you go regularly to Sunday mass?"
Ah, Our magic carpet radar tells us that Rome lies ahead and we shall be on the trail of the gods again next week. Arrivederci! Let's meet at Trevi, the three coins fountain ... we may find a god to bless us.
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Tom in San Jose, Ca.. 19Apr2012
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