Séamus Ahearne: ‘I never saw sad men who looked, With such a wistful eye, Upon the little tent of blue, We prisoners called the sky, And at every careless cloud that passed, In happy freedom by.’ The Ballad of Reading Gaol (Oscar Wilde)

Hamas and the Israelis

The papers last weekend avoided a mention of the Hamas invasion of Israel on the front pages. They obviously thought they had more important issues to deal with – like Budget minutiae. How could that happen? Or were the papers printed before the news exploded? There was no news either of the death toll in Afghanistan after the earthquake. That may have been too late for the news. Not much has been heard of that disaster since. Some deaths matter less. It seems. A spokesperson for the Palestinian Government asked at the UN – whether his people were seen ‘as lesser humans.’ None of us can grasp how Hamas could secretly gather so many rockets; so much armaments and then could overwhelm the sophisticated defence of the Israeli military.

The Hamas fighters didn’t just go in; they demolished the sense of superiority of Israel. But what is the outcome? Probably 3000 dead. Many more injured. Lives shattered. The Gaza Strip in ruins. The cost is beyond all. It doesn’t lead to a solution. What now is the role of other countries or the UN? Condemnation won’t solve anything. The cheap call of dismissing Hamas as Terrorists doesn’t end the discussion. The same was done in Ireland with the IRA. Everyone can abhor what was done in the name of Ireland but there was a reason and a cause. There is also a reason and a cause for what Hamas has done. The total subjugation of a people leads to such action. This is not an attempt to justify anyone or anything. The fundamental questions have to be addressed. Jaw Jaw is better than war war. (Churchill.)

An Ordinary story of an extraordinary home:

Brendan Walsh (Editor) wrote an article –‘The accidental father‘, in The Tablet 7th October 2023. It is a magnificent story of family life; of surprises in love; of the messiness of parenthood; of the ups and downs in faith. This is real Eucharist. This is bread that is broken. This is the sharing Table. This is ordinary life. This is the juggler struggling – trying to balance home and work. This is the heart of a Jesus parable as lived. This is Communion. Unless and until we can find a place and a role for such honesty, humanity and humility in our celebration of faith, the Word never becomes Flesh.

Hugs and kisses, Love you!

I overhear every day, the sound of parents saying to their children ‘love you.’ And then they hug and kiss. I don’t eavesdrop but catch in the air betimes many ending a phone call saying ‘love you.’ I smile at all of this. I never heard any of this in my young days and as for hugging and kissing and telling us how gorgeous we were, that didn’t happen. We didn’t feel unloved. Or unimportant. But the language of those days and these days is very different. I suppose we never heard of anyone not sitting at the Table with everyone else and saying ‘I don’t like this or that.’ We always had a table. We ate what was put in front of us. Now the Table (in many homes) doesn’t happen that much, or if it does – the phone takes over. Or the Tablet. The normal and usual family behaviour probably shows too how our celebration of the Mass has to change. It has become very individualised. Prayer has become private and passive. Communion is hardly Communion at all. It is me and my God. It is the same as the Table going on with some members of the family but everyone else having their meal on the side. A passing thought…

A sycamore tree at Hadrian’s Wall and other trees:  

That Sycamore tree at Hadrian’s Wall has caused deep grief. Some of the men today were talking of it being  a funeral as they cut up the tree and wondered where to ‘bury’ it. I rather like trees myself but I have never got as far as mourning a fallen tree. I spent much of my youth knocking down trees, cutting them up, splitting them and wheelbarrowing them in for the fire. I love the smell of wood and the varieties of smells from different trees. I watch these days the falling leaves. They scatter everywhere. The changing colours are quite beautiful. Much as I admire these colours, they do tell me of the approaching winter which I don’t like. I can’t see in the dark these mornings and the heron and the swans don’t speak. The other birds don’t talk either. The Tolka River is noisy in parts and then there is the sound of silence. I do see the weeping willow and we have a word. I will miss it when the leaves wave goodbye.

The All Blacks and the All Greens:

The rugby is getting serious. Saturday will  severely affect the health of the nation. My friend Liz (here) has a grandnephew (young Craig) on the panel. She suffers. She can’t watch the games. She can imagine him being caught up by the huge forwards and hurled over the sideline. It is a mighty game but those bodies surely will emerge rather damaged. Olive Foley did a lovely interview for Africa (St Patrick’s Missions) Magazine. Her faith is so strong and effusive. Her husband  Axel (Anthony) will be in many minds at this time. I somehow nod in agreement with Kevin Keegan! He has a problem with females on the panels for soccer, for hurling, for rugby. The girls play a great game but it is different. The two games don’t compare. I think. Kevin thinks. Maybe panels need to be rethought. Many won’t like that comment.

Come back Barack:

It is a worry. Donald Trump is still around. His scowling, whinging face, reminds us of the dire need for leadership. We need suitable people to lead the nations. Trump is not the answer. The carry-on in The House for the Speaker (US House of Representatives) doesn’t bode well. A chaotic rabble. I think Barack has to come back and offer himself to the nation. Joe needs a long holiday. And then we see and hear of that old man Francis in Rome, raising the right questions; searching for answers;  being direct and honest. We are blessed in having him. He may need to take a rest after the Synodal Meeting is over. But we don’t want to lose him.

Seamus Ahearne osa

12th October 2023.

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