Our Beloved Bishop gave the 9:30 AM Mass at our Cathedral in Reno Nevada, not with a direct discussion of the readings, but by reading the Mid-Victorian Era author Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem, “Ring out, wild bells.”
As Bishop Calvo read, he pointed out that the root word “שלום” Shalom, in Hebrew does not mean “Peace” but “Completeness.” From “Completeness,” comes the idea of “Peace.” Alfred, Lord Tennyson also wrote, “The old order changeth, yielding place to new.” The new order is, “Ring out the darkness of the land, ting in the Christ that is to be.” This comes from where everyone has enough, completeness. When all believe they have enough, we “Ring out the feud of rich and poor.” We wring out the isms that John Lennon so lamented about.” When we complete this we, “Ring in the nobler modes of life, with sweeter manners, purer laws.” We “Ring out the faithless coldness of the times.”
Alfred, Lord Tennyson lived during the time of Charles Dickens, of “A Christmas Carol,” that story about the great social inequality between the rich and poor that gave us the Monongah Mine disaster of December 6, 1907. This period gave us the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of March 25, 1911 and the Titanic sinking, the “Cold of the times.”
When we have a sense of completeness in our lives, there will be no desire for the richest 5% of the population to control 21.3% of the wealth and the richest 20% to control over 50% of the wealth while the poorest 50% live off 19% of the wealth. The goal is not class warfare. When people play baseball, and there is peace, Shalom, “שלום,” there is no room for debating who goes with what. We become so engrossed in the game; there is no time for such debate; everyone gets out of the game what they desire, the love of the game. In society, this harmony allows all to have the basics of food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and health care. If some have more, this sense of sufficiency allows all to live in peace.
It is only when the game is over that all strive to find who goes with what. In a marriage, people do not decide who goes with what. That only comes with divorce. Class warfare comes when those in one class fight with those in another. The poor in our society strive to bring the rich back into the grander society of E Pluribus Unum, where all are different, and all the same.
We, as Catholics, and Christians strive to, “Ring out the feud of rich and poor. Ring in redress to all mankind. Ring out a slowly dying cause, and ancient forms of party strife; ring in the nobler modes of life, with sweeter manners, purer laws. Ring out the want, the care the sin, the faithless coldness of the times; ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes. Ring the fuller minstrel in. Ring out false pride in place and blood, the civic slander, and the spite; ring in the love of truth and right. Ring in the common love of good.”
That is what our Bishop discussed for us today. Let us ring out the world of strife, and ring in the world of E Pluribus Unum.