“Because I say so” is the despairing last answer of every parent to the repeated question “why?”
Why? Is a question with a progression that can never be properly answered. “Why does the sun shine?” could be given a scientific answer to do with nuclear fusion and light rays and maybe the eye’s ability to perceive it but is that really an answer to why? Behind it there is always another why? And behind all the why’s there is the ultimate question “why is there something and not nothing?”
Why do people drop rubbish? Lately quite a lot of people have been wondering why local beauty spots have to be ruined by people leaving litter. Sadly, it seems that as each level of lockdown is lifted people flood the great outdoors leaving behind them piles of rubbish.
Why? Some people blame the lack of the old fashioned parkie; others blame the parents.
Perhaps we should look at it the other way round: why not? They are going home. Why should they carry something back or even put it in a bin? The chance of a fine or punishment is tiny. The consequences for them of leaving litter are small if they are not planning to return anytime soon. So why not? Appeals to think of the common good or the environment or future generations fall on the deaf ears of those who believe that we should eat, drink and litter because tomorrow we die.
Maundy Thursday is called Maundy from the Latin mandatum: the new commandment that Jesus gives his disciples to love one another. Mandatum means “given”. In other words we love one another because that is what Jesus commands us to do. We love the poor not because the poor are good but because God is good. And we love each other because Jesus tells us to.
And those who heard the voice of Jesus know that it is the same voice that gave the commandments to Moses and the same voice that said let there be light and created everything out of nothing. All these are “givens”.
As I get older the more I appreciate the gift of life which has been given to me: and I also consider that life is perhaps simpler than I used to think.
All that we have been given by God is a gift for us to treasure and use wisely: above all the gift of his son, Jesus Christ who died that we might share in his Risen life. Why? Because God loves the world.