Into whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this household.” If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him.”
“Why?” is the most difficult question for a priest to answer upon the death of young child’s father. But when I think about it, The "why of anything" is a difficult question to answer, period.
We are accustomed to thinking that the question “Why?” is the same as “What causes this to happen?” They are not. “What causes the sky to be blue?” is an easy question to answer. “Why is the sky blue?” is a totally different question. The question can only be answered if we go back to the very beginning.
I mentioned a while back a gentleman that began a conversation with me on a flight. He asked me why I believed in God. I asked him why he didn’t. He told me because he believed the Universe began out of an explosion of energy. I told him I believed that it began out of an explosion of love.
Why did the Egyptians leave utensils and practical items in a dead man’s grave? Was it an expression of a man’s journey to the afterlife or was it an expression of care and devotion? Why do we place flowers upon a coffin? Is it to decorate the coffin or is it an expression of love? Why do we give fruits and bake cakes and make soups for a dead man’s family? Is it because we need to eat or is it because we love to show our love? The answer is obvious: it is both. All these serve a purpose. It is not one or the other. It is both.
Why do we have to die? We really can't answer this question until we answer the question “Why do we live?” Do we live so that we can die or is it so that we can love and be loved? Was I created from an explosion of cells or from an explosion of love? The answer is simple: It is both. Love given and love returned. Life is an expression of God’s love for us. As a worker in the Lord’s vineyard, I see things so differently. Every time I meet someone, I see them as a gift from God. A family I meet is a love bouquet from God. A young man and woman, a child, is like a flower that has been hand delivered to me.
Why do we have to die? Is it out of necessity or is it out of love? The answer is both. “Jesus said, ‘Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.’ Then he cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’” (John 11:38-44)
Why did Christ have to die? Was it out of necessity or was it out of love? The answer is both. The Lord had to die to ransom us from our sins. He also died to show us His unconditional love for us.
If we could only see this in every one we meet! How differently we would live. How beautifully we would live. How lovingly we would live. Peace would reign in every single household! This is the reason why the disciples entered a village, stayed in someone’s home and preached the Good News. Did they do this because they were told to? Yes. Did they do this because they wanted to? Yes. Did they do this because they loved to? Yes. They knew what they were sent to do: To love and be loved. This is the reason for the Universe. This is the reason for life on earth. This is the reason for my life and death. This is the reason for everlasting life!
So do we kiss someone because we want to taste them? Maybe. But if we begin to kiss someone because we love them (and not because we wish to betray them!), then we will start living a more profound and deeper existence, and we shall receive a just payment!
To love and be loved. This is the why we are who we are and why we do what we do. We learned it from Him who loved us first. When we start doing what we were meant to do, we will answer all life’s difficult questions.