An Allegory

I have this brother. He's very overbearing. Our mother arranged for us to receive three delicious meals every day. They are delicious and nutritious. The balanced diet everyone is always talking about. Nevertheless, every day at every meal – EVERY DAY, EVERY MEAL, WITHOUT FAIL – when these meals arrive from the delivery service, he just throws them away and goes to get cheap, takeaway food. He never asks me. I don't think it even occurs to him that I – or for that matter our mother – might object. She hardly ever raises her voice in protest. She is worried she will drive him away. It is true that sometimes the food Mum has arranged is an acquired taste. You have to get used to it. Above all you have to take it all in, meal after meal, and then you begin to understand the subtlety of the flavours and you see the larger picture. In any case the food never tastes *nasty*, it is just not what we are used to. And it is always very nutritious and exactly what our mother planned for us.

As I say, come meal time, he never even looks at the food which Mum arranges. Often he just ignores the doorbell while on hold for the Pizza delivery. Sometimes he has no idea what we are going to eat until just before the meal is about to start. The delivery man with the food from Mum could be knocking and my brother will call out – over the knocks – wondering what we are going to eat. Sometimes he is still putting together the rest of the meal when we have started eating the first course of whatever reheated, possibly e-coli ridden, pap he has thrown together.

Occasionally. Very occasionally. He takes a tiny scrap of the food Mum arranged for us. He doesn't treat it correctly. It might be left to go cold. Or covered in tomato sauce. But that is still a big deal and a MAJOR concession. Usually it is just McDonalds or tinned soup. Occasionally he goes on a health bender and we eat fresh fruit and vegetables for a while. Then it is back to Pizza, sugary cereal and Maccers.

When I raise the matter he points out that Mum actually said that in emergencies, under special circumstances, we can arrange suitable food ourselves. It is true, she did say this, but it is *always* an emergency, these circumstances are *always* special and the food he prepares is *always* suitable.

Apparently I am not even supposed to complain. That would be elitist.

Look. I realise you don't want your inheritance. But why do I have to do without it also?

Last night, for the procession with the Blessed Sacrament at the end of the Evening Mass of Maundy Thursday, we had the Taizé chant "Stay with me". You wouldn't think there was a rich, beautiful melodic song, written by the greatest ever Catholic Theologian (n.17), proposed by Holy Mother Church for the procession. We had one of the weird English translations of the Tantum Ergo when they got to the tabernacle.

I cannot fathom the mind that makes these choices.