From whom or from what will we take our cues?
On the stage, one actor begins to speak and move without a cue–namely, whoever speaks the opening lines. From then on, everything proceeds according to cues. To succeed as an actor, the first rule is: learn your cues.
Well, the Bard of Avon wrote, “all the world’s a stage.” On the stage of life, the only one who begins to speak and to act without a cue is: God, the Creator. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
Shakespeare spoke true: We human beings resemble actors on a stage in that we live our lives following cues. None of us here started this big show. Our first rule needs to be: Stay on cue.
The question is: From whom or from what will we take our cues?
1. Moses commanded, “Remember how the Lord brought you out of slavery through a parched and waterless desert. He fed you with bread from heaven.”
When Moses said this, the people stood on the verge of triumph. They were preparing to enter the Promised Land at last. The Hebrew people were destined to assume control of this land flowing with milk and honey.
But the Law of Moses and the books of the prophets resound with this reminder: Remember that you were once desperate and homeless. God took care of you, even though you never deserved it. He took care of you for one simple reason: Because He is generous.
2. St. Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians: Brothers and sisters of a divided and confused church, with each group following their own petty leader: How do you figure that you became a church in the first place? Did I, Paul, make you a church? Or Apollos, or any of the other magnificent orators who tickle your ears with self-serving foolishness?
No. One thing makes you a church: The Lord Jesus gives His Body and Blood from heaven to be the holy food you share together. Why does He do this? For one simple reason: Because He is generous.
3. When the incarnate Word of God originally announced the unification of heaven and earth through the Holy Mass, the Jews quarreled, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’
The Lord answered, ‘Because the Father has sent me to do this.’
Does the Father send the Son to be our constant companion in the Holy Eucharist because we deserve it? No. He does it for one simple reason: Because…
–HE IS GENEROUS!
Listen, if there is one thing that the Holy Mass teaches us, it is that God is generous. If there is one thing that the Sacred Scriptures teach us, it is that God is generous. If there is one thing that waking up this morning with breath in our lungs teaches us, it is that God is generous.
The Lord presses us with His relentless generosity to the point where we crack. We get like the workers in the parable who begrudged the late-arriving farmhands the generous wages that the Master chose to give at the eleventh hour.
But when we behave like pissy brats because God is generous with others, the Lord is generous with us then, too. Once we apologize, He forgets all about it and keeps pouring on the generosity.
So if we are looking for a cue to take—and we are, after all; we need to know when and how to act on this great stage of life—if we are looking for a cue, let’s take one from the generosity of Almighty God.
Even though we never deserved it, He became one of us and established the sacrifice by which we can hope for eternal life. He gives us His flesh and blood to nourish us along the way.
I guess we could say that God Almighty is almightily generous. His generosity brooks no limits; it overcomes all restraint.
Not being omnipotent ourselves, we cannot be almightily generous like Almighty God. But we can imitate His generosity by being fearlessly generous.
We have limits. But if we are going to take our cues from God, we cannot let fear impose limits on our generosity that are not really there.
Not everyone is cut out to be a 24/7 evangelical impresario. But when an opportunity to open myself up in kindness to a stranger comes my way, do I let it pass just because I am afraid?
If someone thinks I am a fool because I reach out a trusting hand, who cares? That’s his problem, not mine. If someone writes me off as a silly goodie two-shoes because I take the trouble to invite her to come to Mass, so what? That’s her problem, not mine.
The Lord has given us so much, and we have so much to give. The Lord has poured love on us like sauce on spaghetti. His generosity has conquered us.
Let’s take His cue. By being generous, we can conquer the world.