O’Malley: Renew the church by living the Eucharist

Timothy O’Malley visits with two women attending his talk about the Eucharist Tuesday, Oct. 18, at Church of the Magdalen in Wichita.

Timothy O’Malley recalled comments made several years ago by Vatican affairs journalist John Allen during a presentation Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the Church of the Magdalen in Wichita.

After Allen’s speech, O’Malley said, a person in the audience asked: “When will the church do this?”

“It became clear that the person meant when will the Vatican initiate a local program that would renew their area of the church,” he said. Allen’s answer was “never.”

“Believe it or not, friends, I hate to tell you, the Vatican doesn’t think very often about Wichita, Kansas” O’Malley said. “I know it’s shocking. And it’s not because you’re not wonderful, it’s because it’s not their job.”

When will you do it?

The question isn’t when will the Vatican do this? he added, the question is when will you do this?

“If you want to renew the church, if you want to build up Christ’s body, what are you doing?” O’Malley asked. “When will you live out the mystery of the Eucharist outside of these walls?”

O’Malley’s talk about The Mass as School of Prayer and Evangelization was a Year of the Eucharist presentation. He is the director of education at the McGrath Institute for Church Life and academic director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy at the University of Notre Dame.

O’Malley cited Pope Paul VI’s Lumen Gentium, emphasizing the word “they,” as he said: “They (that’s us, by the way) they are in their own way made sharers in the priestly, prophetical, and kingly functions of Christ and they carry out for their own part the mission of the whole Christian people in the church and in the world.”

Baptism a priestly sacrament

The Sacrament of Baptism makes that creature someone who is able to exercise a vocation of priesthood, of prophesy, and a kingly identity in the world.

“This is the vocation of all Christians,” O’Malley said. “It’s why when you mark yourself in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, when you walk in the doors of that church, you remind yourself of the depths of your dignity.”

One who is baptized is one who offers his life as a sacrifice of love, he said.

“When we say that the Eucharist is the final sacrament of initiation, we don’t mean you’re done with it forever,” O’Malley said. “As John Paul II noted in his address to the bishops of the U.S, the sharing of all the baptized…is the key to understanding the Second Vatican Council’s call for a full, conscious, and active participation in the liturgy.

“It means you must recognize that on this altar that the Lord is offered, so, too are you. So, too, are you to recognize every part of your life is to be offered back in love to the Father – all your joys, all your sufferings, all your sorrows. All your wounds are offered back every time you come here.”

Live out the mystery

St. John Paul II also asked the faithful to remember that their lives are intended to live out that mystery, he said.

“The Holy Father wrote to say that the entire existence of the lay faithful has as its purpose to lead a person to a knowledge of the radical newness of the Christian life that comes from baptism, the sacrament of faith. So that this knowledge can help that person live the responsibilities which arise from the vocation received from God.”

One’s baptism is the deepest identity a person has, he said.

“Baptism regenerates us in the life of the Son of God, unites us to Christ into his body, the church, and anoints us in the Holy Spirit, making us spiritual temples. Wherever we go, we worship – or we don’t I should say – but you have a choice.”

The faithful share in Jesus’ priestly ministry, O’Malley said. “Incorporated in Jesus Christ, the baptized are united to him into his sacrifice and the offering they make of themselves and their daily activities, the offering you make of yourself, everything you do.”

The entirety of the presentation is available here and  at Church of the Magdalen’s YouTube website.