Sunday, April 14, 2024

Eucharistic Revival Series: Baptized to Be Prophets

A friend of mine recently adopted an 18-month-old girl. Upon her adoption, the baby was named Edith. After the adoption, it was decided that Edith should be baptized. I was thrilled that I was invited to the baptism. While we gathered around the baptismal font, Edith became a bit rambunctious and was eventually allowed to walk around while the priest was instructing the adults. As Father began the prayers for the Rite of Baptism, Edith walked up to the baptismal font and began talking to the figure of one of the saints carved into its pedestal. The conversation went on all throughout the beginning of the Rite. Finally, as Edith’s godmother reached down to her for the actual baptism, Edith waved “bye bye” to the saint on the pedestal. After Edith was baptized, she clapped for herself and was so proud!

As Edith was baptized, she was welcomed into the Church as priest, prophet and queen (king). Let’s look at the prophetic aspect of what baptism calls us to live.

According to Pope Francis, in an address to visitors to St. Peter’s Square in July, “A prophet is he who, by virtue of baptism, helps others read the present under the action of the Holy Spirit, which helps people ‘understand God’s plans and align yourselves’ with them. … who shows Jesus to others, who witnesses him, who helps live today and build tomorrow according to his design.”1

Prophets and baptism go hand in hand. It is through the liturgy that we learn what being a prophet is all about. In his book, “Eucharist: Celebrating its Rhythms in Our Lives,” Father Paul Bernier writes, “… It is not only the scriptures or the homily that issues a prophetic challenge for all of us. So does the entire liturgy. The very gathering of the community is already a prophetic statement.  For here we find rich and poor, young and old; here there is no longer Jew nor Greek, male nor female. The fact that people who would not otherwise associate with one another at work or at play can be found so easily at the same table is a powerful affirmation of the power of the Holy Spirit to transform us. It is also a statement about human dignity and whence it derives. … The Eucharistic prayer is also prophetic. Having gathered and heard the scriptures and praised God for the marvels he has worked in our world and that he has accomplished for us in Christ, we pray that the Holy Spirit might go about his work of transformation. This prayer to the Spirit is always expressed in terms of the transformation needed to bring about the unity of the community, … the bread and wine, … and the transformation of the world in which we live.”2

Prophets bring forth transformation of the community to what God envisions. What a responsibility we all have! Prophets use their words and actions to point to where the Kingdom needs to be built. They use their words and actions to encourage and strengthen believers to experience God here and now. In a sense, they whistle and declare, “Come this way to find God!”

I don’t think that the average person sitting in the pew has a deep realization of their call to be a prophet because of their baptism. How do you live your prophetic calling?

1 https://www.usccb.org/news/2023/pope-asks-faithful-be-modern-prophets-guiding-others-holy-spirit

2 Bernier, P. Eucharist: Celebrating its rhythms in our lives. Ave Maria Press. 1993. P. 87.

By Sister Geralyn Schmidt, SCC, The Catholic Witness

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