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278

Part Two

For it is in the liturgy, especially in the divine sacrifice of the

Eucharist, that “the work of our redemption is accom-

plished,” and it is through the liturgy especially that the

faithful are enabled to express in their lives and manifest to

others the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true

Church.

4

What does the word liturgy mean?

1069

The word “liturgy” originally meant a “public work” or a

“service in the name of/on behalf of the people.” In Christian

tradition it means the participation of the People of God in “the

work of God.”

5

Through the liturgy Christ, our redeemer and high

priest, continues the work of our redemption in, with, and through

his Church.

1070

In the New Testament the word “liturgy” refers not only

to the celebration of divine worship but also to the proclamation

of the Gospel and to active charity.

6

In all of these situations it is a

question of the service of God and neighbor. In a liturgical celebra­

tion the Church is servant in the image of her Lord, the one

leitourgos

”;

7

she shares in Christ’s priesthood (worship), which is

both prophetic (proclamation) and kingly (service of charity):

The liturgy then is rightly seen as an exercise of the priestly

office of Jesus Christ. It involves the presentation of man’s

sanctification under the guise of signs perceptible by the

senses and its accomplishment in ways appropriate to each

of these signs. In it full public worship is performed by the

Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and his

members. From this it follows that every liturgical celebra-

tion, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of his

Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all

others. No other action of the Church can equal its efficacy

by the same title and to the same degree.

8

Liturgy as source of life

1071

As the work of Christ liturgy is also an action of his

Church.

It makes the Church present and manifests her as the visible sign

of the communion in Christ between God and men. It engages the

faithful in the new life of the community and involves the “con-

scious, active, and fruitful participation” of everyone.

9

4

SC

2.

5 Cf.

Jn

17:4.

6 Cf.

Lk

1:23;

Acts

13:2;

Rom

15:16, 27;

2 Cor

9:12;

Phil

2:14-17, 25, 30.

7 Cf.

Heb

8:2, 6.

8

SC

7 § 2-3.

9

SC

11.

783

1692