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
What does the word liturgy mean?
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.”
Through the liturgy Christ, our redeemer and high
priest, continues the work of our redemption in, with, and through
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.
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
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.
Liturgy as source of life
As the work of Christ liturgy is also an action of his
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.
2:14-17, 25, 30.
7 § 2-3.