Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  285 / 904 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 285 / 904 Next Page
Page Background

The Celebration of the Christian Mystery



For this reason the Church, especially during Advent and

Lent and above all at the Easter Vigil, re-reads and re-lives the great

events of salvation history in the “today” of her liturgy. But this

also demands that catechesis help the faithful to open themselves

to this spiritual understanding of the economy of salvation as the

Church’s liturgy reveals it and enables us to live it.


Jewish liturgy and Christian liturgy.

A better knowledge of the

Jewish people’s faith and religious life as professed and lived even now

can help our better understanding of certain aspects of Christian liturgy.

For both Jews and Christians Sacred Scripture is an essential part of their

respective liturgies: in the proclamation of the Word of God, the response

to this word, prayer of praise and intercession for the living and the dead,

invocation of God’s mercy. In its characteristic structure the Liturgy of the

Word originates in Jewish prayer. The Liturgy of the Hours and other

liturgical texts and formularies, as well as those of our most venerable

prayers, including the Lord’s Prayer, have parallels in Jewish prayer. The

Eucharistic Prayers also draw their inspiration from the Jewish tradition.

The relationship between Jewish liturgy and Christian liturgy, but also their

differences in content, are particularly evident in the great feasts of the

liturgical year, such as Passover. Christians and Jews both celebrate the

Passover. For Jews, it is the Passover of history, tending toward the future; for

Christians, it is the Passover fulfilled in the death and Resurrection of Christ,

though always in expectation of its definitive consummation.


In the

liturgy of the New Covenant

every liturgical action,

especially the celebration of the Eucharist and the sacraments, is an

encounter between Christ and the Church. The liturgical assembly

derives its unity from the “communion of the Holy Spirit” who

gathers the childrenof God into the one Body of Christ. This assembly

transcends racial, cultural, social—indeed, all human affinities.


The assembly should


itself to encounter its Lord

and to become “a people well disposed.” The preparation of hearts

is the joint work of the Holy Spirit and the assembly, especially of

its ministers. The grace of the Holy Spirit seeks to awaken faith,

conversion of heart, and adherence to the Father’s will. These

dispositions are the precondition both for the reception of other

graces conferred in the celebration itself and the fruits of new life

which the celebration is intended to produce afterward.

The Holy Spirit recalls the mystery of Christ


The Spirit and the Church cooperate to manifest Christ and

his work of salvation in the liturgy. Primarily in the Eucharist, and by

analogy in the other sacraments, the liturgy is the


of the

mystery of salvation. The Holy Spirit is the Church’s living memory.


19 Cf.