Catechism of the Catholic Church

198 Part One their assembly on Mount Sinai where Israel received the Law and was established by God as his holy people. 140 By calling itself “Church,” the first community of Christian believers recognized itself as heir to that assembly. In the Church, God is “calling together” his people from all the ends of the earth. The equivalent Greek term Kyriak, from which the English word Church and the German Kirche are derived, means “what belongs to the Lord.” 752 In Christian usage, the word “church” designates the litur- gical assembly, 141 but also the local community 142 or the whole universal community of believers. 143 These three meanings are inseparable. “The Church” is the People that God gathers in the whole world. She exists in local communities and is made real as a liturgical, above all a Eucharistic, assembly. She draws her life from the word and the Body of Christ and so herself becomes Christ’s Body. Symbols of the Church 753 In Scripture, we find a host of interrelated images and figures through which Revelation speaks of the inexhaustible mys- tery of the Church. The images taken from the Old Testament are variations on a profound theme: the People of God. In the New Testament, all these images find a new center because Christ has become the head of this people, which henceforth is his Body. 144 Around this center are grouped images taken “from the life of the shepherd or from cultivation of the land, from the art of building or from family life and marriage.” 145 754 “The Church is, accordingly, a sheepfold, the sole and necessary gateway to which is Christ. It is also the flock of which God himself foretold that he would be the shepherd, and whose sheep, even though governed by human shepherds, are unfailingly nourished and led by Christ himself, the Good Shepherd and Prince of Shepherds, who gave his life for his sheep. 146 140 Cf. Ex 19. 141 Cf. 1 Cor 11:18; 14:19, 28, 34, 35. 142 Cf. 1 Cor 1:2; 16:1. 143 Cf. 1 Cor 15:9; Gal 1:13; Phil 3:6. 144 Cf. Eph 1:22; Col 1:18; LG 9. 145 LG 6. 146 LG 6; cf. Jn 10:1-10; Isa 40:11; Ezek 34:11-31; Jn 10:11; 1 Pet 5:4; Jn 10:11-16. 1140, 832 830 781, 789 857