Catechism of the Catholic Church

340 Part Two 1346 The liturgy of the Eucharist unfolds according to a funda- mental structure which has been preserved throughout the centu- ries down to our own day. It displays two great parts that form a fundamental unity: — the gathering, the liturgy of theWord, with readings, homily, and general intercessions; — the liturgy of the Eucharist, with the presentation of the bread and wine, the consecratory thanksgiving, and communion. The liturgy of theWord and liturgy of the Eucharist together form “one single act of worship”; 172 the Eucharistic table set for us is the table both of the Word of God and of the Body of the Lord. 173 1347 Is this not the same movement as the Paschal meal of the risen Jesus with his disciples? Walking with them he explained the Scriptures to them; sitting with them at table “he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.” 174 The movement of the celebration 1348 All gather together. Christians come together in one place for the Eucharistic assembly. At its head is Christ himself, the principal agent of the Eucharist. He is high priest of the New Covenant; it is he himself who presides invisibly over every Eucharistic celebration. It is in representing him that the bishop or priest acting in the person of Christ the head ( in persona Christi capitis ) presides over the assembly, speaks after the readings, receives the offerings, and says the Eucharistic Prayer. All have their own active parts to play in the celebration, each in his own way: readers, those who bring up the offerings, those who give communion, and the whole people whose “Amen” manifests their participation. 1349 The Liturgy of the Word includes “the writings of the prophets,” that is, the Old Testament, and “the memoirs of the apostles” (their letters and the Gospels). After the homily, which is an exhortation to accept this Word as what it truly is, the Word of God, 175 and to put it into practice, come the intercessions for all men, according to the Apostle’s words: “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings, and all who are in high positions.” 176 172 SC 56. 173 Cf. DV 21. 174 Cf. Lk 24:13-35. 175 Cf. 1 Thess 2:13. 176 1 Tim 2:1-2. 103 1140 1548 1184