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Chapter 14. The Celebration of the Paschal Mystery of Christ • 167

Part Two of the


, containing two sections, deals with the

liturgy of the Church. Section One presents the basic teachings about

liturgy. Section Two presents the Seven Sacraments. The word


comes from a Greek term meaning “public work or work done on behalf

of the people.” Liturgy always referred to an organized community. A

work, then, done by an individual or a group was a liturgy on behalf

of the larger community. All the worshipers are expected to participate

actively in each liturgy, for this is holy “work,” not entertainment or a

spectator event. Every liturgical celebration is an action of Christ the

High Priest and of his Mystical Body, which is the Church. It therefore

requires the participation of the People of God in the work of God.

Liturgy is centered on the Holy Trinity. At every liturgy the action of

worship is directed to the Father, from whom all blessings come, through

the Son in the unity of the Holy Spirit. We praise the Father who first

called us to be his people by sending us his Son as our Redeemer and

giving us the Holy Spirit so that we can continue to gather, to remember

what God has done for us, and to share in the blessings of salvation.

Through the liturgical celebrations of the Church, we participate in

the Paschal Mystery of Christ, that is, his passing through death from

this life into eternal glory, just as God enabled the people of ancient

Israel to pass from slavery to freedom through the events narrated

in the Book of Exodus (cf. Ex 11-13). The liturgies of the Church also

help to teach us about Jesus Christ and the meaning of the mysteries we

are celebrating.

A mystery is a reality that is both visible and hidden. Jesus Christ’s

death and Resurrection become present to us and effective for us in the

liturgical life of the Church. His death and Resurrection are hidden now

in the eternity of God, but as Risen Lord and Head of the Church, Jesus

Christ calls us to share in them through the liturgy of the Church, that

is, by the visible gathering of the community for worship and remem-

brance of what God has done for us. It is the Holy Spirit, the source of

the Church’s life, who draws us together through liturgical actions, the

chief of which are the Sacraments. The term


itself has a broader

application than that of Sacrament, for it embraces all the official public