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SUNDAY'S THEMESECHOING GOD'S WORDMORAL THEOLOGYTEAM RCIA
CATECHISM EXCERPTS

This Sunday’s Themes

The Homiletic Directory offers these recommendations for this Sunday’s readings:

CCC 557-560: Christ’s entry into Jerusalem
CCC 602-618: the Passion of Christ
CCC 2816: Christ’s kingship gained through his death and Resurrection
CCC 654, 1067-1068, 1085, 1362: the Paschal Mystery and the liturgy

LENT (FEB 21 - MAR 28)

First Sunday of Lent

CCC 394, 538-540, 2119: the temptation of Jesus
CCC 2846-2849: “Lead us not into temptation”
CCC 56-58, 71: the Covenant with Noah
CCC 845, 1094, 1219: Noah’s Ark prefigures the Church and baptism
CCC 1116, 1129, 1222: Covenant and sacraments (especially baptism)
CCC 1257, 1811: God saves through baptism

Second Sunday of Lent

CCC 554-556, 568: the Transfiguration
CCC 59, 145-146, 2570-2572: the obedience of Abraham
CCC 153-159: characteristics of faith
CCC 2059: God manifests his glory to make known his will
CCC 603, 1373, 2634, 2852: Christ is for us

Third Sunday of Lent

CCC 459, 577-582: Jesus and the Law
CCC 593, 583-586: Temple prefigures Christ; he is the Temple
CCC 1967-1968: the New Law completes the Old
CCC 272, 550, 853: Christ’s power revealed in the Cross

Fourth Sunday of Lent

CCC 389, 457-458, 846, 1019, 1507: Christ as Savior
CCC 679: Christ the Lord of eternal life
CCC 55: God wants to give man eternal life
CCC 710: Israel’s exile foreshadowed the Passion

Fifth Sunday of Lent

CCC 606-607: Christ’s life an offering to the Father
CCC 542, 607: Christ’s desire to give his life for our salvation
CCC 690, 729: the Spirit glorifies the Son, the Son glorifies the Father
CCC 662, 2853: Christ ascended in glory as our victory
CCC 56-64, 220, 715, 762, 1965: the history of the covenants

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

CCC 557-560: Christ’s entry into Jerusalem
CCC 602-618: the Passion of Christ
CCC 2816: Christ’s kingship gained through his death and Resurrection
CCC 654, 1067-1068, 1085, 1362: the Paschal Mystery and the liturgy

Thursday of the Lord’s Supper

CCC 1337-1344: the institution of the Eucharist
CCC 1359-1361: Eucharist as thanksgiving
CCC 610, 1362-1372, 1382, 1436: Eucharist as sacrifice
CCC 1373-1381: the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist
CCC 1384-1401, 2837: Holy Communion
CCC 1402-1405: the Eucharist as the pledge of glory
CCC 611, 1366: institution of the priesthood at the Last Supper

Friday of the Passion of the Lord

CCC 602-618, 1992: the Passion of Christ
CCC 612, 2606, 2741: the prayer of Jesus
CCC 467, 540, 1137: Christ the High Priest
CCC 2825: Christ’s obedience and ours

EASTER (APR 4 - MAY 16)

Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

CCC 638-655, 989, 1001-1002: the Resurrection of Christ and our resurrection
CCC 647, 1167-1170, 1243, 1287: Easter, the Lord’s Day
CCC 1212: the Sacraments of Initiation
CCC 1214-1222, 1226-1228, 1234-1245, 1254: Baptism
CCC 1286-1289: Confirmation
CCC 1322-1323: Eucharist

Second Sunday of Easter

CCC 448, 641-646: appearances of the risen Christ
CCC 1084-1089: sanctifying presence of the risen Christ in the liturgy
CCC 2177-2178, 1342: the Sunday Eucharist
CCC 654-655, 1988: our new birth in the Resurrection of Christ
CCC 976-983, 1441-1442: “I believe in the forgiveness of sins”
CCC 949-953, 1329, 1342, 2624, 2790: communion in spiritual goods

Third Sunday of Easter

CCC 1346-1347: the Eucharist and the experience of the disciples at Emmaus
CCC 642-644, 857, 995-996: the apostles and disciples as witnesses of the Resurrection
CCC 102, 601, 426-429, 2763: Christ the key to interpreting all Scripture
CCC 519, 662, 1137: Christ, our Advocate in heaven

Fourth Sunday of Easter

CCC 754, 764, 2665: Christ the Shepherd and Gate
CCC 553, 857, 861, 881, 896, 1558, 1561, 1568, 1574: Pope and bishops as shepherds
CCC 874, 1120, 1465, 1536, 1548-1551, 1564, 2179, 2686: priests as shepherds
CCC 756: Christ the cornerstone
CCC 1, 104, 239, 1692, 1709, 2009, 2736: we are God’s children now

Fifth Sunday of Easter

CCC 2746-2751: Christ’s prayer at the Last Supper
CCC 736, 737, 755, 787, 1108, 1988, 2074: Christ is the vine, we are the branches
CCC 953, 1822-1829: charity

Sixth Sunday of Easter

CCC 2746-2751: Christ’s prayer at the Last Supper
CCC 214, 218-221, 231, 257, 733, 2331, 2577: God is love
CCC 1789, 1822-1829, 2067, 2069: love of God and neighbor fulfills the Commandments
CCC 2347, 2709: friendship with Christ

The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

CCC 659-672, 697, 792, 965, 2795: the Ascension

Seventh Sunday of Easter

CCC 2746-2751: Christ’s prayer at the Last Supper
CCC 2614, 2741: Jesus prays for us
CCC 611, 2812, 2821: Jesus’ prayer sanctifies us, especially in the Eucharist

SOLEMNITIES & FEASTS (MAY 23 - JUN 6)

The Solemnity of Pentecost

CCC 696, 726, 731-732, 737-741, 830, 1076, 1287, 2623: Pentecost
CCC 599, 597,674, 715: apostolic witness on Pentecost
CCC 1152, 1226, 1302, 1556: the mystery of Pentecost continues in the Church
CCC 767, 775, 798, 796, 813, 1097, 1108-1109: the Church, communion in the Spirit

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

CCC 202, 232-260, 684, 732: the mystery of the Trinity
CCC 249, 813, 950, 1077-1109, 2845: the Trinity in the Church and her liturgy
CCC 2655, 2664-2672: the Trinity and prayer
CCC 2205: the family as an image of the Trinity

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

CCC 790, 1003, 1322-1419: the Holy Eucharist
CCC 805, 950, 2181-2182, 2637, 2845: the Eucharist and the communion of believers
CCC 1212, 1275, 1436, 2837: the Eucharist as spiritual food

The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

CCC 210-211, 604: God’s mercy
CCC 430, 478, 545, 589, 1365, 1439, 1825, 1846: Christ’s love for all
CCC 2669: the Heart of Christ worthy of adoration
CCC 766, 1225: the Church born from the pierced side of Christ
CCC 1432, 2100: Christ’s love moves our hearts

ORDINARY TIME (JUN 13 -AUG 29)

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 543-546: announcing the Kingdom of God
CCC 2653-2654, 2660, 2716: the Kingdom grows by hearing the Word

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 423, 464-469: Jesus, true God and true Man
CCC 1814-1816: faith as gift of God, and human response
CCC 671-672: maintaining faith in adversity

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 548-549, 646, 994: Jesus raises the dead
CCC 1009-1014: death transformed by Christ
CCC 1042-1050: hope for a new heaven and a new earth

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 2581-2584: prophets and conversion of heart
CCC 436: Christ as prophet
CCC 162: perseverance in faith
CCC 268, 273, 1508: power is made perfect in weakness

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 1506-1509: disciples share in Christ’s healing mission
CCC 737-741: Church called to proclaim and bear witness
CCC 849-856: origin and scope of the Church’s mission
CCC 1122, 1533: mission-mindedness
CCC 693, 698, 706, 1107, 1296: the Holy Spirit as God’s guarantee and seal
CCC 492: Mary as a unique example of being chosen before the foundation of the world

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 2302-2306: Christ our peace
CCC 2437-2442: witnesses and workers for peace and justice

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 1335: the miracle of the loaves and fishes prefigures the Eucharist
CCC 814-815, 949-959: sharing of gifts in the communion of the Church

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 1333-1336: Eucharistic signs of bread and wine
CCC 1691-1696: life in Christ

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 1341-1344: “Do this in memory of me”
CCC 1384-1390: take and eat: Communion

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 1402-1405: the Eucharist, pledge of future glory
CCC 2828-2837: the Eucharist is our daily bread
CCC 1336: scandal

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 796: the Church as the Bride of Christ
CCC 1061-1065: God’s utter fidelity and love
CCC 1612-1617, 2360-2365: marriage in the Lord

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 577-582: Christ and the Law
CCC 1961-1974: the Old Law and the Gospel

ORDINARY TIME (SEPT 5 -NOV 21)

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 1503-1505: Christ the Physician
CCC 1151-1152: signs used by Christ; sacramental signs
CCC 270-271: the mercy of God

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 713-716: the path of the Messiah traced out in the “Servant Songs”
CCC 440, 571-572, 601: Jesus suffered and died for our salvation
CCC 618: our participation in Christ’s sacrifice
CCC 2044-2046: good works manifest faith

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 539, 565, 600-605, 713: Christ, obedient Servant of God
CCC 786: to serve is to reign
CCC 1547, 1551: priestly ministry as service
CCC 2538-2540: the sin of envy
CCC 2302-2306: safeguarding peace

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 821, 1126, 1636: ecumenical dialogue
CCC 2445-2446, 2536, 2544-2547: the danger of immoderate riches
CCC 1852: jealousy

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 1602-1617, 1643-1651, 2331-2336: conjugal fidelity
CCC 2331-2336: divorce
CCC 1832: fidelity, a fruit of Spirit
CCC 2044, 2147, 2156, 2223, 2787: the fidelity of the baptized

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 101-104: Christ, unique Word of Scripture
CCC 131-133: Scripture in life of the Church
CCC 2653-2654: Scripture as a fountain of prayer
CCC 1723, 2536, 2444-2447: poverty of heart

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 599-609: Christ’s redemptive death in the plan of salvation
CCC 520: Christ’s self-emptying as an example for us to imitate
CCC 467, 540, 1137: Christ the High Priest

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 547-550: Jesus performed messianic signs
CCC 1814-1816: faith, a gift of God
CCC 2734-2737: filial confidence in prayer

Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 2083: commandments as a call for a response of love
CCC 2052, 2093-2094: the first commandment
CCC 1539-1547: holy orders in the economy of salvation

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 519-521: Christ gave his life for us
CCC 2544-2547: poverty of heart
CCC 1434, 1438, 1753, 1969, 2447: almsgiving
CCC 2581-2584: Elijah and conversion of heart
CCC 1021-1022: the particular judgment

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 1038-1050: the Last Judgment; hope of a new heaven and a new earth
CCC 613-614, 1365-1367: Christ’s one perfect sacrifice and the Eucharist

Solemnity of Christ the King: Christ the origin and goal of history

CCC 440, 446-451, 668-672, 783, 786, 908, 2105, 2628: Christ as Lord and King
CCC 678-679, 1001, 1038-1041: Christ as Judge
CCC 2816-2821: “Thy Kingdom Come”

Below you will find paragraphs from the Catechism of the Catholic Church which are in light grey boxes and have been identified by the Homiletic Directory as paragraphs which rsonate with the biblical readings for this Sunday. They were chosen either because they cite or allude to the specific readings, or because they treat topics found in the readings. 

CCC 557-560

Christ’s entry into Jerusalem

Jesus’ ascent to Jerusalem

✅ 557 “When the days drew near for him to be taken up [Jesus] set his face to go to Jerusalem.”304 By this decision he indicated that he was going up to Jerusalem prepared to die there. Three times he had announced his Passion and Resurrection; now, heading toward Jerusalem, Jesus says: “It cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.”305

558 Jesus recalls the martyrdom of the prophets who had been put to death in Jerusalem. Nevertheless he persists in calling Jerusalem to gather around him: “How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!”306 When Jerusalem comes into view he weeps over her and expresses once again his heart’s desire: “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes.”307

Jesus’ messianic entrance into Jerusalem

✅ 559 How will Jerusalem welcome her Messiah? Although Jesus had always refused popular attempts to make him king, he chooses the time and prepares the details for his messianic entry into the city of “his father David”.308 Acclaimed as son of David, as the one who brings salvation (Hosanna means “Save!” or “Give salvation!”), the “King of glory” enters his City “riding on an ass”.309 Jesus conquers the Daughter of Zion, a figure of his Church, neither by ruse nor by violence, but by the humility that bears witness to the truth.310 And so the subjects of his kingdom on that day are children and God’s poor, who acclaim him as had the angels when they announced him to the shepherds.311 Their acclamation, “Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord”,312 is taken up by the Church in the “Sanctus” of the Eucharistic liturgy that introduces the memorial of the Lord’s Passover.

✅ 560 Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem manifested the coming of the kingdom that the King-Messiah was going to accomplish by the Passover of his Death and Resurrection. It is with the celebration of that entry on Palm Sunday that the Church’s liturgy solemnly opens Holy Week.

CCC 602-618

The Passion of Christ

“Jesus handed over according to the definite plan of God”

599 Jesus’ violent death was not the result of chance in an unfortunate coincidence of circumstances, but is part of the mystery of God’s plan, as St. Peter explains to the Jews of Jerusalem in his first sermon on Pentecost: “This Jesus [was] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.”393 This Biblical language does not mean that those who handed him over were merely passive players in a scenario written in advance by God.394

600 To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. When therefore he establishes his eternal plan of “predestination”, he includes in it each person’s free response to his grace: “In this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.”395 For the sake of accomplishing his plan of salvation, God permitted the acts that flowed from their blindness.396

“He died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures”

601 The Scriptures had foretold this divine plan of salvation through the putting to death of “the righteous one, my Servant” as a mystery of universal redemption, that is, as the ransom that would free men from the slavery of sin.397 Citing a confession of faith that he himself had “received”, St. Paul professes that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures.”398 In particular Jesus’ redemptive death fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy of the suffering Servant.399 Indeed Jesus himself explained the meaning of his life and death in the light of God’s suffering Servant.400 After his Resurrection he gave this interpretation of the Scriptures to the disciples at Emmaus, and then to the apostles.401

“For our sake God made him to be sin”

✅ 602 Consequently, St. Peter can formulate the apostolic faith in the divine plan of salvation in this way: “You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers. . . with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake.”402 Man’s sins, following on original sin, are punishable by death.403 By sending his own Son in the form of a slave, in the form of a fallen humanity, on account of sin, God “made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”404

603 Jesus did not experience reprobation as if he himself had sinned.405 But in the redeeming love that always united him to the Father, he assumed us in the state of our waywardness of sin, to the point that he could say in our name from the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”406 Having thus established him in solidarity with us sinners, God “did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all”, so that we might be “reconciled to God by the death of his Son”.407

God takes the initiative of universal redeeming love

✅ 604 By giving up his own Son for our sins, God manifests that his plan for us is one of benevolent love, prior to any merit on our part: “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.”408 God “shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”409

605 At the end of the parable of the lost sheep Jesus recalled that God’s love excludes no one: “So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”410 He affirms that he came “to give his life as a ransom for many”; this last term is not restrictive, but contrasts the whole of humanity with the unique person of the redeemer who hands himself over to save us.411 The Church, following the apostles, teaches that Christ died for all men without exception: “There is not, never has been, and never will be a single human being for whom Christ did not suffer.”412

Christ’s whole life is an offering to the Father

✅ 606 The Son of God, who came down “from heaven, not to do [his] own will, but the will of him who sent [him]”,413 said on coming into the world, “Lo, I have come to do your will, O God.” “And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”414 From the first moment of his Incarnation the Son embraces the Father’s plan of divine salvation in his redemptive mission: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.”415 The sacrifice of Jesus “for the sins of the whole world”416 expresses his loving communion with the Father. “The Father loves me, because I lay down my life”, said the Lord, “[for] I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.”417

607 The desire to embrace his Father’s plan of redeeming love inspired Jesus’ whole life,418 for his redemptive passion was the very reason for his Incarnation. And so he asked, “And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour.”419 And again, “Shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?”420 From the cross, just before “It is finished”, he said, “I thirst.”421

“The Lamb who takes away the sin of the world”

✅ 608 After agreeing to baptize him along with the sinners, John the Baptist looked at Jesus and pointed him out as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”.422 By doing so, he reveals that Jesus is at the same time the suffering Servant who silently allows himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sin of the multitudes, and also the Paschal Lamb, the symbol of Israel’s redemption at the first Passover.423 Christ’s whole life expresses his mission: “to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”424

Jesus freely embraced the Father’s redeeming love

✅ 609 By embracing in his human heart the Father’s love for men, Jesus “loved them to the end”, for “greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”425 In suffering and death his humanity became the free and perfect instrument of his divine love which desires the salvation of men.426 Indeed, out of love for his Father and for men, whom the Father wants to save, Jesus freely accepted his Passion and death: “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.”427 Hence the sovereign freedom of God’s Son as he went out to his death.428

At the Last Supper Jesus anticipated the free offering of his life

✅ 610 Jesus gave the supreme expression of his free offering of himself at the meal shared with the twelve Apostles “on the night he was betrayed”.429 On the eve of his Passion, while still free, Jesus transformed this Last Supper with the apostles into the memorial of his voluntary offering to the Father for the salvation of men: “This is my body which is given for you.” “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”430

611 The Eucharist that Christ institutes at that moment will be the memorial of his sacrifice.431 Jesus includes the apostles in his own offering and bids them perpetuate it.432 By doing so, the Lord institutes his apostles as priests of the New Covenant: “For their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.”433

The agony at Gethsemani

✅ 612 The cup of the New Covenant, which Jesus anticipated when he offered himself at the Last Supper, is afterwards accepted by him from his Father’s hands in his agony in the garden at Gethsemani,434 making himself “obedient unto death”. Jesus prays: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. . .”435 Thus he expresses the horror that death represented for his human nature. Like ours, his human nature is destined for eternal life; but unlike ours, it is perfectly exempt from sin, the cause of death.436 Above all, his human nature has been assumed by the divine person of the “Author of life”, the “Living One”.437 By accepting in his human will that the Father’s will be done, he accepts his death as redemptive, for “he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.”438

Christ’s death is the unique and definitive sacrifice

✅ 613 Christ’s death is both the Paschal sacrifice that accomplishes the definitive redemption of men, through “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”,439 and the sacrifice of the New Covenant, which restores man to communion with God by reconciling him to God through the “blood of the covenant, which was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”.440

614 This sacrifice of Christ is unique; it completes and surpasses all other sacrifices.441 First, it is a gift from God the Father himself, for the Father handed his Son over to sinners in order to reconcile us with himself. At the same time it is the offering of the Son of God made man, who in freedom and love offered his life to his Father through the Holy Spirit in reparation for our disobedience.442

Jesus substitutes his obedience for our disobedience

✅ 615 “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”443 By his obedience unto death, Jesus accomplished the substitution of the suffering Servant, who “makes himself an offering for sin“, when “he bore the sin of many”, and who “shall make many to be accounted righteous”, for “he shall bear their iniquities”.444 Jesus atoned for our faults and made satisfaction for our sins to the Father.445

Jesus consummates his sacrifice on the cross

✅ 616 It is love “to the end”446 that confers on Christ’s sacrifice its value as redemption and reparation, as atonement and satisfaction. He knew and loved us all when he offered his life.447 Now “the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.”448 No man, not even the holiest, was ever able to take on himself the sins of all men and offer himself as a sacrifice for all. The existence in Christ of the divine person of the Son, who at once surpasses and embraces all human persons, and constitutes himself as the Head of all mankind, makes possible his redemptive sacrifice for all.

617 The Council of Trent emphasizes the unique character of Christ’s sacrifice as “the source of eternal salvation”449 and teaches that “his most holy Passion on the wood of the cross merited justification for us.”450 And the Church venerates his cross as she sings: “Hail, O Cross, our only hope.”451

Our participation in Christ’s sacrifice

✅ 618 The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the “one mediator between God and men”.452 But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, “the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery” is offered to all men.453 He calls his disciples to “take up [their] cross and follow [him]”,454 for “Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that [we] should follow in his steps.”455 In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries.456 This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering.457

Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.458
CCC 2816

Christ’s kingship gained through his death and Resurrection

“THY KINGDOM COME”

2816 In the New Testament, the word basileia can be translated by “kingship” (abstract noun), “kingdom” (concrete noun) or “reign” (action noun). The Kingdom of God lies ahead of us. It is brought near in the Word incarnate, it is proclaimed throughout the whole Gospel, and it has come in Christ’s death and Resurrection. The Kingdom of God has been coming since the Last Supper and, in the Eucharist, it is in our midst. The kingdom will come in glory when Christ hands it over to his Father:

It may even be . . . that the Kingdom of God means Christ himself, whom we daily desire to come, and whose coming we wish to be manifested quickly to us. For as he is our resurrection, since in him we rise, so he can also be understood as the Kingdom of God, for in him we shall reign.86

2817 This petition is “Marana tha,” the cry of the Spirit and the Bride: “Come, Lord Jesus.”

Even if it had not been prescribed to pray for the coming of the kingdom, we would willingly have brought forth this speech, eager to embrace our hope. In indignation the souls of the martyrs under the altar cry out to the Lord: “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?” For their retribution is ordained for the end of the world. Indeed as soon as possible, Lord, may your kingdom come!87

2818 In the Lord’s Prayer, “thy kingdom come” refers primarily to the final coming of the reign of God through Christ’s return.88 But, far from distracting the Church from her mission in this present world, this desire commits her to it all the more strongly. Since Pentecost, the coming of that Reign is the work of the Spirit of the Lord who “complete[s] his work on earth and brings us the fullness of grace.”89

2819 “The kingdom of God [is] righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”90 The end-time in which we live is the age of the outpouring of the Spirit. Ever since Pentecost, a decisive battle has been joined between “the flesh” and the Spirit.91

 

Only a pure soul can boldly say: “Thy kingdom come.” One who has heard Paul say, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies,” and has purified himself in action, thought and word will say to God: “Thy kingdom come!”92

2820 By a discernment according to the Spirit, Christians have to distinguish between the growth of the Reign of God and the progress of the culture and society in which they are involved. This distinction is not a separation. Man’s vocation to eternal life does not suppress, but actually reinforces, his duty to put into action in this world the energies and means received from the Creator to serve justice and peace.93

2821 This petition is taken up and granted in the prayer of Jesus which is present and effective in the Eucharist; it bears its fruit in new life in keeping with the Beatitudes.94

654, 1067-1068, 1085, 1362

The Paschal Mystery and the liturgy

THE MEANING AND SAVING SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RESURRECTION

651 “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”521 The Resurrection above all constitutes the confirmation of all Christ’s works and teachings. All truths, even those most inaccessible to human reason, find their justification if Christ by his Resurrection has given the definitive proof of his divine authority, which he had promised.

652 Christ’s Resurrection is the fulfillment of the promises both of the Old Testament and of Jesus himself during his earthly life.522 The phrase “in accordance with the Scriptures”523 indicates that Christ’s Resurrection fulfilled these predictions.

653 The truth of Jesus’ divinity is confirmed by his Resurrection. He had said: “When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he.”524 The Resurrection of the crucified one shows that he was truly “I AM”, the Son of God and God himself. So St. Paul could declare to the Jews: “What God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.'”525 Christ’s Resurrection is closely linked to the Incarnation of God’s Son, and is its fulfillment in accordance with God’s eternal plan.

654 The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life. This new life is above all justification that reinstates us in God’s grace, “so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”526 Justification consists in both victory over the death caused by sin and a new participation in grace.527 It brings about filial adoption so that men become Christ’s brethren, as Jesus himself called his disciples after his Resurrection: “Go and tell my brethren.”528 We are brethren not by nature, but by the gift of grace, because that adoptive filiation gains us a real share in the life of the only Son, which was fully revealed in his Resurrection.

655 Finally, Christ’s Resurrection – and the risen Christ himself is the principle and source of our future resurrection: “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. . . For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”529 The risen Christ lives in the hearts of his faithful while they await that fulfillment . In Christ, Christians “have tasted. . . the powers of the age to come”530 and their lives are swept up by Christ into the heart of divine life, so that they may “live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”531


Why the liturgy?

1066 In the Symbol of the faith the Church confesses the mystery of the Holy Trinity and of the plan of God’s “good pleasure” for all creation: the Father accomplishes the “mystery of his will” by giving his beloved Son and his Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world and for the glory of his name.1

Such is the mystery of Christ, revealed and fulfilled in history according to the wisely ordered plan that St. Paul calls the “plan of the mystery”2 and the patristic tradition will call the “economy of the Word incarnate” or the “economy of salvation.”

1067 “The wonderful works of God among the people of the Old Testament were but a prelude to the work of Christ the Lord in redeeming mankind and giving perfect glory to God. He accomplished this work principally by the Paschal mystery of his blessed Passion, Resurrection from the dead, and glorious Ascension, whereby ‘dying he destroyed our death, rising he restored our life.’ For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth ‘the wondrous sacrament of the whole Church.”‘3 For this reason, the Church celebrates in the liturgy above all the Paschal mystery by which Christ accomplished the work of our salvation.

1068 It is this mystery of Christ that the Church proclaims and celebrates in her liturgy so that the faithful may live from it and bear witness to it in the world:

For it is in the liturgy, especially in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, that “the work of our redemption is accomplished,” 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 Church.4

What does the word liturgy mean?

1069 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.”5 Through the liturgy Christ, our redeemer and high priest, continues the work of our redemption in, with, and through his Church.

1070 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.6 In all of these situations it is a question of the service of God and neighbor. In a liturgical celebration the Church is servant in the image of her Lord, the one “leitourgos“;7 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 celebration, 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.8

CHRIST’S WORK IN THE LITURGY

Christ glorified . . .

1084 “Seated at the right hand of the Father” and pouring out the Holy Spirit on his Body which is the Church, Christ now acts through the sacraments he instituted to communicate his grace. The sacraments are perceptible signs (words and actions) accessible to our human nature. By the action of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit they make present efficaciously the grace that they signify.

1085 In the liturgy of the Church, it is principally his own Paschal mystery that Christ signifies and makes present. During his earthly life Jesus announced his Paschal mystery by his teaching and anticipated it by his actions. When his Hour comes, he lives out the unique event of history which does not pass away: Jesus dies, is buried, rises from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father “once for all.”8 His Paschal mystery is a real event that occurred in our history, but it is unique: all other historical events happen once, and then they pass away, swallowed up in the past. The Paschal mystery of Christ, by contrast, cannot remain only in the past, because by his death he destroyed death, and all that Christ is – all that he did and suffered for all men – participates in the divine eternity, and so transcends all times while being made present in them all. The event of the Cross and Resurrection abides and draws everything toward life.

. . . from the time of the Church of the Apostles . . .

1086 “Accordingly, just as Christ was sent by the Father so also he sent the apostles, filled with the Holy Spirit. This he did so that they might preach the Gospel to every creature and proclaim that the Son of God by his death and resurrection had freed us from the power of Satan and from death and brought us into the Kingdom of his Father. But he also willed that the work of salvation which they preached should be set in train through the sacrifice and sacraments, around which the entire liturgical life revolves.”9

1087 Thus the risen Christ, by giving the Holy Spirit to the apostles, entrusted to them his power of sanctifying:10 they became sacramental signs of Christ. By the power of the same Holy Spirit they entrusted this power to their successors. This “apostolic succession” structures the whole liturgical life of the Church and is itself sacramental, handed on by the sacrament of Holy Orders.

. . . is present in the earthly liturgy . . .

1088 “To accomplish so great a work” – the dispensation or communication of his work of salvation – “Christ is always present in his Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the Sacrifice of the Mass not only in the person of his minister, ‘the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross,’ but especially in the Eucharistic species. By his power he is present in the sacraments so that when anybody baptizes, it is really Christ himself who baptizes. He is present in his word since it is he himself who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read in the Church. Lastly, he is present when the Church prays and sings, for he has promised ‘where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them.”‘11

1089 “Christ, indeed, always associates the Church with himself in this great work in which God is perfectly glorified and men are sanctified. The Church is his beloved Bride who calls to her Lord and through him offers worship to the eternal Father.”12

. . . which participates in the liturgy of heaven

1090 “In the earthly liturgy we share in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the Holy City of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle. With all the warriors of the heavenly army we sing a hymn of glory to the Lord; venerating the memory of the saints, we hope for some part and fellowship with them; we eagerly await the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, until he, our life, shall appear and we too will appear with him in glory.”13


The sacrificial memorial of Christ and of his Body, the Church

✅ 1362 The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ’s Passover, the making present and the sacramental offering of his unique sacrifice, in the liturgy of the Church which is his Body. In all the Eucharistic Prayers we find after the words of institution a prayer called the anamnesis or memorial.

1363 In the sense of Sacred Scripture the memorial is not merely the recollection of past events but the proclamation of the mighty works wrought by God for men.184 In the liturgical celebration of these events, they become in a certain way present and real. This is how Israel understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Passover is celebrated, the Exodus events are made present to the memory of believers so that they may conform their lives to them.

1364 In the New Testament, the memorial takes on new meaning. When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ’s Passover, and it is made present the sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present.185 “As often as the sacrifice of the Cross by which ‘Christ our Pasch has been sacrificed’ is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out.”186

1365 Because it is the memorial of Christ’s Passover, the Eucharist is also a sacrifice. The sacrificial character of the Eucharist is manifested in the very words of institution: “This is my body which is given for you” and “This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood.”187 In the Eucharist Christ gives us the very body which he gave up for us on the cross, the very blood which he “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”188

1366 The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and because it applies its fruit:

[Christ], our Lord and God, was once and for all to offer himself to God the Father by his death on the altar of the cross, to accomplish there an everlasting redemption. But because his priesthood was not to end with his death, at the Last Supper “on the night when he was betrayed,” [he wanted] to leave to his beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice (as the nature of man demands) by which the bloody sacrifice which he was to accomplish once for all on the cross would be re-presented, its memory perpetuated until the end of the world, and its salutary power be applied to the forgiveness of the sins we daily commit.189

1367 The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: “The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.” “And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner. . . this sacrifice is truly propitiatory.”190

1368 The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of the Church. The Church which is the Body of Christ participates in the offering of her Head. With him, she herself is offered whole and entire. She unites herself to his intercession with the Father for all men. In the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body. The lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer, and work, are united with those of Christ and with his total offering, and so acquire a new value. Christ’s sacrifice present on the altar makes it possible for all generations of Christians to be united with his offering.

In the catacombs the Church is often represented as a woman in prayer, arms outstretched in the praying position. Like Christ who stretched out his arms on the cross, through him, with him, and in him, she offers herself and intercedes for all men.

1369 The whole Church is united with the offering and intercession of Christ. Since he has the ministry of Peter in the Church, the Pope is associated with every celebration of the Eucharist, wherein he is named as the sign and servant of the unity of the universal Church. The bishop of the place is always responsible for the Eucharist, even when a priest presides; the bishop’s name is mentioned to signify his presidency over the particular Church, in the midst of his presbyterium and with the assistance of deacons. The community intercedes also for all ministers who, for it and with it, offer the Eucharistic sacrifice:

Let only that Eucharist be regarded as legitimate, which is celebrated under [the presidency of] the bishop or him to whom he has entrusted it.191Through the ministry of priests the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful is completed in union with the sacrifice of Christ the only Mediator, which in the Eucharist is offered through the priests’ hands in the name of the whole Church in an unbloody and sacramental manner until the Lord himself comes.192

1370 To the offering of Christ are united not only the members still here on earth, but also those already in the glory of heaven. In communion with and commemorating the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, the Church offers the Eucharistic sacrifice. In the Eucharist the Church is as it were at the foot of the cross with Mary, united with the offering and intercession of Christ.

1371 The Eucharistic sacrifice is also offered for the faithful departed who “have died in Christ but are not yet wholly purified,”193 so that they may be able to enter into the light and peace of Christ:

Put this body anywhere! Don’t trouble yourselves about it! I simply ask you to remember me at the Lord’s altar wherever you are.194Then, we pray [in the anaphora] for the holy fathers and bishops who have fallen asleep, and in general for all who have fallen asleep before us, in the belief that it is a great benefit to the souls on whose behalf the supplication is offered, while the holy and tremendous Victim is present. . . . By offering to God our supplications for those who have fallen asleep, if they have sinned, we . . . offer Christ sacrificed for the sins of all, and so render favorable, for them and for us, the God who loves man.195

1372 St. Augustine admirably summed up this doctrine that moves us to an ever more complete participation in our Redeemer’s sacrifice which we celebrate in the Eucharist:

This wholly redeemed city, the assembly and society of the saints, is offered to God as a universal sacrifice by the high priest who in the form of a slave went so far as to offer himself for us in his Passion, to make us the Body of so great a head. . . . Such is the sacrifice of Christians: “we who are many are one Body in Christ” The Church continues to reproduce this sacrifice in the sacrament of the altar so well-known to believers wherein it is evident to them that in what she offers she herself is offered.196
Fr. Clement Thibodeau

We have been redeemed by Christ

Echoing God’s Word (Portland Diocese)
Used with permission.

St. Paul says that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3). We are in the habit of saying that we have been redeemed by Christ. The root meaning of redemption suggests that a price was paid for our salvation. We were “bought at a great price.” The notion that something enormously valuable had to be given so that we might be saved lies behind all this language.

Sin was and is a fact in human existence. Sin stands as a barrier between God and us. Such was the great chasm between heaven and earth after the sin of Adam that it could not be bridged by any human endeavor. Not even the multiple sacrifices of the Jewish era could effectively reconcile sinful humanity with the eternal holy God. Christ, who was both God and man, brought about the reconciliation in his very humanity and divinity and by his perfect obedience to the Father in his death on the Cross.

Christians have formulated a rather complex set of beliefs concerning the effect of the death and resurrection of Christ on our salvation. One of the “fundamentals” for Fundamentalist Protestants consists in what they call “substitutionary atonement” for sin; that is, the belief that Christ’s death was accepted by God as a substitute for our death, which was due to us because of sin.

In the Catholic tradition, salvation is more direct and forceful. We do not use the language of substitution. Through faith and baptism, we have been grafted on to the Vine which is Christ. The life of holiness by which he lived has been imparted to us, and we have been made holy. We have been inserted into the body of the Church which is the body of Christ. As members of his body, we live by the divine energy that made his earthly body live. By the death and resurrection of Christ, we have been saved from eternal damnation. The merits of Christ are communicated to those who believe through faith and the sacraments of the Church. The servant of the Lord is open to God’s word. In baptism, we die to sin and are raised to new life in Christ. In the celebration of the Eucharist, we enter into Christ’s sacrifice where his body and blood are “given for our salvation.”

The reality of Jesus’ human nature makes his death on the cross a true sacrifice offered willingly on our behalf. We enter into that sacrifice by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the word of holy Scripture and in the celebration of the sacraments. Our salvation flows from the cross of Christ like water flowing from the side of the crucified Lord.

SOURCE: © 2017 Portland Diocese / Father Clement D. Thibodeau. Used with permission.


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