“Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Having focused for several weeks now on prayer as taught to us in the sacred Scriptures, we turn to another precious source of prayer, namely the liturgy. The word “liturgy” in Greek means “work done by the people and for the people”. Here, this “people” is the new People of God, brought into being by Christ, a people which does not exist by itself and which is not bound by blood, territory or country, but is brought into being through the Paschal Mystery.
The liturgy is also the “work of God”. As the Second Vatican Council teaches, it is by means of the liturgy that Christ our Redeemer and High Priest continues the work of our redemption in, with, and through his Church. This is the great marvel of the liturgy: God acts, while we are caught up in his action.
The Council began its work by discussing the liturgy, and rightly so, for the liturgy reminds us of the primacy of God. The fundamental criterion for it is its orientation towards the Father, whose saving love culminates in the death and resurrection of his Son. It is in the liturgy that we “lift up our hearts”, opening ourselves to the word of God as we gather with our brethren in a prayer which rises within us, and which is directed to the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit.
I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present, especially those from England, Scotland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Canada and the United States. Upon all of you, I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace.”