LAITY: The faithful who, having been incorporated into Christ through Baptism, are made part of the people of God, the Church. The laity participate in their own way in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly functions of Christ. Laity are distinguished from clergy (who have received Holy Orders) and those in consecrated life (897).
LAST JUDGMENT: See Judgment.
LAST SUPPER: The last meal, a Passover supper, which Jesus ate with his disciples the night before he died. Jesus’ passing over to his Father by his death and Resurrection, the new Passover, is anticipated in the Last Supper and celebrated in the Eucharist, which fulfills the Jewish Passover and anticipates the final Passover of the Church in the glory of the kingdom. Hence the Eucharist is called “the Lord’s Supper” (610-611, 1329, 1340).
LATIN RITE: The traditions of liturgy, laws, and practice in the Church in the West, as distinct from the rites and practices of the churches of the East (1203).
LAW, MORAL: A rule of conduct established by competent authority for the common good. In biblical terms, the moral law is the fatherly instruction of God, setting forth the ways which lead to happiness and proscribing those which lead to evil. The divine or eternal law can be either natural or revealed (positive). Natural moral law is inscribed in the heart, and known by human reason. Revealed law is found in the ancient law (Old Testament), notably the ten commandments, and in the new law (Law of the Gospel), the teaching of Christ, notably the Sermon on the Mount, which perfects the ancient law (1950-1974).
LECTIONARY/LECTOR: The official, liturgical book (lectionary) from which the reader (lector) proclaims the Scripture readings used in the Liturgy of the Word (1154).
LENT: The liturgical season of forty days which begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with the celebration of the Paschal Mystery (Easter Triduum). Lent is the primary penitential season in the Church’s liturgical year, reflecting the forty days Jesus spent in the desert in fasting and prayer (540, 1095, 1438).
LIFE: Both God’s gift of created human life and His divine life given to us as sanctifying grace. Beyond its ordinary meaning of human life, Jesus used “life” to signify a share in his own divine Trinitarian existence, which becomes possible for those who respond to his invitation to turn away from sin and open their hearts to God’s abiding love. Eternal life signifies that this gift will last forever in the blessedness of heaven. This gift of God begins with the “life” of faith and “new life” of Baptism (1225), is communicated in sanctifying grace (1997), and reaches perfection in the communion of life and love with the Holy Trinity in heaven (1023).
LITURGICAL YEAR: The celebration throughout the year of the mysteries of the Lord’s birth, life, death, and Resurrection in such a way that the entire year becomes a “year of the Lord’s grace.” Thus the cycle of the liturgical year and the great feasts constitute the basic rhythm of the Christian’s life of prayer, with its focal point at Easter (1168).
LITURGY: In its original meaning, a “public work” or service done in the name of or on behalf of the people. Through the liturgy Christ our High Priest continues the work of our redemption through the Church’s celebration of the Paschal Mystery by which he accomplished our salvation (1067-1069).
LORD: The Old Testament title for God that in speaking or reading aloud was always substituted for the name that was revealed to Moses and that was too holy to be pronounced: Yahweh. The New Testament uses this title both of God the Father and–in a new way–of Jesus, the incarnate Word (209, 446).
LORD’S PRAYER: The title early Christians gave to the prayer which Jesus entrusted to his disciples and to the Church (Mt 6:9-13). This fundamental Christian prayer is also called the “Our Father,” which are its first words (2759).
LOVE: See Charity.