Glossary – L

Lake of Galilee

Also called the Sea of Galilee and the Sea of Tiberius this large body of water is formed by the River Jordan. The lake is unusual in that its surface is 212 metres below sea level. At 166 sq. metres it is about the same area as Lake Pukaki or twice the size of Lake Rotorua. The ministry of Jesus was centred around the Lake of Galilee. Important events in the Gospels occur on or about the Lake, e.g. the calling of the four apostles (Luke 5:1-11), the calming of the storm (Matthew 8:23-27), the appearance of the risen Jesus to the disciples on the shore (John 21:1ff). This view from space shows the Lake of Galilee and some of the key places we hear about in the Bible.

Last Supper

A term for the final meal Jesus celebrated with his disciples on the night before his death. The Gospel accounts of this meal vary in detail, but all contain the words spoken over the bread and wine by Christ indicating that these are changed into his Body and Blood. This foreshadows his voluntary offering of himself on the Cross the next day. The Church believes that by his actions at the Last Supper Christ instituted the Eucharist and instructed his followers to “do this in memory of me” (Luke 22:19 and 1 Cor. 11:26).


A moveable desk or stand used to support the Scriptures during the celebration of the Liturgy. It is usually found to one side of the altar, and is the focal point of the Liturgy of the Word.


The lectionary is the book containing the scripture chosen for public reading at the celebration of the Eucharist according to the liturgical calendar.


From a Middle English word meaning ‘springtime’ (in the Northern Hemisphere), the term Lent denotes a period of forty days of fasting, prayer and almsgiving in preparation for Easter.


Levi was the name of one of the 12 sons of Jacob and one of the 12 Tribes of Israel. Levites were members of this tribe which is referred to as a priestly tribe. Moses was a Levite (Ex 2:1).

Liturgical Year (N.1168-73)

Known also as the ‘Liturgical Cycle’ or the ‘Church Year’. The Liturgical Year is the pattern of seasons and feast days which occurs each year and is celebrated mainly in the liturgy or official public worship of the Church. In the liturgical year the various aspects of the one Paschal Mystery unfold. For ‘although the sacred liturgy is principally the worship of the divine majesty it likewise contains much instruction for the faithful’ (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy – Vatican II – N.33). The seasons are Lent, Easter, Advent and Christmas, and the major feasts are those associated with these seasons and with the life of Christ, Mary, the Saints, and the Church. The periods that fall outside the seasons are known as Ordinary Time.

Liturgy (N.1066-1074)

From the Greek leitourgia meaning public work or public service, this term in Christian tradition came to mean the official public worship of the Church. In the liturgy all the faithful are caught up with Christ in his priestly office in celebration of his saving work. Although applied primarily to the celebration of the Eucharist, the term liturgy includes other official rites and prayers of the Church, such as the rites of the sacraments and the Liturgy of the Hours. The Second Vatican Council in a famous phrase referred to the liturgy as “the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the font from which all her power flows” (S.C.10).

Liturgy of the Eucharist (N.1346)

This may refer to:

  1. the whole Mass, the Sacrament of the Eucharist or,
  2. the second major part of the Mass which follows the Liturgy of the Word and includes the Preparation of the Gifts, the Eucharistic Prayer and the Communion Rite.
Liturgy of the Word (N.1346-1349)

This is one of the major parts of the Mass. It includes everything from the first reading to the Prayer of the Faithful. At the Sunday Eucharist there are three readings. The first reading (from the Old Testament except in the Easter Season when it is taken from the Acts of the Apostles) is followed by the singing of part of a Psalm and then a second reading from one of the Letters or the Book of Revelation. A Gospel acclamation then precedes the Gospel reading which is followed by the homily, the Creed and the Prayer of the Faithful. The Liturgy of the Word is preceded by the Entrance Rite and followed by the Liturgy of the Eucharist.


See entry for Kyrios