In the document on the Liturgy from the Second Vatican Council, the bishops wanted to promote a warm and living love for Scripture. God’s Word is the source of all life. When we refer to the use of Scripture in Mass we don’t say that the Word of God is “read” but we use the word “Proclaim”. The Word of God is proclaimed. Through the proclamation of the living Word of God in the midst of the assembly we are enabling those assembled to consciously and deliberately take on the role of listener. As Margaret writes, “ the community is called to listen. Without listeners there is no living Word. Through genuine listening – listening with the ear of the heart- we open ourselves to the life-giving Word. When we do not listen, we close ourselves to the power of the Spirit who heals us, enabling us to grow and transform our lives.”
As we hear in this Sunday’s Gospel reading, Peter and the Sons of Zebedee left everything and followed Jesus to spread the Good News. Through our baptism this is what we are all called to do, to proclaim the Good News to all creation. The lay ministry of Reader enables us to do this in a special way. Pope Paul VI says: “Let the reader be aware of the office he has undertaken and make every effort and employ suitable means to acquire that increasingly warm and living love and knowledge of scripture.” We realise that the Ministry of Reader is not just about getting up on Sunday or during the week and reading out aloud the scripture passages but it becomes a God-given ministry, a response to God’s call which brings about our daily conversion – we come to realise that as readers we are God’s instruments- God is speaking his Word through us. We can say the true task of the reader is to enable the Word to become alive and active in those who listen. This is why it is essential for anyone involved in the Ministry of Reader to prepare for their task. First by prayer. A good practise is to look at the reading that we are going to proclaim during the week before Sunday and prayerfully read it, and reflect on it. We also need to remember “the human voice is one of the most remarkable and beautiful instruments that we have.” We need to know how to manage our voice in relation to the style of the text, the size of the church, the number of people and the microphone which we will be using.” (Margaret Rizza.)
I would like to thank all those involved in this important Ministry of Reader and ask all Readers to put in your diary our Reader’s Day on 20th March 2019 in St Thomas Hall. 10am till 1pm.