On Wednesday, Pope Francis spoke about the importance of the Liturgy of the Word, and the resulting importance of having lectors who can proclaim the readings and the Responsorial Psalm well.
“We must look for good readers!” he said Jan. 31, in off-the-cuff comments during the general audience.
Good readers and psalmists understand what they are reading and can convey it well, he continued, explaining that they need to be prepared by reading over the text before Mass.
When someone reads well, not “distorting the words,” this helps to create “a climate of receptive silence,” he said, which is important, because “it is not enough to hear with the ears, without receiving in the heart the seed of the divine Word, allowing it to bear fruit.”
On this note, Francis emphasized that it is also important that we are staying focused and listening to the readings with an open heart, not looking around at different things or making chit-chat.
“When they read the words of the Bible – the first reading, the second, the responsorial psalm, the Gospel – we must listen and open our heart,” he said. “Because it is God himself who speaks to us. Do not think about other things or talk about other things.”
Other things which are not appropriate during the Liturgy of the Word are the substitution of a non-Biblical text, or omitting a reading, he said.
Liturgically, when the same readings are proclaimed in each church, it is a way of fostering “ecclesial communion,” he said, and for this reason, it is wrong to make “subjective choices” in this case.
“Replacing that Word with other things impoverishes and compromises the dialogue between God and his people in prayer.”
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