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Liturgy of The Word-Lector






"The word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).

The word is the communication of God's will. He reveals His word to the prophets who then proclaim it to the people of Israel. He sends wisdom to reveal His mysteries to His beloved chosen people. Wisdom instructs the foolish and brings them to the path of righteousness.

In the New Testament, we hear that the word of God is Jesus, the Son of God. The word of God existed in the beginning. It was communicated to God's people, Israel, throughout their history. Then, in the fullness of time, it was made flesh and dwelt among us.

Jesus proclaimed the word of God in word and deed to those who would listen and changed their hearts. He promised the gift of the Holy Spirit so that the community could remember what He had done and understand what it all meant.


The Church affirmed that this word (the New Testament) and the word of revelation known as the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament) were inspired by the Holy Spirit. She entrusted that word to the community. Some in the community were called to copy and preserve the word, others to study it, others to proclaim it liturgically, others to preach on how to apply it to their lives, etc.

As lectors, you share in the tradition of proclaiming the word to the community. This is not a responsibility to be taken lightly. God has called you to this mission. The Spirit has given you the gift of being able to present the word to the community and, even more important, the gift of being able to discern its meaning for yourself.


Saint Paul speaks about how the Spirit gives these gifts to members of the community. These gifts are called charisms. Everyone has received gifts from the Lord that were given for the good of that community. Not all the gifts are the same. Not everyone has received the same gift. This is important, for it means that we need everyone and their gifts to make the community complete. If we do not allow certain members of the community to share their gifts, we will be subtly rejecting the gifts that the Spirit of God has given to us, and we will be lacking something of what we need to grow in the Spirit.

Your call to be a lector in the community is not your own choice, nor is it the choice of the pastor or committee that invited you to read at Mass. Rather, it is the Spirit who has called you. The Holy Spirit worked in and through various means (the pastor, the committee, the hunger in your own heart that made you volunteer for service, etc.) to bring you to this ministry.

After we have discerned how to respond in the best manner possible to that call, it is not enough to say that if the Spirit called you, the Spirit will provide what is needed. As with all gifts of the Holy Spirit, we must work to perform our ministry well. We are, as St. Paul says in the First Letter to the Thessalonians, God's co-workers. While this is God's work, He has entrusted it to us. It has been said that we must do everything as if it depended upon us, realizing that it all depends upon the Lord.

We have to allow God's word to speak to us. If we are not listening to God's word at the deepest part of our heart, then those who are listening to us will perceive that we are reading and not proclaiming. They will understand without our ever saying it that we really do not believe what we are proclaiming.

This means that we must pray God's word. We have to ask ourselves what this word means for us today. We have to allow the Spirit of God to make it real and alive. Just as the Spirit inspired the sacred authors to write these texts in the first place, so now that same Spirit breathes into our hearts so that we can make the word of God alive again for ourselves and our community.

Every reading and every Gospel should in some way call us to conversion. Become that which you read. Your actions on a daily basis will proclaim loud and clear whether what you are proclaiming on Sunday are "just words" or whether they are words that are like a two-edged sword.

***Permission was obtained for printing of the above excerpts from the Catholic Publishing Company, source The New St. Joseph, Handbook for Proclaimers of the Word, Liturgical Year C, 2016, by Rev. Jude Winkler, O.F.M. Conv.

For further information please contact the Pastor or Coordinator of Lectors at St. Ann Church.