The Gospel of Luke describes Jesus reading the Scripture in the synagogue at Nazareth. In the tradition of Israel, it was his custom to join the assembly for the proclamation of the word of God, what we commonly call the Old Testament. That day in Nazareth, Jesus was the “reader,” fulfilling an important task in the liturgical life of his people. From the earliest days of the Church the proclamation of the word – fulfilled in the Word-made-flesh and the inspired writings of the New Testament – was an essential part of community life and soon was always connected with the Eucharistic celebration.
In time the Church instinctively associated certain passages from the Sacred Scriptures with the celebration of particular events of salvation history (like the Resurrection or the Birth of Jesus) or seasons (like the pre-Easter preparation for Baptism that we now know as Lent). This “order of readings” became what we now call the Lectionary for Mass. The Lectionary – always treasured by the Church – was significantly expanded by the Second Vatican Council in order to permit more of the biblical texts to be heard in public proclamation. This has given us the three-year Lectionary cycle for Sundays and the two-year cycle for weekdays.
Today – in the tradition of Jesus himself – liturgical readers have the privilege and responsibility of sharing the word of God with the people of God.
The Lord God has given me a well-trained tongue, that I may know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. (Isaiah 50:4)
Reading at weekday and weekend Masses is one of the most important ways in which the laity can participate in the liturgy of the Church. We have many readers but new Ministers of the Word are always welcome.
The Liturgy of the Word is a privileged encounter with the Risen Lord. Ministers of the Word assist this encounter. It is our mission to paint the Word of God onto the human heart and mind. Paint slowly for a full and even coating. Lay Ministers were introduced into the parish in the 1980’s. We have an active reader’s ministry within our parish currently there are 26 ministers who read at both the daily Masses and the weekend Masses.
May the Lord be in my heart and on my lips that I may worthily proclaim the good news of salvation