Sometimes it is tempting to go through the motions at Mass, and when we stand for the Gospel, the words spoken go in one ear and out the other.
However, this is an important time of the Mass, as it is when Jesus himself speaks in the Gospel. He is speaking to us in particular and our hearts need to be ready for this encounter.
Dom Prosper Gueranger in his Liturgical Year suggests an attentive attitude when we stand for the Gospel.
You will stand during the Gospel as though you were waiting the orders of your Lord and at the commencement, make the sign of the Cross on your forehead, lips and breast, and then listen to every word of the Priest or Deacon. Let your heart be ready and obedient.
Gueranger then gives two Bible verses that can summarize our attitude and help us stay focused during the Gospel.
“Whilst my beloved was speaking,” says the Spouse in the Canticle of Canticles, “my soul melted within me.” [Song of Songs 5:6]
If you have not such love as this, have at least the humble submission of Samuel and say, “Speak Lord, thy servant heareth.” [1 Samuel 3:9]
The next time you stand at the Gospel, recall to mind one of these Bible verses and be attentive to the words of Jesus that are addressed to you.