Listening to the Proclaimed Word
Those receiving the proclaimed Word in the congregation need to develop the habit of listening attentively to the proclamation. This habit can be improved by developing attention skills – for example, by listening to the proclaimed Word and not reading the text at the same time from a book or leaflet.
By all means, in preparation, read the texts at home – but not during the Liturgy. It’s even a bit of an insult to the one giving the proclamation to read it for yourself at the same time.
Some say they also need to read the text at the same time to maintain their attention and to reach a better understanding of the message. Again, it is largely a matter of habit or manners: one can train oneself to listen attentively with comprehension.
When the reader proclaims well, let your appreciation be reflected in your eyes and faces. If the opportunity arises, compliment the reader on a ministry well exercised. If the reader, through her or his expression, has enabled a new insight into the scriptures to come to you, talk about this with others and see that the good news gets back to the reader, with gratitude.
Many readers have probably had the experience of trying to communicate to an apparently apathetic congregation. When everyone looks bored, or far away in some dreamland, it’s hard for the reader to be enthusiastic in the ministry of proclamation.
If a reader looks at a congregation and sees glazed eyes as if there is nobody home behind the blank faces, how do you think the reader might feel. (This blank-trance phenomenon is probably much more common in large congregations, than in small ones! Perhaps there is a message in that?)