Not much has changed for the congregation during the reading from Scripture which takes place in the Liturgy of the Word; the one exception is that instead of saying "Glory to you, Lord" just before the Gospel begins to be read, we will say "Glory to you, O Lord" (a change probably made for the sake of rhythm).After saying the acclamation “The Gospel of the Lord,” the priest or deacon lifts the open Book of the Gospels to his mouth and kisses it. Venerating the Book of the Gospels with a kiss is a very ancient tradition, done first of all because of the special status that the Gospels have among all the Scriptures. The Gospel is a special “point of contact” with the Lord (like the altar, which is also kissed).
For the priest and deacon, however, there are prayers that are changing. These prayers happen to be said quietly, but it is important for the congregation to be aware of the quiet prayers of the priest and to know what those prayers ask for, so that the congregation can derive spiritual benefit from them.
There are two changes around the reading of the Gospel: the blessing before the Gospel (in the previous column), and the prayer after the Gospel (in this column).
After having venerating the Gospel in this way, the priest or deacon prays quietly:
Through the words of the Gospel Rom 1:16; Eph 1:13The wording of this prayer has changed slightly, from “May the words of the gospel wipe away our sins” to “Through the words of the Gospel may our sins be wiped away”. The new translation more closely corresponds to the Latin, but that is not the only difference.
may our sins be wiped away. Acts 3:19
The prayer evokes the words of St. Peter on the second occasion of his preaching to Jews after having received the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Peter and John cured a man just outside the Temple who had been born crippled. This attracted the attention of many Jews who were there to pray, and as a crowd formed, St. Peter preached a summary of the Gospel to them. In the middle of his sermon he exhorted them, “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out.” (Acts 3:19)
It is not the words of the Gospel themselves that wipe away sin; rather, our sins are blotted out when we take to heart the saving message of the Gospel. The words of the Gospel are not a sacrament, as are Baptism and Confession which do blot out our sins. However, the words of the Gospel can be regarded as a sort of sacramental, in the sense that they “prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it.” (Catechism 1670)