Reading in a Passionate Voice

I get that the mass readings and Gospels are read and not necessarily proclaimed. But wouldn’t it be nice to have some oomph behind the words or placement of emphasis on certain words?

This past Sunday this was on my mind as I listened to the readings and I pretended that Martin Luther King Jr was saying it like how he sounded during his “I have a dream” speech.

I know that mass is often criticized for being boring. I can often get distracted by monotony in someone’s voice or when I hear different songs/prayers chanted rather than sung with emotion. I get that it can be said with reverence – prayerfully saying the words; saying it with such respect for God that I fear we often lose all emotion other than “respect”.

Where is the passionate voice?

Was Jesus’ ministry just him in monotone speaking these words? Did He not have passion in his voice? Did he not long to inspire hearts and minds?


We know that Jesus is passionate from when he turns those out of the temple. We know he is willing to stand up to the elders and tell them how they are wrong. I think we forget some of Jesus’ humanness when we just speak his words as “His words” and fail to put any emotion or urgency behind them. We need to speak and hear them as he would have spoken them.

Even if those reading at mass continue to read with reverential voice I need to listen with an ear that hears the passion and longing, and urgency, contained within them.

Were not Jesus’ disciples also impassioned and longing to spread the Good News? Would they not have proclaimed the Good News in attempts to inspire?

Hear these words – not as monotone – but from the lips of a disciple, speaking to those who were wondering and considering giving up following Judaic ways and being brave enough to step out in faith to believe that Jesus was/is the Christ. How else to add 3,000 in one day than to speak with passion?

Can you not see Peter standing in front of the large crowd, the passion palpable in his voice, as he shouted to those willing to hear?…

Peter said to them,
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is made to you and to your children
and to all those far off,
whomever the Lord our God will call.”
He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them,
“Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
-Acts 2: 38-40

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