“to read the Gospel is to find Jesus"

Praying with the Gospel

Pope Francis often suggests that we should read the Gospel every day. He says, “to read the Gospel is to find Jesus …”. On one occasion he asked:
Do we take a little time each day to listen to Jesus, to listen to Jesus’ word? Do we have the Gospels at home? … I suggest that each day you take a few minutes and read a nice passage of the Gospel and hear what happens there.

[Pope Francis, Morning Homily, 16 March 2014]  

A good way of doing this is to read the Gospel set aside by the Catholic Church for the daily Mass on weekdays and Sundays.

(There are numerous websites providing the daily Gospel. We refer to two of these below.)

Pope Francis is not speaking about skimming or speed reading the Gospel. He says, “take a little time each day to listen to Jesus”.

Although there is no set way to do this, the following ideas can be helpful.

1. Set aside a definite period of time

Find 10 or 15 minutes to listen to Jesus in the Gospel. Since most of us tend to be creatures of habit, it can be good idea to do this at the same time each day.  

2. Find a place.

Find somewhere silent and quiet where you can be alone with Jesus and listen to him speaking in the Gospel without distractions. 

3. Be comfortable.

Sit in an easy chair, or in a more upright position, or even on the floor. There is no set position, it is a personal choice, although maybe you should not be so comfortable you fall asleep! That said, Pope Francis once admitted:

“When I pray, sometimes I fall asleep, St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus did that too ….” 

4. Read the Gospel 

Read slowly, thinking about the words as you go. Sometimes it can be good to read aloud. Remember Pope Francis’ words: “to read the Gospel is to find Jesus …”. As you read, you are listening for Jesus speaking directly to you in the Gospel. 

As you read, if a sentence or phrase, or just one word strikes you, appeals to you or says something to you – stop and reflect on it. 

Sometimes it is good to try to imagine the scene.

Imagine the event, the lake, the hills, the village, the synagogue, the crowd, the sick person, the adulterous woman, the two thieves on the cross, the tax collector, the prostitute, the meal at Zacchaeus’ house, etc.

It can also be good try to put yourself in the scene.

Imagine yourself as one of the disciples, part of the crowd, or as someone Jesus is speaking to or curing. Imagine how you would have felt as Jesus was speaking or curing someone.

Sometimes asking yourself questions can help.

What did Jesus do?

What did Jesus say to the crowd, to the scribes and Pharisees, to his disciples?

If I had been there, what would Jesus say to me? 

Does anything Jesus said or did apply to my life?

Right here and now, what is Jesus saying to me?

Often it is valuable to read the passage again as you try to hear Jesus speaking in it. 

5. Talk to Jesus.

After you have listened to Jesus in the Gospel passage, it is important to spend a few moments talking to him about those things that appealed to you or touched you.

Thank Jesus for his words and ask his help to take his words with you throughout the day and to put them into practice. 

If one sentence, phrase or word from the Gospel moved you, it is a good idea to take that word with you and repeat it occasionally during the day. 

Advice from Pope Francis

Pope Francis, in one of his morning homilies in 2015, gave a beautiful description of how he prays with the Gospel. 

5 Minute Gospel Reflection

To help you listen to Jesus in the daily Gospel you might also read the daily Gospel reflection which you can find HERE.

5 Minute Gospel Podcast

You can also listen to the 5 Minute Gospel Podcast available each day with the text of the reflection.

Find the Daily Gospel Here


The readings on this site are from the Jerusalem Bible, which is used at daily Mass in most of the English-speaking world. CLICK HERE 

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

The readings on this site are from the New American Bible, which are used at daily Mass in the United States. CLICK HERE 

Praying with Scripture

'Lectio Divina' and 'Gospel Contemplation' are two ways to pray with the Gospel.

Fr. Leonhardt SJ explains these two forms of prayer for those new to the practices. Visit the Site