By Archbishop Michael Jackels
The word Gospel is derived from the Old English words meaning, good news, in reference to how God shows unconditional, unbounded love in the person, teachings, and saving deeds of Jesus.
In preparation for the reading of the Gospel, we stand and sing Alleluia, which comes from the Hebrew words meaning, Praise to you, God! This is a joyful acclamation, praising God for the words of Jesus we are about to hear.
Before the Gospel is read, we trace the Sign of the Cross on our forehead, our lips, and over our heart. This is an unspoken prayer, that our minds will be open to hear the teaching of Jesus, that with our lips we will speak of it to others, and that we will take it to heart and put it into action.
The importance of the Gospel for the life of Christians is shown at Holy Mass in various ways, for example: the gospel readings are collected in a special book, which is carried in procession to the sanctuary, and which is reverenced with incense and by kissing the book after the reading.