Do Catholics know the Bible?
I remember the first time I heard the Bible at Mass. By that, I don’t mean the first time I heard a Reading from Scripture in the Liturgy of the Word. No, I’m referring to the first time I heard some words from the lips of the priest and thought to myself “Hey, that’s straight from Scripture”.
Now, I knew some of the more prominent features of the liturgy such as the Gloria, Sanctus and Kyrie came from Scripture, but I thought that was pretty much it. It turns out I was very wrong…
So when was the first time I “heard the Bible at Mass”? Well, I was an altar server and went to wash the priest’s hands prior to the Eucharistic prayer. The priest came forward and, as I poured water over his hands, he said the words “Lord, wash away my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin”. I recognized those words! I had been reading through the book of Psalms at the time and recognized the verse from Psalm 51:
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin - Psalm 51:2
After that experience, I began to pay closer attention to the words of the Mass. Again and again I found that virtually everything that was said came from Scripture. In fact, now whenever I have non-Catholic Christians attend Mass with me, I invite them to keep a tally of the number of Scripture quotations or Biblical allusions they hear.
So do Catholics know the Bible? Well, maybe better than they think…