Catholics do, of course, know about Jesus. They know who He is, how He died, and that He rose again, which are key elements in the Gospel. But do they know Him?
I can only speak for myself here, so I will do that. I did not know Jesus when I was a Catholic, either as a child, or later as an adult.
God the Father is revealed through the Son, the Son is revealed through the Word, and the Word is revealed through the Holy Spirit.
The Catholic church does indeed reveal the Father through the Son. Jesus as the Son of God is taught. There is no doubt in my mind that any Catholic with a brainwave knows who Jesus is. Therefore, they know of the Father.
But do they know the Father? The Father is revealed through the Son, who is revealed through the Word. The only way you can know what is in the Word is to be in the Word yourself.
God’s work from His creation to our redemption is recorded in the Bible, which was written by men under the inspiration (literally, “God-breath”) and guidance of the Holy Spirit. As Paul said:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV)
So the Bible is God’s book about God’s plan to redeem God’s creation written under God’s inspiration by God’s people of old for God’s people throughout the ages, even unto this present age. Understanding this, is it any wonder that the Bible cannot be understood without God’s guidance?
In my adult Catholic life, I decided that I was going to read the Bible cover to cover, as though it were a novel. I had received a very nice bound Bible from my aunt at my confirmation nearly 15 years before, which had never been out of the box.
So one day I decided that I was going to read it front to back to see what was in it. It was a King James Version (I’ll pause here to wait for the Baptists to stop laughing at the concept of a Catholic trying to get through Leviticus in the KJV—if you’ve tried that, you know where I’m coming from).
No matter what the translation, it’s a good bet that if you’ve ever tried to read the Bible like that, you probably made it about 1/3 of the way through. If you did manage to get through the Pentatuech (the first five books), then you probably got bogged down somewhere in Chronicles and gave up.
Obviously, the Bible wasn’t meant to be read this way. Even in a modern-day, prose-like paraphrase such as Eugene Peterson’s The Message, you’re still going to struggle with the “thick parts” near the beginning. Unless you’re an architect, you’re probably not going to find much life application in the pages describing all the dimensions and details of the tabernacle or the temple.
(For an easier method, come back for Part 3: Holy Spirit)