“Our perception of things is affected by what we expect to see.”

The Dancing Bear?

Did you see the dancing bear?

There is a certain type of video that is popular on the internet. It is an awareness test or a perception test. In a typical video you will see two teams, one dressed in white and one dressed in black. As the two teams begin to weave in and out and around each other, you are asked to count the number of times the team in white passes the ball.

You focus on the team in white, carefully counting the numbers of times the players pass the ball to each other as they constantly move around the players dressed in black who are doing the same thing.

At the end of the video the number of passes is given and you pat yourself on the back for getting it right or shrug for having missed one or two. But then a question comes on the screen, “did you see the dancing bear?”

“There was a dancing bear?” you think to yourself.

Sure enough, as the video is played back, there is clearly a man dressed in a black bear costume dancing across the screen from one side to the other. How could you miss him? Easy, you weren’t looking for him.

As you focused on the players in white, your mind filtered out the players dressed in black. So when a man in a black bear costume dances across the scene, your mind dismisses it as irrelevant to the task of focusing on the players in white.

What Are We Looking for?

Our perception of things is affected by what we expect to see.

The Jewish people in first century Jerusalem were looking for a Messiah that would come as a conquering king, defeating the Romans and delivering God’s people from the yoke of oppression. They were not looking for a humble rabbi who spoke of the love, and mercy and grace of God.

As Christians we interpret all of scripture, including the entire Old Covenant, the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, in the light of the resurrected Christ. Jesus is the suffering servant, raised from the dead and glorified.

Road to Emmaus, Robert Zund, 1877, public domain

It was Jesus Himself who taught us to see things in a different light, to refocus our attention on the things that mattered. It was Jesus who opened the minds of the apostles so that they may understand the scriptures. And it is this understanding that has been handed down to us through the Magisterium and Tradition.

It was a lack of understanding, an ignorance that led to the death of the Lord. And it is this ignorance that still keeps people from everlasting light.

Because we have such a powerful advocate with the Father, we still may turn around and repent our sins. Christ died for the expiation not only of our sins but for those of the whole world. With that repentance a conversion of heart is required. To choose to remain in ignorance is to live in contradiction and not in the Truth

Today we receive the great commission from God, to preach the Good News that through repentance, sins are forgiven. We are called to go out and show the world the dancing bear.

Pax Vobiscum