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Through the Eyes of Jesus View Comments
By Father Roger Vermalen Karban

Was Jesus’s public ministry prompted solely by his desire to get all of us into heaven—or did he have something more in mind for his followers? Having studied and taught Scripture for over forty-five years, I’m convinced Jesus is as interested in our lives now as he is about where we’re going to spend eternity. In fact, he links the two.

This conviction was powerfully reinforced by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons’s book, The Invisible Gorilla (Crown Publishing Group).

Had this book been written 2,000 years ago, I think Jesus would certainly have made its first chapter required reading for all his followers. It may help readers to understand the faith and teachings of Jesus more than any book besides Scripture itself.

Technically, the opening chapter has nothing directly to do with faith. It’s simply a scientific exploration of a basic human question: What do we actually see when we’re looking at something immediately in front of us?

The two psychologist-authors discovered that we see only the object on which our eyes actually focus. By nature, we miss much of what else is directly within our field of vision. No one sees everything. Those who presume they can or do are badly mistaken. For those who doubt that statement, the authors offer many individuals who never saw what to others was obvious.

More than twelve years ago, Chabris and Simons conducted an experiment (available on YouTube) in which they asked people to count the number of passes made by a specific basketball team. As the players were throwing the ball back and forth, a young girl in a gorilla outfit appeared, threading her way among the players, in full view of anyone watching the action.

After the passes stopped, the viewers were asked: How many passes did their team make? And did you notice the gorilla walking among the players while they were making the passes?

Almost everyone gave the correct number of passes; but more than half never saw the gorilla! This book has spoken to so many people and situations that it has already been translated into fourteen languages with another four in progress.

Surprising as the authors’ findings are, they have a great deal to do with our faith.

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Father Roger Vermalen Karban was ordained in 1964 for the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois. He writes a column for several newspapers and a website on the Sunday Scripture.

Thank you for your comments. Editors will review all posts before they are visible on the website.

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John Paul II: “Open wide the doors to Christ,” urged John Paul II during the homily at the Mass when he was installed as pope in 1978. <br /><br />Born in Wadowice, Poland, Karol Jozef Wojtyla had lost his mother, father and older brother before his 21st birthday. Karol’s promising academic career at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. While working in a quarry and a chemical factory, he enrolled in an “underground” seminary in Kraków. Ordained in 1946, he was immediately sent to Rome where he earned a doctorate in theology. <br /><br />Back in Poland, a short assignment as assistant pastor in a rural parish preceded his very fruitful chaplaincy for university students. Soon he earned a doctorate in philosophy and began teaching that subject at Poland’s University of Lublin. <br /><br />Communist officials allowed him to be appointed auxiliary bishop of Kraków in 1958, considering him a relatively harmless intellectual. They could not have been more wrong! <br /><br />He attended all four sessions of Vatican II and contributed especially to its <em>Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World</em>. Appointed as archbishop of Kraków in 1964, he was named a cardinal three years later. <br /><br />Elected pope in October 1978, he took the name of his short-lived, immediate predecessor. Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. In time, he made pastoral visits to 124 countries, including several with small Christian populations. <br /><br />He promoted ecumenical and interfaith initiatives, especially the 1986 Day of Prayer for World Peace in Assisi. He visited Rome’s Main Synagogue and the Western Wall in Jerusalem; he also established diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel. He improved Catholic-Muslim relations and in 2001 visited a mosque in Damascus, Syria. <br /><br />The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, a key event in John Paul’s ministry, was marked by special celebrations in Rome and elsewhere for Catholics and other Christians. Relations with the Orthodox Churches improved considerably during his ministry as pope. <br /><br />“Christ is the center of the universe and of human history” was the opening line of his 1979 encyclical, <em>Redeemer of the Human Race</em>. In 1995, he described himself to the United Nations General Assembly as “a witness to hope.” <br /><br />His 1979 visit to Poland encouraged the growth of the Solidarity movement there and the collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe 10 years later. He began World Youth Day and traveled to several countries for those celebrations. He very much wanted to visit China and the Soviet Union but the governments in those countries prevented that. <br /><br />One of the most well-remembered photos of his pontificate was his one-on-one conversation in 1983 with Mehmet Ali Agca, who had attempted to assassinate him two years earlier. <br /><br />In his 27 years of papal ministry, John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals and five books, canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people. <br /><br />In the last years of his life, he suffered from Parkinson’s disease and was forced to cut back on some of his activities. <br /><br />Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Paul II in 2011, and Pope Francis canonized him in 2014. American Catholic Blog Lord, may I have balance and measure in everything—except in Love. —St. Josemaría Escrivá

 
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