I want to talk about “the obvious.” Obvious is a word we use to describe what is pretty much self-evident. Yet, so much of what is obvious we either miss or regard precisely because it is obvious.
It was quite obvious who You were as You made Your way around Galilee, healing the sick, curing mental and physical handicaps, and performing signs contrary to the laws of nature. But the Scribes, the Pharisees, the religious elders, Your own disciples, and even the apostles continually demanded some sign as to who You were. It was obvious – too obvious to be simply accepted! And we, had we been there, would have been just the same.
We’re almost always like that. We fail to grasp what is meaningfully obvious. In our spiritual endeavors we keep looking for signs of who You are, and we run straight past the obvious. Why does it seem so hard to simply accept what is obvious? Maybe it’s because we mistrust our own judgment.
It really doesn’t matter much whether a story is fact or fiction. We still miss the obvious because ofwhat seems more obvious to us. Our senses miss the truly obvious because they are stimulated by what hits them first. In the stories of creation, the flood, the exodus, David and Goliath, or Jonah, etc., we miss the truth because the surface stories are more obvious. We miss what is most obvious in the Eucharist when we focus only on the bread and wine. All this is to say that our senses can deceive us when it comes to what is meaningfully obvious; and this is an issue with which You seemed very much concerned in Your ministry.
The problem with the human senses is that they jump at what is on the surface, what is easily perceived, or some obviously striking first impression. There is little effort to consider that what is really obvious is what is behind or beneath what we first perceive as obvious. We miss what is genuinely obvious because of the way we process what our senses take in. It is the way of all humans. Therefore, for us, what might be considered a plausible definition for the word “obvious” would be our perception of whatever first jumps out at us. With a minimum of reflection this can be seen as a stumblingblock in the growth of our relationship with You – just as it was with the people of Your time. One great obvious fact is that You love us and wish to draw us to Yourself. Whatever else we perceive about You is not as obvious as this.