Seeing Through the Eyes, Mind & Heart of Jesus

10-24-2021From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

“Leave Jesus alone!” Who would ever say that? That is exactly what people are telling the blind man Bartimaeus in today’s Gospel. (Mark 10:46- 52) Obviously Bartimaeus has heard about Jesus and is reaching out to Him as he is walking by. How sad it is to see people trying to keep him from encountering Jesus. But Bartimaeus persists and Jesus responds: “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus responds, “Master, I want to see!” Jesus’ response is: “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Then the scriptures tell us: “Immediately he received his sight and followed Him on the way.”

Strong faith in Jesus opens our minds and hearts to His goodness, love, mercy, and truth. The immediate response of Bartimaeus to his healing was to follow Jesus “on the way.” Where is the “way” Jesus opens our minds and hearts to see? That vision is made clearer and clearer every day through personal, focused prayer time and our presence in heart, mind, and soul at Sunday Mass. Clarified spiritual vision leads us to wonder, awe, humility, and gratitude. We cannot help but say, “How can God be so good to me?” Do we have the courage to embrace that reality and allow Jesus to see what He sees, say what He says, and do what He does? Jesus does not want us to feel guilty because of past thoughts, words, actions or non actions. He wants us to see the reality and blessing of the words of the Eucharistic Prayers for Various Occasions: “You are indeed Holy and to be glorified, O God, who love the human race and who always walk with us on the journey of life.” In his physical blindness Bartimaeus “saw” the nearness of the presence of Jesus. Do I see Jesus walking with me? Do I want Him walking with me? Our presence at Mass and our time of prayer are a physical sign that we are thankful for such a blessing.

With all the electronic devices in our midst, we are constantly bombarded with spoken and written words. There is good news, bad news, distressing news, terrifying news, and disturbing news. But thank God our faith opens our minds and hearts to the only truly Good News, the loving, merciful presence of Jesus. His last physical journey in this world was the Way of the Cross, a Way walked with unconditional love and mercy. Jesus is the presence of life in the midst of death, destruction, and disappointment. He is the presence of truth in the midst of anger, hatred, and insults. He is he presence of reconciliation in the midst of division, destruction, and revenge. He is the presence of courage in the midst of rejection, lies, and seemingly insurmountable barriers of falsehoods. Do we really want to see ourselves, our lives, our world, our families, and our country through His eyes, mind, and heart?

One of the disturbing reports I read this past week said that as a nation we are in the same mindset with regard to abortion as China and North Korea. Most countries in the world do not allow abortion up to the day of birth. What do we need to see? All people need to see the presence of a unique human life at the moment of conception - a new and precious human being. There will never be peace in our world as long as some lives are expendable. What is clouding our vision? Where do we find the light of truth? May we have the courage of Bartimaeus to plead, “Lord I want to see!!!” I want to see what you see in me and all people.

I close with powerful information from “Imprint,” a publication of the Sisters of Life, in their fall issue. The cover has this simple question: “Who am I?”

Your Beginning in the Womb

First 20 days: Heart and eyes begin to form. Brain, spinal column, and nervous system are quickly developing.

21 Days: Heart begins to beat.

35 Days: Mouth, ears, nose, and limbs are forming.

42 Days: Skeleton is basically formed. Fingers begin to form.

43 Days: Brain waves are detectable.

7 Weeks: Elbows are visible, and eyelids form.

8 Weeks: Except for the lungs, all organs are complete and functioning. Fingerprints begin to develop.

10 Weeks: Baby is sensitive to touch. Baby swallows and makes facial expressions.

12 Weeks: Baby is active in the womb, moving hands and feet.

13 Weeks: Vocal chords are present and external sex organs are apparent.

18 Weeks: Baby begins to hear, and digestive system begins to function.

20 Weeks: Eyebrows are visible.

23 Weeks: Baby can dream (indicated by Rapid Eye Movements (REM))

5 Months: Baby will react negatively to loud noises and respond positively to soft music.

6 Months: Most babies are viable. Fine hair and eyelashes are present.

7 Months: Baby’s eyes can open and close. Baby can recognize mother’s voice.

8 Months: Rapid growth. Weight increases to over four pounds.

9 Months: Baby gains an ounce of weight daily. Hormones from the baby cause labor for his/her mother.