Photo illustration by Phil Younk
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Open your eyes, heart to Jesus

Based on Jer 31:7-9; Heb 5:1-6; Mk 10:46-52

Burnt orange. Fiery red. Tawny gold. Golden yellow. Rusty brown. The leaves have been turning beautiful colors. Squirrels are stashing nuts for winter. Pumpkins, scarecrows, Indian corn and cornstalks are decorating yards and homes. Have you noticed them? What if you couldn’t see?

In this Sunday’s Gospel, we learn about Bartimaeus, a blind man from Jericho. Because he couldn’t see, he was unable to work and had to beg for money to take care of himself. As he sat by the roadside begging, he heard from people that Jesus of Nazareth was coming.

He started shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” People scolded him, telling him to be quiet. Bartimaeus shouted all the more.

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

The people near Bartimaeus said, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”

Excitedly, Bartimaeus sprang up and threw off his ragged cloak. Some people helped him walk over to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.

Bartimaeus answered, “Master, I want to see.”

Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”

Immediately, Bartimaeus could see. He saw trees, flowers, birds, people – and Jesus! Grateful and happy, he joined the crowd following Jesus on the road to Jerusalem.

Bartimaeus followed Jesus because not only his eyes, but his heart had been opened by God’s love for him.

Because of his faith, Bartimaeus could “see” with his heart that Jesus is truly the Son of God. Bartimaeus is the only person healed by Jesus who is recorded by name in Mark’s Gospel – suggesting that he became an active disciple of Jesus in the early church.

Thank Jesus for your gift of sight, and beautiful colors and signs of autumn. Just as Jesus called Bartimaeus, he calls us to come to him. Just as Bartimaeus threw off his ragged cloak so he could get to Jesus, we must “throw off” anything – bad habits – that keep us from being loving, forgiving, caring, helpful and faithful followers of Jesus.

Jesus, open our eyes and our hearts. Help us to see you, to know you and to follow you.