In the Gospel for Oct. 23, Jesus restores sight to the blind Bartimaeus. Jesus says to Bartimaeus, “Go your way. Your faith has saved you.” Immediately Bartimaeus receives his sight and follows Jesus on the way. His encounter with Jesus makes Bartimaeus a changed man. He is a new person.

When animals are born, or very shortly thereafter, there is an “imprinting” that takes place, so that the newborn recognizes its mom, like ducklings who follow their mother no matter what, even across a busy highway.

You may have also seen on TV how the caretakers of young panda bears wear panda costumes, or the caretakers of condors use condor puppets as visual cues for the infant birds.

Bartimaeus receives his sight and what he sees first (we can assume) is Jesus.

Jesus has given him new life. Jesus says to “Go your way.”

Like ducklings that follow Momma Duck, Bartimaeus follows Jesus on his way.

Bartimaeus sees the physical Jesus, but he also sees Jesus with eyes of faith. There is a spiritual imprinting. He identifies his life with Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life.

He chooses to follow Jesus, who is headed up from Jericho to Jerusalem, where he will suffer, die and on the third day rise from the dead.

Bartimaeus follows Jesus, the Good Shepherd. As the Good Shepherd guides, protects and nourishes his sheep, so does Jesus for his disciples.

The sheep recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd as well as recognizing him visually.

We need to realize this imprinting in our lives, so, like Bartimaeus, we recognize Jesus as the one to follow, no matter what.

Parents want their infants to achieve imprinting, to recognize Mom and Dad visually, and by voice and touch and smell.

It is also important to help our children and grandchildren actualize this imprinting with Jesus, so that they recognize Jesus and follow him, too.

Fr. Donoghue, trained in science, is pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Southeast Portland.