Fifteen years ago, Pope (now Saint) John Paul II made a brief appearance at the window of the tenth floor of the Gemelli Polyclinic. It was the Fourth Sunday of Lent, and not long before his death.

He said: ‘Together let us continue our preparation for Easter, offering our sufferings to God for the good of humanity and for our own purification. In today’s Gospel, as he cures the man born blind, Christ presents himself as “the light of the world”. He came to open human eyes to the light of faith. Yes, dear friends, faith is the light that guides us on our way through life, it is the flame that comforts us in difficult times. … May Mary Most Holy help us to obtain from Christ the gift of an ever stronger and clearer faith, so that we may be consistent and courageous witnesses of his Gospel’.

The rose vestments worn today remind us that today is ‘Refreshment Sunday’, when the Lenten disciplines are lightened and we gather ourselves to journey along the path of the Passion. It is an altogether strange experience in this time of ‘Eucharistic deprivation’, but we trust in the Lord who is with us ‘till the close of the age’.

May God bless you and keep you this day.