On 22 October 1978, the day of the inauguration of his pontificate, St John Paul II spoke these words: ‘All of you who are still seeking God, all of you who already have the inestimable good fortune to believe, and also you who are tormented by doubt: please listen once again, today in this sacred place, to the words uttered by Simon Peter. In those words is the faith of the Church. In those same words is the new truth, indeed, the ultimate and definitive truth about man: the son of the living God— “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”. … So often today man does not know what is within him, in the depths of his mind and heart. So often he is uncertain about the meaning of his life on this earth. He is assailed by doubt, a doubt which turns into despair. We ask you therefore, we beg you with humility and trust, let Christ speak to man. He alone has words of life, yes, of eternal life’.

These words have not lost their freshness and originality in this our day – indeed, in these days of Covid, they have an added relevance. It is true, Christ alone has the words of eternal life, and we so desperately need them.

Let us then – again in St John Paul II’s words – ‘Open wide the doors for Christ’ – that He may enter our hearts and our world, to bring healing and peace. May God bless you this day.