Papal Address Before the Angelus

We Are All the Man Born Blind, Says John Paul II

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 10, 2002 ( Following is a translation of John Paul II´s address before he led the midday Angelus for the pilgrims in St. Peter´s Square.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. «Laetare, Jerusalem …» With these words of the prophet Isaiah, the Church invites us to rejoice today, midway in our penitential Lenten journey. Joy and light are the dominant theme in today´s liturgy. The Gospel recounts the story of «a man blind from his birth» (John 9:1). Seeing him, Jesus made clay with spittle and anointed the man´s eyes with the clay, saying to him: «´Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam´ (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing» (John 9:6-7).

The man born blind represents the man marked by sin, who wishes to know the truth about himself and his own destiny, but is impeded by a congenital malady. Only Jesus can cure him: He is «the light of the world» (John 9:5). By entrusting oneself to him, every human being, spiritually blind from birth, has the possibility of «coming to the light» again, that is, to supernatural life.

2. Along with the healing of the blind man, the Gospel highlights the incredulity of the Pharisees, who refuse to acknowledge the miracle, given that Jesus effected it on the sabbath, violating in their judgment the Mosaic law. Thus, an eloquent paradox emerges, which Christ himself summarizes with these words: «I came into this world, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind» (John 9:39).

For whomever encounters Christ, there is no other way: Either one recognizes one´s need of him and of his light, or one chooses to ignore him. In the latter case, the same presumption impedes both the one who thinks he is just before God, as well as the one who considers himself an atheist, to be open to an authentic conversion.

3. May no one, dear brothers and sisters, close their spirit to Christ! He gives the light of faith to the one who receives him, light that is able to transform hearts and, consequently, mentalities, social, political and economic situations dominated by sin. «… I do believe, Lord!» (John 9:38). With the man born blind, may each one of us be ready to humbly profess our own adherence to him.

May the Holy Virgin obtain this for us, who is totally pervaded by the radiance of divine grace.

[translation by ZENIT]

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