“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mk 10: 47).
These are the words of the blind man of Jericho in the Gospel episode proclaimed a few moments ago. They can also become our words: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
O Christ, we fix our gaze on you, who offer every person the fullness of life. Lord, you heal and strengthen those who, trusting in you, accept your will.
Today, during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, athletes throughout the world are gathered here in spirit, above all to renew their faith in you, man’s only Saviour.
And those, like the athlete, who are at the peak of their strength recognize that without you, O Christ, they are inwardly like the blind man, incapable, that is, of seeing the full truth, of understanding the deep meaning of life, especially when faced with the darkness of evil and death.
Even the greatest champion finds himself defenceless before the fundamental questions of life and needs your light to overcome the demanding challenges that a human being is called to face.
Lord Jesus Christ, help these athletes to be your friends and witnesses to your love. Help them to put the same effort into personal asceticism that they do into sports; help them to achieve a harmonious and cohesive unity of body and soul.
May they be sound models to imitate for all who admire them. Help them always to be athletes of the spirit, to win your inestimable prize: an imperishable crown that lasts forever. Amen!
—from the pope’s homily (“Jubilee of Sports People”), October 29, 2000