Skip to content

Pope Francis issues a challenge to the consecrated: 'Put Christ in the midst of people'

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

By Hannah Brockhaus (CNA/EWTN News)
2/3/2017 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (

Pope Francis speaks to the consecrated in special homily.

Everyone, but especially consecrated men and women, Pope Francis said Thursday, are called to be leaven in the world, bringing Christ to the people -- even when it seems like the work goes unnoticed, or there is another who would do a better job.

The consecrated are called to be the leaven in the bread, to put Christ in the midst of people.

The consecrated are called to be the leaven in the bread, to put Christ in the midst of people.


Vatican City, Feb 2, 2017 / 11:24 am (CNA/EWTN News) -- "The Lord has called us to be leaven here and now, with the challenges we face. Not on the defensive or motivated by fear, but with our hands on the plough, helping the wheat to grow, even though it has frequently been sown among weeds," he taught during his homily at a Feb. 2 Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

The Mass celebrated the feast of the Presentation of the Lord and marked the 21st World Day of
Consecrated Life.

Pope Francis said the calling of consecrated women and men is to put Christ "in the midst of people," not acting as some sort of religious activist, but as "men and women who are constantly forgiven, men and women anointed in baptism and sent to share that anointing and the consolation of God with everyone."

Addressing the potential doubts and fears people may have, Francis said "all of are aware of the multicultural transformation we are experiencing; no one doubts this."

But "it is all the more important for consecrated men and women to be one with Jesus, in their lives and in the midst of these great changes. Our mission -- in accordance with each particular charism -- reminds us that we are called to be a leaven in this dough," he said.

"Putting Jesus in the midst of his people means having a contemplative heart, one capable of discerning how God is walking through the streets of our cities, our towns and our neighborhoods."

"Putting Jesus in the midst of his people," he continued, "means taking up and carrying the crosses of our brothers and sisters. It means wanting to touch the wounds of Jesus in the wounds of a world in pain, which longs and cries out for healing."

Referring to the day's Gospel reading about Mary and Joseph's presentation of Christ in the temple, he said that the words of Simeon and Anna were not full of self-absorption or an analysis of their personal situations.

Instead, their "song" was "born of hope, the hope that sustained them in their old age. That hope was rewarded when they encountered Jesus."

Just as Mary placed Christ before Simeon and Anna to hold and to see, consecrated women and men are called to bring Christ to the people and areas they serve.

Sometimes, Pope Francis said, we can fall prey to a temptation of "survival," a mentality that can take root within people and within communities which turns them into "reactionaries, fearful, slowly and silently shutting ourselves up in our houses and in our own preconceived notions."

It makes us look back, "to the glory days -- days that are past," instead of working to rekindle the dreams and creativity present in our founders. A "survival mentality robs our charisms of power" by trying to make them more safe and more palatable to the modern world, he explained.

Moreover, the Pope said "the temptation of survival makes us forget grace" by turning us "into professionals of the sacred but not fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters of that hope to which we are called to bear prophetic witness."

This attitude is not limited to the consecrated life, he said, but "we in particular are urged not to fall into it."

Referring to the Introduction to the Entrance Procession in the Roman Missal, the Pope said that today's liturgy tells us that when Christ was presented in the temple, that rite, forty days after his birth, "outwardly was fulfilling the Law, but in reality he was coming to meet his believing people."

"This encounter of God with his people brings joy and renews hope," he said. "Whenever Mary puts Jesus in the midst of his people, they encounter joy."

"For this alone will bring back our joy and hope, this alone will save us from living in a survival mentality. Only this will make our lives fruitful and keep our hearts alive: putting Jesus where he belongs, in the midst of his people."

This "hymn of hope" sung by Simeon and Anna is something we have inherited, we are "part of this process," Francis said. In the founders of the different orders, "In their faces, in their lives, in their daily sacrifice we were able to see how this praise was embodied," he explained.

"We are heirs to those who have gone before us and had the courage to dream. Like them, we too want to sing, --God does not deceive; hope in him does not disappoint.' God comes to meet his people."


'Help Give every Student and Teacher FREE resources for a world-class Moral Catholic Education'

Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK


More Vocations

Latest Vocation News

In Rochester, moms' group prays for vocations to come from among their families Watch

Image of Candles

A newly-formed group of Catholic mothers in Rochester, New York has committed to praying regularly for the flourishing of vocations from ... continue reading

Write zero-tolerance into canon law says abuse survivor Watch

Image of

Canon law should be re-written to institute a global zero-tolerance policy against priests who commit sexual abuse, a clerical abuse ... continue reading

Global rosary for vocations happening now! Watch

Image of

Marian shrines in more than 50 countries throughout world will join in a 24-hour rosary initiative on Friday to intercede for and honor the ... continue reading

Prayer is the first part of missionary work Watch

Image of

Every Christian is called to be a missionary through prayer, working in collaboration with the Holy Spirit, who gives prayer efficacy, Pope ... continue reading

Vatican asks nuns: less social media, more contemplation Watch

Image of The Church encourages social media, but with sobriety and discretion, and in moderation.

The Vatican has asked nuns to spend less time on social media and more time in prayer and contemplation. The request follows consultation ... continue reading

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.