My sisters and brothers!
On this feast of the Presentation of the Lord we observe the day of Consecrated Life. We reflect and pray for sisters, brothers and priests of various orders, congregations and institutes living their lives based on the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Usually it is explained by what our religious renounce but what is important is that the religious vows express the encounter the person has had with Christ. The passage from the Gospel we have for this Mass shows Christ crossing the path of two old people: Simeon and Anna. A person who wants to be a nun, brother or vowed priest has had this experience of Christ crossing his or her path. This encounter is so transforming that the vows cannot be considered as something imposed but as a desire to become like Christ who was chaste, poor and obedient. If you love somebody, you want to become like this person. When Christ comes to you like he came to St Benedict, St Clare, St Francis, St Ignatius Loyola, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and so many others, and your heart is as open as theirs, you give your life to Christ. Then the feelings and desires that filled his sacred heart fill your heart too. You want to do what Christ wants to do. That’s why the nuns I spoke of didn’t feel sorry for themselves because of what was happening to their convent but they were sensitive and responsive to the call of the Lord. What they vowed years ago transformed them so deeply that their wanted to bring God to the lives of others because Christ wants it.
To conclude this homily I would like to ask you to pray for new religious. Our world needs people who can be walking signs of Christ. To those who may be asking if Christ is calling them to this way of life I can say: “Listen to what is in your heart. If the question: “What Christ would do if he were me?” comes often to your mind and you find yourself that you want to do things that will please him, it is a sign that something has happened to you. Christ has crossed your path. If you let it take you further. Christ will transform you according to his sacred heart. Do not be afraid to say: Here I am Lord. I want to follow you in religious life.