My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
It’s great to be with you this afternoon to consecrate this beautiful church!
Today in this holy Mass we want to thank God for the many people whose hard work and sacrifices helped to build this church in the heart of this great university.
And we ask God to bless this church and all the ministries of this Catholic center. May the Catholic presence on this campus always be a living witness that the Christian faith is the foundation of Western civilization and culture — and the “soul” of any true liberal education.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
We heard these words in our second reading today, from the Letter to the Hebrews.
These words are beautiful. They are also true. Jesus does not change. His Gospel does not change. Jesus told us that heaven and earth would pass away, but his Word would remain.
And his Word is Light and Truth. His Word is Spirit and Life. His Word is the good news that we are children of God.
My brothers and sisters, this is the whole essence of Christianity. And this is something for us to ponder in this Advent season, in this season of preparation and waiting.
What are waiting for in Advent? We are preparing for the arrival of a Child. We are waiting for the Son of God to be born. This is what makes our religion so unique.
The God we worship in this beautiful new church is the God who sent his only beloved Son to be born in a mother’s womb and raised in a human family.
God sent his Son to proclaim the good news to us — that we can follow him and be sons and daughters of God.
Jesus gave his Church the mission of spreading his good news to the ends of the earth. The mission of evangelization. Through the preaching and ministry of his Church, Jesus wants to make all humanity into one family of God — gathered from every nation, people and language.
This beautiful new church that we consecrate today — and all the ministries of this Catholic Center — share in that one mission of evangelization that Jesus entrusted to his Church.
So you have an important responsibility on this campus, my brothers and sisters.
The people of our times are just like the men and women we heard about in today’s first reading, from the Book of Nehemiah. They have restless hearts. They are searching for answers. They long to know the meaning of their lives. They want to know God and his pathway for living.
My brothers and sisters, our mission is to give them an answer. We are the ones who have to lead them to the God who reveals his face in Jesus Christ! We are the ones who are called to proclaim his Gospel to them.
This church has a great name! Our Savior Church. Because Jesus is our only Savior. Only his Truth can set us free.
So in this beautiful church — and in everything we do — let us always ensure that God’s Truth is proclaimed in all its richness and in all its fullness. We need to let his Word be heard! We need to let his Word challenge us and challenge our culture!
Those words that we heard in our second reading should be a caution for us: Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching.
We need to always make sure that we are proclaiming — not our teachings, but God’s teachings. We need to make sure that in everything we do, the living voice of God is what is heard.
My brothers and sisters, Jesus Christ is the only Teacher we need. He gives us a beautiful program for living. Jesus shows us the art of living.
In our Gospel reading today, he calls us to be children of the light!
Jesus is the true light who came into this world to scatter the darkness of sin and death. And we are children of that true light. Children of God. And each of us has a vocation, a calling. Some purpose that God has for us.
Through the witness of our lives, through our good works of love, we are called to bring the light of Jesus Christ to our world. We are called to bring the light of his charity, the light of his truth, and the light of his life to the men and women of our times.
We have to work, each of us in our own way, to be a light that scatters some of the darkness in our world.
We need to shine the light of Jesus Christ — into our homes and into our schools and into our work. Together we have to fill our society with the light of the Gospel — with the values of truth, justice, solidarity and freedom. We need to make the beauty of his Gospel the foundation of a new culture of life and hope.
So brothers and sisters, you have an important mission in this new church.
I think it’s important that we are dedicating this church in the Year of Faith declared by our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI.
This is a time of grace for all of us in this great Archdiocese of Los Angeles. This is a time for us to make a new beginning and a new conversion.
So let us ask for the grace to make a new conversion in our lives. Let us pray so that our faith in Jesus Christ becomes the light that fills our whole lives. And let us ask for the grace to live our faith more deeply — in our love for God and our love for others.
I ask the blessings of God on you and your families in this beautiful time of Advent leading to Christmas!
May the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose Immaculate Conception we celebrated yesterday, help us to always walk in the light of her Son and have the light of life!
1. Readings: Neh. 8:2-6, 8-10; Heb. 13:8-15; John 12:31-36.