Today's Mass reminds us that everything human in our world that we know and love will one day perish. Just as we will most certainly die, what awaits us is the hope of eternal glory. "What eye has never seen, what ear has never heard, what has never entered into the heart of man to conceive what God has prepared for those who love him."
I am delighted that my brother in the episcopate, Mile Bogovic, the Bishop of Gospic, has joined me for this consecration ceremony. To me it is one further indication of the wonderful example of Croatian Christianity and strong Catholicism, which protected Europe from pagan invasions for 450 years and which is now renowned in our Archdiocese of Melbourne.
Thanks to all of you we now have this wonderful church and I consider it a privilege and an honour to officiate at its consecration.
The Gospel passage we have just heard focuses our attention on the Holy Spirit, breathed out by Jesus on the infant Church and worshipped by us tonight at Mass. The Mass of the Holy Spirit is a particularly solemn occasion. As we heard in the Gospel-itself a beautiful piece of liturgy-Christ begins by wishing peace upon his friends in the same formula used by bishops everywhere at the start of Mass. The disciples feel great joy as they recognise their Risen Lord. But this is not just a joyful reunion between friends: Jesus goes on to commission them; they are to be sent out, given the tasks of working for God's people, and judging their sins. This is highly appropriate for us to recall here tonight: we meet the Lord joyfully around this altar but the story does not end there. We are to be sent out, commissioned by him to serve his Church and his people in a particular way.
Jesus today reminds us that he has risen from the dead and will take this him all who die believing in him.
The importance of praying for the dead is emphasised in addition to our faith that Jesus overcomes death, suffering and burden.