HOMILY TRANSCRIPT | Manila Archbishop Jose F. Cardinal Advincula, Blessing of the Chapel of St. Benilde, August 13, 2023  

Reverend Brother Edmundo Fernandez, FSC, president of De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde; beloved members of the Religious Institute of the Brothers of Christian Schools; concelebrating priests and assisting deacons; distinguished administrators, teachers, staff, students, benefactors, guests, and other members of the Benildean Community; my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, fellows in the Lasallian family:

We are gathered today, full of gratitude to God, to celebrate the feast of our patron saint, Saint Benilde Romançon.  Happy fiesta po sa inyong lahat!

We thank God for sustaining and fostering the continuous growth of the College of Saint Benilde, and for bringing us together as a community of “religion, morals, and culture”.  And we also bless this new chapel, which is a testament to the grace of God within and among us in this esteemed academic institution.

The scripture, which we have just heard, give us important instructions about the importance of faith in God as we engage in the academic enterprise.

In the First Reading, the Book of Proverbs reminds learners that knowledge and understanding are achieved by being in touch with Sophia, with the Wisdom of God.  For us Christian, we know that the Wisdom of God is the Holy Spirit, who instructs the hearts of the faithful.  And in the Gospel reading, we heard Jesus reminding his disciples that we have only one teacher: God, who is our heavenly father.

Brothers and sisters, there is no genuine wisdom yet in just gaining know-whats and having know-hows.  Rather, wisdom is attained in arriving at the “great know-Who”, that is, by coming to faith in God, whose Spirit is dynamically present within and among us.  We build and bless this chapel today because we believe that the Holy Spirit, the Wisdom of God, is our teacher, companion, and guide as we strive to grow in knowledge and develop our skills.

That is why in the Second Reading, Saint Paul reminds us that for us Christians, true wisdomis not so much found in intellect or skillfulness.  Rather, wisdom is most manifest in the love and service of Christ crucified.  For us Christians, true wisdom is not for the sake of gaining profit or avoiding pain, but to proclaim Christ crucified.  This too is the Christian goal of academic pursuits.We study not only to pass exams, or gain degrees and honors, so as to build high-earning businesses or find high-paying jobs.I hope theseare not your ultimate goals in life; because even though they are valuable, they will only give you temporary happiness and will leave you empty in the end.  Here in CSB, you have the lofty vocation of discovering the truth, and using your knowledge and skills for the glory of God and in the service of the common good.  Ang layunin ng pag-aaral,pagtuturo, at pagtatrabahoninyoditosaBenildeay huwaglang sanamauwisapag-angat ng pansarilininyongkita o kalagayan.  Sa halip, magingdaan at kasangkapannawa kayo ng katotohanan at pag-ibigng Diyos, at malasakit at paglilingkodsakapwa.

Our patron, Saint Benilde, was an example of wisdom.  We know that he was short and small in stature, but his heart was big and his aspirations high.  He always did ordinary tasks with extraordinary sanctity.  He aspired higher than personal ambition, higher than selfish interests, and yes, higher than earthly existence.  Let us imitate his example of wisdom and magnanimity.  Let us not be content with the mediocrity of worldly pleasures.  Let us not be limited by fleeting success.  Let us not be pinned down by mundane attachments.  Let us dream higher than these!  As high as heaven!  Let us desire the dreams of God, hope in the promises of God, discover the great truths of God, and live the lofty values of God.

My dear brothers and sisters, let this chapel be your sanctuary of true wisdom and faith in God.  When you are pressured to sin, when you are tempted to be selfish or dishonest, come to this chapel.  When you feel tempted towards mediocrity, come to this chapel.   When the world pulls you down to useless anxieties and overbearing griefs, come to this chapel.  When you want to become a better person and a better child of God, come to this chapel.

Come here and pray to God.  Come here to just be honest and free before God.  Come here to listen to God’s guidance and experience his care.  Come here to be strengthened for mission and empowered for service.  Come here to pray and celebrate the sacraments.  Come here, and encounter friends in the Lord.  Let the faith community pray for you and with you.  Let God raise you up and give you wisdom and strength.

Dear brothers and sisters, fellows in the Lasallian family, may this chapel be a sanctuary of faith and mission in CSB.  Gather in prayer here, and from here live out your mission as ministers of wisdom.  May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Star, pray for us all.  Amen. (Photo from College of St. Benilde Facebook Page)


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