Homily at Mass for Catholic Workers in Saudi Arabia
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It is an honour and a privilege for my delegation and myself to greet you and bless you in the name of the Holy Father Pope Francis, who, as you know, has a particular attention to the fate of Christians living in Muslim-majority countries.
I thank also the Apostolic Vicar, Mons. Camillo Ballin, who is unable to be present today.
We believe that it is possible to live together, Christians and Muslims, because we belong to the same family of God. And we have also been able to live together peacefully as Christians and Muslims for centuries.
Many of you have come to work in this country. I know that both Christians and Muslims appreciate virtues such as honesty, a capacity for listening, a sense of hospitality.
As Christians we are ready to help you in every manner to gain a good intellectual and professional formation.
You are living in a country where religion and state occupy the first place in society, but we must always remember that what really matters is the dignity of each human being.
Thanks to interreligious dialogue which is practiced in everyday life, we all experience the fact that we are confronted by the same trials and so as believers we are called to be obedient to God and to make peace where we live and work.
Believing in one God, we profess that we have the same Creator, and we pray to God Almighty and we try to make of this world a place where it is good to live. We must always defend the dignity of the human person. As St. Paul said, “Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.” (Rom 12:21)
For every person, for every country, there is always a place to work for the Common good. Culture and Education are the two pillars on which rest the civilization of the world. This is a message which resounds loudly here.
Please continue the service to persons who come here seeking to improve their own life; we need always to be respected in our innate human dignity and inalienable human rights.
I am pleased to learn that progress is continuing in the area of interreligious and intercultural dialogue. The Pope hopes that religious freedom will become more and more a reality. Therefore, be united with your bishop, with your priests, with your fellow co-believers, and open to all. You will contribute to transform your presence in your host country to be a home where prayer is in the first place, solidarity is a concrete reality and fraternity is the light which shines before everyone.
So, every man and woman, every old or young person, will become practitioners of dialogue and encounter. And then religion and work can come together in the service of man and of truth.
“As a basis for human realization, work is a key to spiritual development. According to Christian tradition, it is more than merely “doing”; it is, above all, a mission. We collaborate in the creative work of God when, through our work, we cultivate and preserve creation…” (Pope Francis, To the participants in the International Conference “From Populorum progressio to Laudato si’”, November 23-24, 2017)
I conclude with St Paul who tells us, “Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.” (Rom 12:11)