Saturday, May 1, 2021
Archbishop Thomas Wenski - The Archdiocese of Miami
Archbishop Thomas Wenski preached this homily while celebrating the annual Mass honoring Catholic Scouts. The Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Doral, May 1, 2021.
Today, we welcome to Our Lady of Guadalupe the young men and women – with their parents and adult leaders – who are involved in scouting. For more than 100 years, scouting has given young people the opportunities to grow in character, in self-confidence and in leadership skills. The aims of scouting complement – and should not compete – with the aims of the Christian formation of children that parents have committed to when they presented them for baptism.
Catholic scouting is an effective way to help Catholic youths to do their duty to God and to their country. Scouting builds character and teaches devotion to God in an environment that provides wholesome fun under the guidance of strong adult role models. The scouting programs provide a wonderful channel to involve youth in the life of Catholic parishes.
Young people experience scouting as a growth into personal maturity and social responsibility. They learn to assume their role in life with a high degree of commitment, and to care for others who are less fortunate. They develop a strong desire to build a culture of good will, respect for the environment and acceptance of duties. In this sense, Catholic scouting has been – and can continue to be – a Spirit-filled means of helping young people today to embrace the challenge of building a more humane world – a challenge that we will rise to only when we understand that such a world must be built on following the will of God.
Today is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, May 1st. In many countries, May 1st is the day to honor workers – and so the Church proposes as a model for all workers the person of Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth whom God entrusted with the task of raising Mary’s son, Jesus Christ.
He must have done a pretty good job: Jesus was known as the “carpenter’s son.” And as a carpenter he earned an honest living to provide for his family. In St. Joseph we see the value and the dignity of work – and the joy of doing for ourselves, and not just having people do for us.
When God wanted to bring to fulfillment his plan of salvation, he wanted to count on certain collaborators. And God counts on us today to help bring to fulfillment his plan of salvation for the whole world. Now if God is counting on us, then we need to be reliable and trustworthy like St. Joseph was – and so we must cultivate those habits, those skills, those talents that will help us to be the best possible collaborators of God.
That’s what scouting is about: It is about helping young people develop their talents and abilities, and to put them at the service of society and their communities.
This past year and a half, with the global pandemic, social unrest and economic uncertainty, has been a challenge for all of us. It certainly has been a time to re-evaluate some of our priorities. Perhaps we rediscovered the value of family life, and as we lived with fear of being sick or of having loved ones sick, we learned to appreciate what’s important and what’s not so important. Coming out of this pandemic what should our new normal look like. And since God counts on us, how can we help him by helping to make a new normal where no one is excluded, and everyone is honored as a child of God.
St. Joseph wasn’t a scout – at least, as far as we know. But we see modeled in him those traditional values of scouting:
- Integrity – as he acted with integrity; so should we strive to be honest, trustworthy and loyal.
- Respect – St. Joseph, a just man, is a model of self-respect and respect for others.
- Care – He cared for the Holy Family, earning a living as a carpenter to support them; and scouts support others and take care of the world in which they live.
- Belief – Joseph was a man of faith trusting in God. Scouting can help us grow in faith as well.
- Co-operation – Joseph cooperated in God’s plan and worked with Mary to raise Jesus. Scouting teaches co-operation with others and in doing so to make a difference and to make friends.
Today, we single out many of our scouts for special recognition – but in doing so we also must remember that when one scout is honored, all scouts are honored – for the credit belongs to all. For the Spirit gives us his gifts – not for our own personal advantage or self-interest but for the sake of building up the Body of Christ.
The final words you will hear at the conclusion of this Mass will be: “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.” We come to Mass to receive God’s Word and Sacrament; we receive in order that we might give. What we receive here we give in our daily lives. During this coming week, do something that’s good, that’s loving; do not neglect to do “a good turn” for your neighbor.