This Sunday is Scout Sunday and also the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults’ Rite of Acceptance and Welcome. You may not see a connection between these two events, but along with the readings you may see a parallel path for both scouts and those being initiated.
The goals of both Boy Scouts (founded in 1910) and Girl Scouts (founded in 1912) are to train youths in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities and educational programs. In the Scout Oath we hear “… to do my duty, to God and my country”.
The goals of Rite of Acceptance & Welcome (the ﬁrst step in bringing an unbap8zed person into the Church) are to stir repentance, start the practice of calling on God in prayer, develop a sense of Church, be educated in the knowledge of God and prepare for a Catholic life. In the Rite of Acceptance, we hear the initiated saying “I am” to the question “are you ready, with the help of God, to live this life (to know God)?”
Scripture from Isaiah tells us “you shall call … and he will say ’Here I am.” So, in both scouting and initiation, the par8cipants are asking God to direct them on the path to his love, responding to his everlasting salvation and encouragement to be open to his grace and peace.
In the rite for those to be ini8ated they are told “to strive to pattern your life of the teachings of the Gospel and so to love the Lord your God and your neighbor.” And the response is “I am”. The Scout oath says, “I will do my best … to help other people at all times” and “and to do a good turn daily.” In the gospel today we hear Jesus say, “your light must shine before others that they may see your good deeds.”
Both groups are to be open to helping others in both spiritual and material ways. Scouts do this in their eﬀorts on projects and collecting items for the poor. The initiated do this in their daily lives by being attentive to the way they pray and reading scriptures to improve their very life and those around them.
Paul in his letter to the Corinthians says, “with a demonstration of Spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.” Both of the groups we recognize today gain wisdom through the educa8on of the numerous scout leaders and the RCIA team members, who are ever present to help them develop their knowledge and focus along the way.
Let us pray today that God will continue to bless and guide them on their journeys of faith.