Area scouts and adult leaders from Boy Scouts, Trail Life, Girl Scouts and American Heritage Girls joined a packed St. Michael Church in Palmer for the annual Scout Sunday Mass with Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz.
A number of scouts received religious awards for completing objectives related to spiritual development and growth in their faith. Additionally, two adult leaders were honored for exceptional contributions to the spiritual aspects of scouting.
An estimated 40 scouts turned out for the annual Mass on Feb. 10.
“Thank God for the gift of scouting and for our young people,” Archbishop Schwietz told the assembly. “Let us continue to pray for scouting in our society.”
In his homily, Archbishop Schwietz spoke about the problem of evil and how the faithful are called to respond.
Addressing the Sunday readings which recalled Job’s immense sufferings, the archbishop noted that Job “does not turn away from God but he turned toward God and asks, ‘Why is this happening?’”
Ultimately, Job admits that he does not understand the ways of God who created the heavens and the earth, Archbishop Schwietz relayed.
Job’s ultimate response was “I don’t understand, but I trust you,” he said. “Our ways are not God’s ways.”
Archbishop Schwietz then turned to the Gospel reading, which dealt with Christ’s response to sin and evil in the world.
“In today’s Gospel we see the son of God dealing with sin in the world,” Archbishop Schwietz said. “But he doesn’t destroy evil itself. Instead he comes to join us in our suffering and he responds to evil by doing good.”
That response is also seen in many scouting activities, he observed.
“Scouting is about responding to evil with good,” Archbishop Schwietz told the scouts. “That is so important in our world today. We are called to live a mystery … to love even in a world marred by evil.”
Following the homily, Archbishop Schwietz blessed the religious emblems before several youth were called up to receive the awards that highlighted the scouts’ commitment to grow in knowledge of their Catholic faith, while fostering a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and serving his church.