By Kevin Kelly
Catholic Key Associate Editor
ICONIUM — This was indeed the day the Lord had made as Bishop Robert W. Finn celebrated Sunday morning Mass for Boy Scouts at camp at the H. Roe Bartle Reservation.
Ordinarily, when he celebrates his mid-summer Mass for the camping Scouts in the open air Chapel of the Twelve Apostles, it is either broiling hot or pouring rain.
But on July 20, the weather was spot-on perfect 70 degrees with the slightest of breezes blowing under a cobalt blue sky.
And what better place than nature, on such a day, to contemplate the splendor of God’s creation, Bishop Finn told the Scouts, many of whom came from the Kansas City metro area.
“I grew up in the suburbs outside St. Louis,” Bishop Finn said.
“Getting out away from the city lights, I remember looking up at all the stars. I had no idea there were so many stars,” he said.
“Truly, there is a God,” Bishop Finn said. “Truly, he has created a universe. Surely, this becomes an opportunity for you to think about God and his immensity in a new way,” Bishop Finn said.
Recalling the Gospel of the wheat that grows strong if it falls on good ground, Bishop Finn told the Scouts that God has given them everything they need to grow strong, and Scouting will reinforce that.
In fact, the very virtues that Scouting teaches are also virtues that God also desires for his people.
“These are human virtues, but they can be strengthened by God’s grace,” Bishop Finn saod.
Bishop Finn also told the Scouts that Jesus himself was keen observer of nature and often wove stories from the natural world into his teachings.
“Jesus observed things like plants growing and birds in the air,” he said, reminding the Scouts of the parable of the lilies of the field.
“They don’t worry about whether they have everything everyone else has. They have everything,” he said.
Too often, humans worry about material wealth, he said.
“Before you know it, we are spending all our energies on material things and we forget what we already have,” Bishop Finn said.
“What is it about the plants and animals in nature, though,” he said. “They aren’t influenced by the media that wants to teach its own set of values. So it’s good at times to find out we can survive without TV, radio, newspapers or the Internet.”
God has also given humans a special charge to care for nature so that future generations will have it, Bishop Finn said.
“We have to love the world and seek to take care of it, and we have to look out for each other, too,” he said.
Bishop Finn said that quite often, what another person needs the most is not their problems instantly solved, but a friend to be with them through difficult times.
“Sometimes, they don’t need material things. They need friendship,” he said. And by being a friend in a time of need, the faithful spread the teachings and love of Christ.
“You can be a teacher for another person just as Jesus is a teacher for us,” he said.
Bishop Finn also told the Scouts to look at the chapel created for them and the wooded 4,000 acre reservation in which it sits.
“Generations before us provided this place,” he said. “It is so easy for us to take these things for granted.”