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Paul Vadakumpadan, Guwahati says,
WHY DO GOOD WITH MEANS NOT SO GOOD? (Contd.)
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Guwahati, Jun. 25. Educational institutions are an excellent means of doing good. There is no doubt that much good is done.

WHY DO GOOD WITH MEANS NOT SO GOOD? (Contd.)

Educational institutions are an excellent means of doing good. There is no doubt that much good is done. I have seen religious persons rendering this service with remarkable earnestness and immense hard work.   But there are also institutions where educational service takes on a commercial tinge. Elsewhere the admission policy leaves much to be desired. (This matter we shall reflect on in another essay). In one part of India, the church`s attempt at opening professional colleges led to serious controversy and unending court cases. If the purpose of the endeavour is to do good, why reduce its quality with commercial considerations, questionable policies and sometimes even with signs of serious impropriety?

The voluntary nature of mission emphasizes the richness of the Christian`s commitment.  
Ananias and Saphira need not have sold their land. But after selling it for a very noble cause, it would have been sensible for them to keep going along that generous road. I remember a spiritual father telling us that kneeling down in prayer and praying badly is a very foolish thing to do. If one has no intention of praying well, why waste time kneeling down. Sit down.

The numerous works the church undertakes are of a voluntary nature. The church is not obliged to open service structures beyond its capacity to sustain them in a Christian manner. In other words, do as much good as you reasonably can and make sure it is also done in a manner that is good. Nobody is obliged to do good beyond one`s capacity. Moreover, the quantity of the good done does not dispense one from the quality of what is done. Further still, if expansion implies compromising on the quality of the means used, it is no more the fulfilment of mission. It is simply one more work, even a good one, just like the work that many organizations are doing. In that case we may rightly call ourselves good workers, but we have no right to be called missionaries of Christ.

The church is sent on mission. Whatever she does is in fulfilment of that mission. If means used are not as good as the purpose for which they are used, mission is not fulfilled. However, the work itself may be good. Often it is good, but perhaps, not good enough. Even commercial undertakings, powerfully driven by profit and competition motives, still do much good. Social service done out of good will or prestige motives is still good. Yet, if we unfortunately reach such a situation, we compromise the nature of the church and destroy the challenge of mission. It is also unfair in vocation ministry to invite young people to be missionaries of Christ and then make them good (or bad) businessmen/ businesswomen, social workers, prestige seekers etc.

May we do as much as possible, but always as well as possible.

Fr. Paul Vadakumpadan  

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