Monday, 6 April 2009

Celebrations and poverty

Listening to the Gospel of yesterday, one of the two things that caught my attention and thankfully kept me distracted during the otherwise long and boring Mass (liturgical organisation) was the story of the poor woman who anoints Jesus' feet with the costly ointment and Jesus approves it whole-heartedly.

In the light of our own expenditures, in such events as the visit of the Rector Major and other dignitaries from the West, I wonder what would Jesus say then. Would he say the same? I believe he would not! My reasoning leads me to say that Jesus would never approve of any extravagance when it comes to spending money, especially by us Salesians! First and foremost, the woman who purchased the costly perfume and anointed Jesus with it, did so with what she herself earned. She did not gather it from others. She earned it. What about us Salesians? What right have we to dispose off things and resources available to us from someone else's (our benefactors) sweat and blood. They save and starve and send us money and how can we have the conscience to just spend it for mere celebrations.

Secondly, what about our witness value to those whom we serve... the young people. Most of our houses, we have separate rice for the confreres and boys; the monthly expenditure of a couple of confreres equals that of 30 to 40 boarding boys. Suppose we look after them well all through and have this extravagance then it is justified. But how justified are we in indulging in such celebrations when we deny these boys the very best. Furthermore, there is the general public too (our working staff included). We have a responsibility towards the society too.

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