The Rich Woman and Maria

Pentecost 18C – The Rich Woman and Maria

Luke 16: 19-31

There was a rich woman

who was dressed in fine clothes that she bought readymade from stores –

–       like JC Penney and Kohl’s.

She feasted sumptuously every day –

in fact she usually ate three times a day!

She tried to shop healthy –

once a month she went to Whole Foods and bought organic produce.

She even had the luxury of choosing to diet at times –

–       imagine having a choice about what to eat!

She was rich!

Her children went to school – even her daughters —

and she expected them to graduate.

They did things like play soccer or football

or take dance or music lessons.

Her oldest was 10, and didn’t even have a job yet!

She was rich!

When her children were sick,

she took them to a doctor –

and it was less than a day’s trip!

Sometimes, they even went to the doctor when they weren’t sick –

–       just for a check-up.

She had never known anyone whose children

had gotten sick with the measles or polio.

In fact she’d never known anyone who had lost a child

under the age of five.

She was rich!

She lived in a house – and it was with just her immediate family –

no grandparents or cousins or aunts and uncles.

There was a yard which was fenced in,

and she allowed her children to play there themselves.

She never even thought about gunfire

or drug dealers when her children were outside.

She had electricity and indoor plumbing.

She didn’t have to walk anywhere to go get water.

If she had , she wouldn’t have had to walk even!

She had a car!

Even her car had its own house!

She was rich!

She and her family went to the beach for a week every year

and she and her husband dreamed of retiring there someday.

She volunteered her time at the soup kitchen and the literacy council.

She received an award last year for Volunteer of the Year

at the hospital.

Her daughter won a bike at school

for selling the most magazines!

Of course her own family ended up buying the most –

she knew they’d never read them all!

She was rich!

On her street,

there was a woman named Maria.

She rarely saw Maria in person – because Maria was working two jobs.

But she talked about her.

She and the other neighbors talked about the cars all over the yard and the kids who were always playing in the street.

Maria’s kids liked sports too – but they played pick-up games in the neighborhood.

She would have liked them to be on a school team – but she didn’t have the extra cash to spend on uniforms or summer coaching.

And she didn’t have a way to get them back and forth to practice either.

The whole family was overweight –

the neighborhood talked about that too.

Maria knew they could eat healthier.

but fresh fruit and vegetables were expensive.

They could get 10 hotdogs for a couple of bucks

or an easy hamburger and fries off of McDonald’s dollar menu

after she got home from work at 10 o’clock.

Maria would have liked to help her kids with their homework.

But she was so exhausted at the end of the day,

that she just was glad when they had something to turn in.

She was so proud of them – she loved her kids.

She’d always wanted to finish school herself, but never did.

She was worried that her oldest might not pass the PSSA test again this year –

he said one of the essays was about a place you’d  like to go on vacation.

He had no idea what to write about.

His family had never been on a vacation.

He didn’t know what people did on vacation.

Some people thought Maria wasn’t very bright

because she didn’t read or write very well –

but would they know how to feed and clothe a family of four

on her salary?

Maria was a hard worker and her boss offered her a raise.

But she was in a tough position.

If she took the raise, she’d lose $300/month

in benefits – including all her foodstamps.

Sure, she wanted to be self-sufficient,

but at the risk of not being able to feed her kids?

When her kids got sick, of course she couldn’t afford to take time off work,

so they waited until she got home.

By then, most offices were closed, so she took them to the emergency room.

They were often there until the early hours of the morning

and then the kids were too tired to get up for school.

Her middle child’s school was selling magazines.

Every day in homeroom they were asked how many they sold

and the teacher posted the numbers up on the bulletin board.

There was a prize for the class which sold the most.

Maria’s child hadn’t sold any yet.

She pretended not to hear when the teacher asked the kids

to raise their hands if they had sold a magazine.

Maria liked to volunteer too…

She watched her friends’ kids when they had an errand to run.

She gave a cousin $10 to help pay the electric bill.

But there weren’t any awards for that kind of giving.

The rich woman went to church.

She heard the law and the prophets speak about how serving God

is serving those in need.

And she believed that Jesus Christ indeed was crucified, died, and then rose again.

She listened to his story of the rich man and Lazarus

and thought about how incredible it was that the rich man

didn’t even see Lazarus right under his nose!

And then she went about the rest of her day…

Amen

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