And in the hearing of all the people he said to his disciples,
“Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
Last week we received our house tax appraisal for 2007. The value of our home had been raised well above what we recently paid for it. Perhaps some folks would find it gratifying to know that the state government agrees with their assessment of the potential value of the house. I found it extremely frustrating that my annual “rent” payment to the government (you know, the money I pay Texas so it grants me permission to continue dwelling in my home for another year) was going up so much.
A couple days later I headed downtown to protest the appraisal. Given that we had just bought the house and I had all the paperwork with me, it proved quite straight forward to get the appraisal lowered to the amount we had paid for the house.
While I was sitting in the cubicle talking to the appraiser, I overheard a portion of a conversation in the cubicle next to me. From what I heard, I surmised the woman was 1) quite elderly; 2) likely a widow; and 3) living on social security. And she was basically saying that the new appraisal on her home might force her out of it. And the response from the
scribe appraiser was, so sorry, but we don’t make the rules.
How have we come to this, where injustice is such a part of our lives that we have institutionalized the devouring of widow’s homes?