"Jesus' human origins lie in Judaism, and he stood and taught within their prophetic tradition of charity and justice.

Hundreds of years before his birth, the great Jewish prophets had already coined this mantra:

'The quality of your faith will be judged by the quality of justice in the land;

and the quality of justice in the land will be judged by how the weakest and most vulnerable groups in society (widows, orphans and strangers) fared while you were alive.'

Jesus inherited a religious tradition that already emphasized outreach and actions to the poor as a nonnegotiable demand within any true religious practice.

The idea was that our standing with God depended not just on our private prayer and integrity

but also on





the poor ...

In effect, Jesus told us that nobody will get to heaven without a letter of reference from the poor.

This, although clear in the Gospels and in the Jewish Scriptures,

is often misunderstood or rejected by many sincere Christians."

(Ronald Rolheiser)