The bread guy… yep, that’s me. Actually, there is more to it. When the meal gets served, I also bus tables as well. I’ve had others positions on my resume there as well: I have waited tables, prepped deserts, and even offered prayer once… but slicing bread is what I do there
I have had the good fortune to be invited to participate in a local Catholic college’s monthly meal at an inner city meal program for the homeless and needy. Any other items on my resume are really unimportant compared to my abilities to cut donated bread with which the program’s participants make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to carry out the door with them for a later meal.
This service opportunity is a great reminder that we don’t need permission forms, added chaperones, and a planned prayer and debriefing process to do service – – we just have to serve.
In the 1980’s, Rev. Jorge Bergoglio was the rector of Jesuit seminary. While there, he ensure that the young men had many experiences as part of their formation, not only classes but also trips to both the opera as well as volunteering in communities where the poor could be found. He also rotated the chores of the household, including that of the laundry. His students remembered many years later that the man who would become Pope Francis also did laundry.
Pope Francis reminded the Curia of this recently in his Christmas greeting to his staff. When the attitude of the Curia is no longer one of service to the particular Churches and their bishops, he suggested the structure of the Curia turns into a ponderous, bureaucratic customs house, constantly inspecting and questioning, hindering the working of the Holy Spirit and the growth of God’s people. That’s all stuff that Francis has said before. It came in a speech that was brief… , barely 1,000 words and 15 minutes to deliver. That sane day as the brief speechm he visited a hospital, Bambino Gesù, and stayed almost three hours, greeting scores of children and their families. Anyone following the pope couldn’t help but draw the conclusion that the hospital visit was more important to him than the speech.
Take an opportunity for service for the sake of service alone. Free yourself from inspecting and questioning and just serve. It can be as easy as slicing bread.