The Breaking of Bread

An excerpt from one of the beautifully aggressive pieces from Jesuit priest, Daniel Berrigan (1921 -  2016). Berrigan's legacy of work manages to constantly surprise and startle me. This simple essay on bread and the poor is simply profound. 

Take your “typical man” across the world. Let him in. Look at him, he isn’t white, he probably isn’t clean. He certainly isn’t well fed or American, or Christian. So then what? What’s left? Well, maybe now we’re getting somewhere; Christ is all that’s left, if you’re looking for a mystery. He’s real as a man. Don’t just stand there! Sit him down. Offer him some bread! He’ll understand that; bread comes across. So does Christ – Luke says so – in the breaking of bread. What a beautiful sound – try and see!

I keep thinking of that poor man. And his face, when someone shows up against all odds to treat him like a human being. But that isn’t all, or even half the truth. The other half, or more, is what he sees in you. And that’s a mercy, because Christ is merciless about the poor. He wants them around – always, and everywhere. He’s condemned them to live with us. It’s terrifying. I mean for us, too. It’s not only that we are ordered, rigorously ordered, to serve the poor. That’s hard enough; Christ gives so few orders in all the gospel. but the point is, what the poor see in us – and don’t see, too. We stand there, American, White, Christian, with the keys of the kingdom and the keys of the world in our pocket. Everything about us says: Be like me! I’ve got it made. But the poor man sees the emperor – naked. Like the look of Christ, the poor man strips us down to the bone.

Read the whole essay HERE