An Analogy of my Restaurant Experience in Uganda with Mass

01-20-2024Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

I walked into a restaurant while still in Kampala (Uganda’s capital) last week and after going through the menu, I ordered some food and what I experienced there has tempted me to digress a little from my planned article on the Stewardship of Time. Instead, I will reflect some more on the Stewardship of Prayer from the perspective of the Mass.

Now, back to my experience. After about 30 mins of waiting for my food which I had ordered earlier, a group of young guys and ladies loudly walked in and also ordered theirs. To my dismay, these folks got served first. As I watched, they began to eat, drink and laugh heartily, clearly still enjoying the festivities of the new year. I even overheard one of them bragging about how connected he is to everyone in the that popular restaurant including the owner. I felt mocked and neglected. Unable to take it anymore, I made up my mind to leave and called the waiter to tell her so. However, what she told me shocked me even more. She calmly told me: "yours is a special order, being prepared by the chief chef himself. The orders of those folks were prepared hurriedly by students on internship because the top chefs are busy with yours Sir. That's why they were served first. Please have some passion fruit juice as you wait". Shocked to the marrow, I calmed down and waited patiently to find out what this special order was like.

Shortly after, my meal was not only served by five waiters, but it was also my delicious local food which I loved most while still in the seminary. Unknown to me, the owner of the restaurant, who happened to be an old long-lost friend of mine from the seminary, had seen me when I entered and decided to surprise me. He decided to change my simple meal to a five-star local meal. Now it was the turn of the other noisy folks at the other table to get shocked. They couldn't stop staring at this skinny little guy being waited on respectfully by five servers and the owner of the restaurant. Suddenly they started grumbling, asking why they didn't get that kind of service and meal I was being served in the first place.

The more I came to reflect on that little episode later on, the more I realized that such is indeed life! At the mundane level, some people may be ahead of you and eating now, and even perhaps mocking you and talking about how they are smarter, wiser and better than you or, how they are well connected, blessed, have wealth and are enjoying life. Meanwhile, you may be waiting tirelessly wondering why it's taking so long for you to succeed in life. You may even be enduring mockery and humiliations. In the process some of you may have contemplated suicide, gone through depression or suffered severe mental anxiety and even resorted to drugs. Do not worry dear friends! The Owner and Creator of the Universe has seen what you are going through and doesn't want you to be served a simple meal like those making a mockery of you. If only you could continue to remain His friend. Know that you are waiting long because yours is a special meal. All you need to do is be patient because your meal takes time to prepare. And only chief chefs prepare them. Wait for for it, relax and be faithful.

At the spiritual level, your meal is being prepared by none other than the Lord Himself through His priests who do it “In Persona Christi” and dear friends, that meal is the Eucharist! The best of all meals!

So, when we come to Mass for the Eucharistic Meal, let us be patient and humble no matter how long and boring the homily may be or how discordant the music may sound for we will be served by the Lord Himself and His meal will surpass all the perceived inconveniences and boredoms we may feel while in Mass. That meal will give us everlasting life and that meal is the EUCHARIST!

Continued greetings from Uganda and know that I love you.