ONE night my brother Randy, my brother-in-law Ed, and I were sitting around the dining table at our family’s home, talking about work, travels, and other personal plans. Our discussion took a deep turn when I recounted a conversation I had a few years ago with a friend. Here’s how that conversation went:

“Rodel,” my friend asked, “What were the dreams you had that have come true in your life, what dreams can still come true, and what dreams do you believe will never come true in your life?

“Well,” I responded, “the dreams that have come true in my life now? I dreamt of becoming a priest, and it happened. I dreamt of becoming a pastor, and it happened too.  I dreamt of traveling to the Holy Land, to Rome, France, Spain, Germany and other parts of Europe and Asia and this came true.  I dreamt of obtaining a doctoral degree and of writing a book, and these too came true.”

“And the dreams that may still come true?” he asked.

“Perhaps, to write another book, to travel to other parts of the world like Africa and South America, and to do more noble and charitable works for some poor people in the Philippines, “ I answered. “And the dreams that would never come true? Of course, I would never gain back my youth like having a full hair again.”

I told Randy and Ed that I would still think of these questions in my mid-life. Then I asked my brother the same questions.

“What about you, Randy? What dreams have you fulfilled in your life? What dreams do you still want to pursue? And what dreams do you have that you know will never become real?”

My brother became pensive and then finally shared, “You know I’m now comfortable in my life. I have a good-paying job, a lovely wife, a big house, and dream car. I too have traveled to many places and have eaten the food I want. But I have a yearning for something much more spiritual. And I’m still thinking of how to respond to this longing.”

My brother-in-law and I then gave him some suggestions on how to respond to his spiritual yearning, his dream.

The Gospel this Sunday talks about the Parable of the Dishonest Steward.  A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. So he asked him to prepare a full account of his stewardship. The steward became afraid of losing his job, so he called his master’s debtors one by one.

To the first one, he asked, “How much do you owe my master?” He replied, “One hundred measures of Olive oil. He said to him, “Here is your promissory note. Sit down and write one for fifty.

Then to another one the steward said, “And you, how much do you owe? He replied, “One hundred kors of wheat.” The steward told him, “Here is your promissory note, write down eighty.”

The master commended the dishonest steward for acting prudently.

Jesus taught this parable not to affirm a person’s dishonesty but a person’s ability to act wisely and promptly on God’s gifts.

God wants us also to fulfill our dreams wisely.  As faithful stewards of the life he gave each of us, God expects us to use our time, talents and treasures well to realize our dreams and yearnings.

Like the experience of my younger brother, our longings go beyond material things. They are also yearnings of spiritual fulfillment that only a faith-filled life with God can give.

May we all be faithful and prudent stewards of our lives here on earth so we can receive the gift of eternal life in heaven—our ultimate dream!

* * *

From a Filipino immigrant family, Reverend Rodel G. Balagtas was ordained to the priesthood from St. John’s Seminary in 1991. He served as Associate Pastor at St. Augustine, Culver City (1991-1993); St. Martha, Valinda (1993-1999); and St. Joseph the Worker, Canoga Park (1999-2001). In 2001, he served as Administrator Pro Tem of St. John Neumann in Santa Maria, CA, until his appointment as pastor of ImmAaculate Heart of Mary, Los Angeles, in 2002, which lasted 12 years. His term as Associate Director of Pastoral Field Education at St. John’s Seminary began in July 2014.

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