This Sunday’s Gospel contains one of the best known stories in the whole of the Bible, the story of the Prodigal Son. It begins with a young man’s audacious request for his part of the family fortune. His request was granted and then some days later he collected all his belongings and went off to a distant land. When he got his inheritance, my guess is that he was dreaming a beautiful dream. He was thinking about the wonderful life that was waiting for him in the distant land. We would not criticise him for doing that, because dreaming is a vital part of living. Imagine how impoverished our world would be without its dreamers. Every great human accomplishment is nothing more than a dream come true. The electric light was once a dream in the mind of Thomas Edison. Nowadays, the cure for cancer is a dream in the minds of medical scientists and some day that dream will come true. Most of us are not great inventors but all of us are dreamers.
Each of us is related to the Prodigal Son. We feel some discontentment with things as they are and we dream of life as it might be. We should never stop doing that. One note of caution however and that is not all of our dreams can be trusted. Some of them are sheer illusions and this is what got the Prodigal Son in trouble. He dreamed of freedom without responsibility. He was determined to like his own life without considering any other person. He would do what he wanted to do and he would not have to explain to anyone. In his mind that is what it meant to be free.
I doubt there is a person who has not dreamed at times of that kind of freedom. We would like to be free from the feeling that there is always something that we ought to do. Fr John