Editor’s note: “Matters of faith” is a column that provides local religious leaders a place to write about how their respective faiths provide hope, courage and strength in these modern times.
Since we are in the baseball season and many are pursuing their dreams of hitting one home run after another, I can’t help but think of that famous baseball movie, “Field of Dreams” which came out in 1989.
The plot of this movie centered on Ray Kinsella, played by Kevin Costner, who kept hearing this “voice” that said, “If you build it, they will come.” Ray eventually discovered that the voice was challenging him to build a baseball field in the middle of a cornfield on his farm in Iowa.
Like Noah, who was deemed “crazy” and “out of his mind” for claiming that God wanted him to build an ark in the middle of nowhere in the preparation for the Great Flood, Ray also had to endure the ridicule of his community as he listened to the voice.
In spite of the resistance he received, Ray was determined to follow his “Field of Dreams” and to build the baseball diamond, with or without the support of his community. Although his wife, Annie, was initially concerned about the voice he was hearing and about his dream, she quickly stepped up to the plate and said, “Ray, I think you need to follow your dreams.”
In this day and age, you and I may never hear a voice telling us to build an ark or a baseball field in the middle of the Bonneville Salt Flats; however, we are blessed to have the powerful voice of the Good Shepherd calling out to you and me daily to help us run to first base, to second base, to third base and eventually to home base — the kingdom of heaven.
The voice of the Shepherd tells us, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand (John 10:27-29).”
The voice of the Shepherd is present as God speaks to our minds, hearts and souls through his Word, the Bible. Our goal and challenge is to listen to His voice in the midst of all the noise that is around us, similar to what Peter Cetera proclaims in his song, “One Clear Voice.” As the song’s lyrics go:
“The whole world is talking, drowning out my voice. How can I hear myself with all this noise, but all this confusion just disappears when I find a quiet place where I can hear one clear voice calling out for me to listen. One clear voice whispers words of wisdom. I close my eyes ‘til I can find what I’ve been missing. If I’m very still, I will hear one clear voice.”
Like Annie, who said to her husband, “Ray, I think you need to follow your dreams,” let us encourage all of our Graduates of 2017 to follow their dreams and to dream big by listening to the voice of the Good Shepherd. He wants all of them, including you and me, to go out and build up the Kingdom of Heaven as “wise master builders” who recognize that we cannot build on any other foundation other than the one that is there, namely Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:11).
Like Annie who supported Ray every step of the way, there is a poem called “Hidden Dreams,” which reminds all of us that we need to follow our dreams and we need to support the dreams of others. It reads:
“We simply must keep each other’s dreams alive. There is a power in us that borders on the holy and that is probably an understatement, but what else could Jesus have been speaking of when He told us that if we believe in Him, we will do the same miracles that He has done and even greater ones? Jesus took all of His hidden dreams and laid them on the people. His dreams became a gospel. Our dreams have the same destiny.
“I am told that there are folks who refuse to dream because their dreams have been so seemingly shattered like dreams that die at birth, and so they hide their dreams in small corners of their hearts and pretend they aren’t there.
“But as for me, I am almost sure that in the Body of Christ that we call the Church, we have the power to help each other’s dreams come true, for in the dark moments when light has hidden its face for a while, we are the stars meant to shine for each other, and we do!” —Author Unknown
Rev. Vialpando is the priest at St. Marguerite Catholic Church in Tooele.