Faithful to the end

Just 12 days after his priestly ordination Rev Father Joseph Gomez breathe his last. He was 68.

Father Joseph suffered a heart attack during the June Clergy Recollection and was rushed to the hospital. He died shortly thereafter.

His body was sent to the Church of the Sacred Heart, Jalan Peel, on June 19, and the following morning the body arrived at the Church of the Divine Mercy, Shah Alam, for prayers and masses, and for the faithful to pay their last respects.

Father Joseph spent the last year of his life teaching and serving at the Church of the Divine Mercy. On June 6 2019, exactly one year after his arrival here, he was ordained a priest in the presence of his family, friends and parishioners.

“During the 12 days of priesthood that Father Joseph lived out, he heard confession, a couple were married by him and many were blessed by him,” said Father Gerard, parish priest of CDM, in his homily during the wake mass.

The joy in the fulfilment of his heart’s yearning was witnessed by all around him. Many parishioners commented that there was a change in him after the ordination, that he was very happy, that a season of peace had descended on him and that he was not that tensed anymore.

In his journey towards priesthood – his vocation story – shared by Fr Joseph himself in the last minutes before his death, he said that along the way he encountered many questions, asked himself again and again if this what God was calling him to.

There were moments of anger, expectations, disappointments and searching. A man after the heart of God, he truly sought to do the will of God.

“Just as (Fr Joseph) struggled on that long road, may we also not give up. May we continue to discover where the Lord is leading and allow the Lord to lead,” said Fr Gerard in his homily.

“As we journey forth, the road will be hard but we journey as a community. May we live up to our call as a people baptised and sent on a mission. May we be faithful to that mission just as Jo was faithful to that call.”

In helping us make sense of the elation felt during the priestly ordination punctured too soon by the heartbrokenness at his passing, Archbishop Julian Leow, in his homily at the funeral mass, said: “If we have died with Christ we shall live with him. He has held firm all these 49 years, searching to do God’s will. He shall reign with the Master.”

“Let us rededicate our lives to our own calling as priests, as bishops, as lay people, as religious men and women, that whatever our calling may be we will remain steadfast and firm, and continue to trust, as Fr Joseph did, throughout his life and these last 12 days of his priesthood.

“It is not the quantity of days or years but the quality of our life and our faith.”