Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014
Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed (All Souls)
Romans 5:5-11 or Romans 6:3-9
The eldest priest of our diocese departed for heaven just recently at age 99. We felt some degree of sorrow -- for ourselves -- but mainly joy, for we felt certain he would be welcomed into the arms of God.
Only a few months ago, Father George, living in retirement, worked with his caretaker to respond to Pope Francis’ call to all of us to be more mindful of the poor.
They assembled small kits of food, water, and toiletry items, placing them in bags they would distribute to homeless persons in their daily drives around the city’s streets and parks.
The largest portion of Father George’s priestly career took place in hospital chaplaincy, where he was faced, no doubt, with having to console the families of those who spent their last days on earth in St. Joseph Hospital. How comforting he must have been as he conveyed Jesus’ promise of eternal life to believers.
"For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day."
This is a great assurance to us if we and our loved ones have sought to be faithful followers of Jesus.
How comforting it is to read earlier in that same chapter, "Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day."
Whatever the exact timing, and with or without a bit of additional polishing up before entering God’s presence, we are certain that the promise held out by Jesus in the readings for this weekend applied to Fr. George Curtsinger.
He was demonstrably a believer in and a follower of Jesus.
This column is offered in cooperation with The North Texas Catholic of Fort Worth, Texas.