Earlier this week I witnessed a profound symbol of baptism: the sprinkling of a casket. It was the feast day for the Baptism of Christ, and this isn’t how we would ordinarily choose to spend it, but it was a powerful sign of redemption all the same.
Jesus was baptized not because he needed forgiveness, but because he would enter into the entire human experience for our salvation. That included our suffering and death.
The occasion was for Theresa Ortman, the daughter of good friends who died last week of an overdose. The national opioid epidemic hits close to home.
The loss of Tom Cassedy
Most of us know that the same week a son of our parish, Tom Cassedy, also succumbed to an apparent overdose of heroin. His funeral will be this coming Saturday at 10am, when holy water will again become a symbol of redemption.
We are baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection. While we look forward to our resurrection at the end of the age, Christ calls us to live in the hope of resurrection now. We do this by extending that hope to a hurting world.
Mount Calvary ministry to addicts
Our parish began a sidewalk ministry this fall, at which we give breakfast to mostly addicts who gather at the bus stop next to our church. They wait for their turn at a methadone clinic across the street. One Saturday morning last month, we gave out 70 hot sandwiches. More importantly, we honor the dignity of these individuals by getting to know them and offering hope.
We are working to expand this ministry, called the “Bus Stop Breakfast,” in memory of Tom and Theresa. Both families have requested that donations in lieu of flowers be given to support this ministry. More information and a donation link can be found on our parishwebsite, here.
You can also volunteer as we seek to increase this ministry to every week. For more information, contact Abby Scharbach through firstname.lastname@example.org.
This outreach is a sign of redemption — a way to live out our own baptism — as we become symbols of Christ’s resurrection in our city.