On Saturday afternoon, immediately after getting back from the NBCC Congress X in Buffalo, I took the PATH train to Jersey City for the baby blessing of Miles Henry Rees, my second cousin once removed, in a very nice backyard ceremony.
Miles' mother, my cousin Jennifer (Braunstein) Rees, is a celebrant and the ceremony was led by one of her colleagues. It included participation by Jennifer; her husband, David; their three-year-old, Sayer; and Miles' two grandmothers.
On Sunday afternoon, I ventured out on the Long Island Railroad (along with a bunch of Mets fans en route to Shea Stadium) to St. Mary's in Manhasset for the baptism of Andrew Vincent Manago, two-month-old son o' Greg and Mary. Greg was one of the first friends I made during my freshman year at NYU. I couldn't believe I was watching his first-born get baptised.
Prior to the baptism, I attended the Noon Mass at St. Mary's. The Gospel included perhaps the most well-remembered of Jesus' parables -- The Good Samaritan. It's a lesson I pray Miles Henry and Andrew Vincent will live out in their lives.
From Luke Chapter 10:
There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”
He said in reply,
"You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart,
with all your being,
with all your strength,
and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.”
He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”
But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
“A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead.
A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.
But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him.
The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’
Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”
He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.”
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”