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Essay: Baby Jesus and Baby Emma

I like it when a Scripture story about Jesus reminds me of my granddaughter Emma.

In this weekend’s Gospel, Jesus, just over a month old, is taken to be presented in the Temple in Jerusalem. It was an important ritual for first-born sons in Judaism.  I can easily picture him there, a small bundle of sleeping — or maybe crying — baby in his mother’s or father’s arms, the center of attention for a lot of adults.

It’s easy to picture that scene because I just watched Emma go through a similar ceremony for her Baptism at the end of October.

She was two and a half months old, a little older than Jesus, and she was a perfect angel and even seemed mildly curious as our former pastor, Father Dom Grassi, read all the prayers.  The only time she cried was when he told Satan to leave.  I’m not sure what that means.

Emma was baptized at St. Clement Church in Lincoln Park where my wife Cathy and I met and were married, and where her parents, our son David and our daughter-in-law Tara, are now attending.

All of us adults were around the altar with Emma, enveloping her with our love, as, two millenniums ago, Mary and Joseph, Anna and Simeon, enveloped that little baby Jesus with love.

Yes, there were great and even scary things said at that time about Jesus.  Even so, he was just a little baby like Emma.

I like to think of Jesus as a baby.  As one of us.

Patrick T. Reardon




Emma, newborn, and her grandfather




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