“Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised in the Jordan by John.”

Mark 1:9

Monday, 11 January 2021

Mark 1:7-11

There is something compelling about this encounter of Jesus with his cousin John in the Jordan. These two men knew each other from before they were born. When Mary, newly pregnant with Jesus arrived at Elizabeth’s house, Elizabeth told her, “The moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy.” John in utero recognised Jesus.

We know nothing about how the two grew up and whether John and Jesus spent much time together. They would likely have had some encounters as children and young adults as they each discerned their calling. Perhaps some of their conversations were about the growing sense of their identity and mission.

It is powerful that, at this moment when Jesus is on the brink of his ministry, it is John who passes on the torch. John’s role was to prepare the hearts and minds of people to receive Jesus as the Messiah. Now Jesus has returned from the desert, ready to begin his ministry and John is there at the moment of Jesus’ Baptism, which marks the beginning of his public life.

Sometimes some people play a significant role in preparing the way for our own life’s ministry. People who see something more of who we are and who we are called to become.

Is there a John the Baptist in your life? Someone who has prepared the way for you, whether a grandparent, a parent, a teacher or mentor. Today may be a good day to thank God for that person’s contribution in your life – and perhaps even to thank them.

Gracious God,

At pivotal moments in our lives, may we be open to the gift of those you send to be our “John the Baptist”, to help us as we step into becoming more fully who you call us to be.


Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell

Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell has worked in the area of Ignatian Spirituality for 19 years and heads up the work of the Jesuit Institute School of Spirituality. Her primary focus is the training and supervision of spiritual directors and the giving of retreats. She is also a registered Psychologist and her PhD focused on the interface between Christian Spirituality and Psychology. Annemarie is an editorial advisor to “The Way” journal of Spirituality and has authored a number of articles relating to the training of Spiritual Directors in an African context. She has contributed to several books, most recently co-authoring a book of Lenten Reflections: “Long Journey to the Resurrection”. She has contributed to international conferences and consultations in Spirituality in the United Kingdom; the United States; Rome; Spain, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

a.paulin-campbell@jesuitinstitute.org.za @annemariepc_c
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