“The heavens opened and the Spirit descended upon him like a dove.”

Mark 1:10

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Mark 1:7-11

“John saw Jesus coming towards him, and said: This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. I saw the Spirit come down on him like a dove from heaven and rest on him. I did not know him myself, but he who sent me to baptise with water had said to me, the man on whom you see the Spirit come down and rest is the one who is to baptise with the Holy Spirit.” (John 1:29,32-33)

John’s Gospel suggests that until the moment when the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus, John the Baptist did not know that Jesus was the one who was sent. Perhaps he had wondered. But it is in this moment that the clear sign is given, not only for Jesus but for John too, that Jesus is the one who is “the Chosen one of God.” (John 1:33).

I wonder what that moment was like for John. The moment signalled the fulfilment of the mission for which John the Baptist was born. He knows now that his life and preaching have been preparing the way for his cousin, Jesus. I imagine that they may have spent time together later that day wondering at the unimaginable workings of God in their lives.  Later, when John is asked about it, he expresses his joy and says that while the bridegroom has the bride, the bridegroom’s friend, who stands and listens, is filled with joy saying: “this is the joy I feel and it is complete.” (John 3:29.)

Where can we witness and attest to God’s work in the lives of those around us? Does it fill us with joy?

Loving God,

Help us to notice how you are at work in the lives of those around us. To be a support and an encouragement to them. To be generous in rejoicing in what we see that you are doing in and through them.


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
See more from Annemarie Paulin-Campbell
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