Scripture: Mark 1:4-11
In this opening scene of Mark’s Gospel, we are introduced to John the Baptist and Jesus. When I first read this passage with the thought of reflecting on it for this booket, what leaped into my mind was: How did John feel as he baptized Jesus, with the voice of God saying to Jesus, “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.”
Were John and Jesus raised together? As we learn in Luke 1:36, their mothers were related and they were pregnant at the same time. Elizabeth was in her sixth month when the angel Gabriel visited Mary to tell her that she would conceive and bear Jesus. According to Luke, he also told her that her kinswoman, Elizabeth, had become pregnant in her “old age.” Mary went to visit Elizabeth in the hill country of Judah and stayed with Elizabeth for three months. I can imagine that they found comfort and support as they each contemplated Mary’s unusual and miraculous impending motherhood. Judah is not far removed from Nazareth, the place where we assume Jesus spent his youth. It is entirely possible that they grew up as loving cousins.
We do know that John began his ministry first, and was well-known from Jerusalem to Judah, baptizing many in the River Jordan and preaching about repentance. Yet when Jesus appeared, John was sufficiently wise and humble to recognize that his role was to prepare the way for the One who would baptize not only with water, but with the Holy Spirit. John could be likened to the baker of bread, while Jesus transforms it into Sacrament.
With the accepting attitude of John as example, my task is clear. With the help of the Holy Spirit and in the knowledge that I am a beloved child of God, I will carry out, with enthusiasm and joy, the role gifted to me, to the best of my ability. Each of us has her/his own part in the great drama. Whether doves descend or voices speak, or not, we are called to be faithful to the Creator of the play.
By Elizabeth Campbell
Creator God, may the power of your Holy Spirit descend upon me and remind me that I am your beloved Child, even as Jesus is your beloved Son. AMEN