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Catholic Activity: Jesse Tree, Day 22 — John the Baptist



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Symbols: Shell, grasshopper, camel hair, sandal, river

John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:6-8)

Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (Isaiah 40:3)

St. John the Baptist was the son of Mary's cousin Elizabeth and Zechariah. He was the last of the prophets and the precursor of Christ. He is also the cousin of Jesus. He baptized Jesus in the Jordan, and was beheaded by King Herod.

The shell with three water drops is a symbol of baptism generally, and particularly of the baptism of Christ. The three droplets remind us of the Trinity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — into which Christians are baptized. The shell alone may also be used as a symbol for pilgrimage and is often used as an emblem for saints known for their travels or whose shrines have become destinations for pilgrims.


Recommended Readings:

  • Isaiah 40:3-5
  • Matthew 3:1-12
  • Matthew 11:2-15
  • Matthew 14:1-12
  • Mark 1:1-8
  • John 1:6-13

Selections from The Catechism of the Catholic Church:

  • CCC 717-720 John, precursor, prophet, and baptist
  • CCC 523 The Preparations for the Jesus' Hidden Life
  • CCC 535 The Baptism of Jesus
  • CCC 608 "The Lamb who takes away the sin of the world"
  • CCC 696 Symbolism of Fire
  • CCC 1223 Christ's Baptism
  • CCC 2684 A cloud of witnesses

Jesse Tree Overview
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Printable PDF Jesse Tree guide: The Jesse Tree: Advent 2023

Activity Source: Original Text (JGM) by Jennifer Gregory Miller, © Copyright 2003-2023 by Jennifer Gregory Miller