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Darlene Howard

First Sunday in Lent

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.” (Mk. 1:12-13)       

In this First Sunday of Lent, Jesus meets us where we are. We have just experienced the Wonder & Awe of his birth (Lk. 2:17-18), the grand gesture of the Gifts of the Wise Men (Mt. 2:10-11), his presentation to the Lord in the Temple where Anna praised and blessed him (Lk. 2:38), John recognizing him and announcing to his disciples that he was the Lamb of God; (Jn. 1:35-36), the choosing and gathering of his disciples (Mk. 1:16-17), the curing of Peter’s mother in law, then saying to his disciples, “Come let us go to the village to preach the Gospel, for this purpose have I come here” (Mk. 1:37-39).

Today, Jesus says to us, You have been witnesses to my life so far, and if you are ready to take it to the next level of love and commitment, pick up your cross and follow me. Do we have enough faith and conviction to say, Yes, Lord, here I am; I come to do your will?

The Old Testament teaches, “The Lord himself with go before you and will be with you; He will never leave you, nor forsake you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged” (Dt. 3:18). Remember, Jesus was ministered to in the desert by Angels, he was not alone. Today, the Son of God promises He will do the same for you and me. If we but TRUST.

The Spirit provides for and gives us everything we need for the journey, but we must recognize that he is leading us. Here are four things about being led by the Holy Spirit that can help us this Lenten Season:

First, we must listen for His Voice. Elijah, in 1 Kings 19:11-13, was looking for the Lord in the wind, the earthquake, and the fire, but the Lord spoke to him in a still, small voice. So don’t let distraction cause you to miss His voice.

Second, we must tune our hearts to His voice. We must listen for His voice and prompting in every situation. Deepening our relationship with Him by meditating on His word or just sitting in His presence will help with that tuning.

Third, obey what we hear. He doesn’t speak to us, so we can decide if we will obey. God reveals Himself to those who are obedient to do His will.

Fourth, allow Him to lead us step-by-step. Let Him be our spiritual GPS. The Holy Spirit will reveal what our next step should be. “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons and daughters of God” (Rm. 8:14)

As we embark on this Lenten Journey, let it not be filled with false intentions, make-believe attempts at justice-making, and distorted images of love. But, let it be one of truth and self-discernment. Then, we can confidently say that we are sons and daughters of God.

The gospel ended with Jesus proclaiming, “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel. (Mk. 1:14-15) The Holy Spirit gives us the power to be bold and effective witnesses for Christ. 2 Timothy 1:7 encourages us: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. So, let us use this POWERful knowledge to lovingly challenge ourselves and others to experience the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives during this Lenten Season.



Author: Darlene Howard, Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, Lake Charles, Louisiana.

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Beautiful reflection, Darlene.

I especially liked the 4 things of being led by the Spirit. The steps seem so simple, yet profound and necessary to help me to be close to Jesus and discern what He desires of me during my Lenten journey and throughout entire life.

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Thanks Marla. Let's prepare for a Sacred and Blessed Holy Week.


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