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Learning to be Guided by the Holy Spirit


Each week during Lent you are invited to join one of the Brothers as they reflect on God’s word in Scripture. Today Br John McMahon offers some thoughts on the Readings for the First Sunday of Lent.

‘Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert’ (Matthew 4:1)

(First Sunday of Lent)

This weekend we come to the first Sunday of Lent.  The liturgy of the day picks up stories from the Old and New Testaments.  We read part of the second creation story in the Book of Genesis and then Matthew’s account of the temptations of Jesus in the Gospel.  Paul, in the second reading seems to tie these two themes together, distinguishing between the ‘transgression’ of Adam and Eve in responding to their temptations and the ‘righteous’ way Jesus handles the temptations he experiences. Jesus remains true to his call as Son of God. 

The part of the creation story we read focuses on the failure of Adam and Eve to follow the call of God. In contrast Jesus is able to overcome the temptations put to him by the devil – to turn stones into bread, to allow himself to face physical harm in the hope of being saved by an angel and to worship Satan rather than God. These are tough challenges demanding Jesus’ trust in the Father’s call. 


Matthew’s passage on the temptations of Jesus reminds us of how, over a forty year period, the God of the Old Testament led the Jewish people through the desert to the Promised Land. They travelled together and at times they failed. Jesus, after forty days in the wilderness, was confronted by the devil with the same three temptations as the people of Israel. He stood steadfast and overcame the challenges.

We Marists are blessed to have each other, whether in community, in our workplaces or in our friendship groups. We can assist one another with the journey of life, the temptations and the challenges. This is a great gift. Like Mary and Marcellin, may we continue to trust in the Holy Spirit to guide us and strengthen us in our trials. 

Thought:  We are sometimes challenged by the evil spirit to make inappropriate compromises.

Prayer: Loving God may your Spirit guide us so we will recognise when we are being challenged to compromise. Prevent us from becoming disheartened and help us to move forward courageously, like Mary, confident in your love.


Br John McMahon, FMS has been a teacher and school principal in Marist schools, Director of Champagnat Education and teacher at Australian Catholic University.  Currently he is a member of the Marist Mission and Life Formation Team in which he focuses on developing Marist Tertiary Programs to provide staff with the opportunity for Marist professional learning.  John lives at Templestowe in Melbourne and unashamedly supports Collingwood.

Greg McDonald