the gathering storm clouds
"From that day onward there was a plan afoot to kill Him." —John 11:53
The Book of Signs, which is the first half of John's Gospel, is coming to a conclusion. Jesus has just performed His seventh and final sign, the raising of Lazarus from the dead. In giving new life to Lazarus, Jesus will pay with His own life. Jesus will die instead of the people, so that the people will not perish (Jn 11:50). Jesus will give His life "to gather into one all the dispersed children of God" (Jn 11:52).
"Despite His many signs performed in their presence, they refused to believe in Him" (Jn 12:37). The hearts of sinful humanity are too hard to be converted only by miracles (see Lk 16:31). Now Jesus will make the transition from the ministry of signs and wonders to His ministry of redemptive suffering. His loving suffering will reduce men and women to silence (Is 52:15) and pierce the hardest hearts, leading them to repentance.
The storm clouds are gathering, and the troops of the evil one are mustering for battle. The war for souls is on. During this Holy Week, spend time each day praying before a crucifix for your own deeper conversion as well as the conversion of those who do not believe. May your intercession this week at the foot of the cross "prepare the way of the Lord" (Is 40:3) for an epidemic of repentance and conversion during Holy Week.
Prayer: Father, may thousands of people who do not believe in Jesus come to experience and receive His saving love for them this week.
Promise: "I will turn their mourning into joy, I will console and gladden them after their sorrows." —Jer 31:13
Praise: St. Toribio, archbishop of Lima, tried to correct injustices in Peru. He was told that these injustices were the customs and the law of the land. Toribio replied: "Christ called Himself the Truth, not custom." St. Toribio, pray to deliver us from our "custom" of abortion.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, September 13, 2012
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