Scripture: 1st Reading: Daniel7,9-10,13-14; Resp. Psalm: Ps138,1-5; Gosp. Accl.: Ps103,21; Gospel: Jn1,47-51
The archangels whose Feast we celebrate today are protector, messenger and healer. They are the only angels mentioned by name in scripture. They are the ministering servants or spirits, angels, that is, spirit beings, sent by God for service to the world. As part of God's creation, they were made out of nothing from the beginning of time. They are spiritual, non corporeal creatures that form part of the hosts of the unseen creation that we profess in the creed.
According to St. Augustine, "'Angel is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is 'spirit'; if you seek the name of their office, it is 'angel': from what they are, 'spirit's, from what they do, 'angel.'"
Our faith teaches us, based on the evidence of scripture, that the angels are both servants and messengers of God. The angels stand perpetually in the presence of God. They behold the face of God. They are the hosts that do the bidding of the Almighty. The angels in their order, perform different roles: the cherubim and seraphim who sing in the presence of God, the heavenly army who have the mandate to defend the children of God, the guardian angels who guide, guard and watch over them.
The angels join the church in the praise and worship of the Almighty God. They perform the roles of intercessors and guides for the pilgrim children of God. They assist us in our prayers. We see a particular revelation of the majesty and glory of God in the archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.
These ministering spirits were active in scripture: Michael as the head of the heavenly army that drove satan out of Paradise, as attested to in the book of Revelation (Rev12,7-12). We identify this archangel with a sword and in Christian art, he always stands on top of the dragon, a mystical representation of satan.
Gabriel is the angel of good tidings. We see this archangel very active at the Annunciation. This was the greatest role ever performed by this archangel: the announcement of the Incarnation and the birth of the Saviour of the world. Raphael is the physician, the archangel who brings relief and succour to the sick
The vision of Prophet Daniel today reveals the presence of angels in the court of heaven. Daniel saw the vision of the throne in heaven with the Ancient of days seated on it. Before Him were thousand thousands and ten thousand times ten thousands that stood before the ancient of days. Our Lord in the gospel also attested to the reality and active role of angels.
In his discourse with Nathaniel who privately had repudiated Nazareth as a place nothing good can come out of, our Lord rebuked Nathaniel that he would see greater things especially when the heaven opened and he saw the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
The angels assist us in our pilgrimage through life. They care for us and intercede for us. As we celebrate the feast of these archangels, let us thank the Lord who gave them to us. Let us ask Him to give us the grace to imitate their virtues of service, constancy and presence. May the archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael continue to intercede for us.
Let us pray: "O God, who dispose in marvellous order the ministries both angelic and human, graciously grant, that our life may be defended by those who watch over us as they minister perpetually to you in heaven." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.