Saint Stephen's Statue.

ST. STEPHEN'S

CATHOLIC CHURCH

 

12, Gbeto Street, Off Iwaya Road, Onike-Iwaya, Yaba-Lagos.
info@ststepheniwaya.org

Saint Stephen's Building.
 

 

Scripture: 1st Reading: Zech8,1-8; Resp. Psalm: Ps102,16-23,29; Gosp. Accl.: Mk10,45; Gospel: Lk9,46-50

Memorial of the Holy Guardian AngelsIn today's Gospel passage, a dispute arose among disciples, the closest collaborators of our Lord, about positions and status, authority and power. Up till this time, the disciples had not understood who our Lord was and the essence of our Lord's mission. They had not even understood why He came and the character of His coming. Their dispute over who was the greatest among them revealed them at this time of their journey of discipleship as opportunistic group of persons who wanted to use our Lord to climb up the social ladder.

This was why in this particular recount of the episode in Luke's gospel, our Lord made known to them the real goal of why He came and what the focus of every disciple should be: the simplicity, humility, self-forgetfulness, acceptance, open-mindedness of a child. A child has the heart of gold. So by proposing this imagery, our Lord simply taught them that the attributes of a child are what any disciple needs to arrive at greatness. But that was not all.

Our Lord also proposed another one: the least, the one who does what people consider as insignificant, but who does it with love, devotion, passion and commitment, is the greatest. So greatness is not measured by how loud one's service is to the body of Christ and to humanity; greatness is measured by the amount of love, commitment and self sacrifice one puts into what one has been called to do.

In this same gospel passage of today, the disciples saw a man casting out devils in the name of Jesus who was not one of those who followed Him. In response, our Lord established that whoever is not against us, even if the person does not necessarily move within our circle of close friends or collaborators and does not necessarily share our vision but the person is not against us, is for us. In other words, not all who do not share our vision of reality is an enemy.

Today we celebrate the memorial of our Holy Guardian Angels. Service is what the Guardian Angels perform on behalf of each of us. The word of God attests to the presence of these spiritual beings that are given the responsibility by God to watch over, guide our thoughts, words, actions and deeds and protect us from evil. Our Guardian Angels are thus our constant armour and protection against the insidious attacks of satan, the arch enemy of our salvation.

In Ex23,20-23, Yahweh declared that He had sent an angel before His people to guard them on their way and bring them to the place He had prepared for them. He charged Israel to listen to and obey the voice of its guardian angel, because the angel would not pardon Israel's transgressions, because as the messenger Yahweh sent to protect Israel, Yahweh's holy name is in Him. But when Israel listened and obeyed the voice of this heavenly protector, the guardian angel will go before Israel and fight Israel's battles for them.

Psalm 91 also attests to the presence of these angels that Yahweh had commanded to keep those in all their ways all those who seek His shelter and abide in His shade. In the account of the episode of the disciples' argument about who was greatest, our Lord ended His teaching on that occasion by saying that no one should "despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven."

The existence of the Guardian Angels for each of us demonstrate the love, care and protection of God over each of us. The presence of these spiritual beings at our sides show us that we are important in the sight of God and that God does not want any of us to come into any harm. This is why it is important to have a personal relationship with our Guardian Angels, to talk to them in our prayers and seek their guidance and direction whenever we want to do anything important in our lives.

The prayer to the Guardian Angel is a powerful prayer that we should not fail to pray daily: "Angel of God, my Guardian dear, to whom His love commits me here, ever this day, be at my side to light and guard, to rule and guide". Amen. May our Guardian Angels continue to intercede for us and protect us from all dangers and harm.

Let us pray: "O God, who in your unfathomable providence are pleased to send your holy Angels to guard us, hear our supplication as we cry to you, that we may always be defended by their protection and rejoice eternally in their company." Amen.

May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.

 

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