September 29, Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels
Daily Readings: Dn 7: 9-10. 13-14 or Rv 12: 7-12a/ Ps 138: 1-2ab. 2cde-3. 4-5/ Jn 1: 47-51
In the OT, angels appear often as watchers (Dan 4: 13), cherubim (Gen 3: 24), and seraphim (Is 6: 2). They serve as guardians and guides, messengers, and catalysts. Angels rescue Hagar (Gen 16) and visit judgment upon Sodom (Gen 19). They go before Israel, leading the chosen people into the Holy Land (Ex 32: 34). They bring God’s word to the prophets (1Kg 13: 18). Angels are mediators (Job 33: 23), deliverers (Dan 3; 28), redeemers (Gen 48: 16), warriors (2 Chr. 32: 21), agents of creation (Ps 104: 4), and agents of destruction (2 Sam 24: 16). In Christ’s birth - they were involved in the naming of the baby (Lk 2: 21); They informed Joseph of Herod’s plot to kill Jesus (Mt 2: 13); they instructed the Holy Family to flee to Egypt (Mt 2: 13-14); They instructed them on when they could safely return from Egypt (Mt 2: 19-21). This tells us that we are always surrounded by a great company of angels and there is nothing to fear or worry.
The Church recognizes the existence of three Archangels: Michael (‘one who is like God’), Gabriel (‘God’s Power’) and Raphael (‘God’s Doctor’). Since ancient times, we have considered the fact that the angelic hosts are organized into a sort of Heavenly Court, in which the angels have different ranks and graces. The three Archangels occupy the highest domains of this angelic hierarchy. Their own names suggest their roles and their nature: all end with “El”, which signifies “God”.
The Sacred Scripture attributes a particular mission to each Archangel. Michael is the warrior who fights against Satan and his emissaries (Jn 9, Ap 12, 7, cf. Zec 13: 1-2), the defender of those who love God (Dn 10, 13.21), and the protector of the people of God (Dn. 12, 1). Gabriel is one of the spirits closest to God, before his heavenly throne (Lk 1, 19), the one who revealed to Daniel the secrets of God’s plan (Dn 8, 16; 9, 21-22), announced to Zechariah the birth of John the Baptist (Lk 1, 11-20) and to Mary that of Jesus (Lk 1, 26-38). Raphael stands before the throne of God (Tb 12, 15, see Rev 8: 2), accompanied and protected Tobias in his perilous journey and healed his father from blindness and his future bride from the influence of evil. In general, therefore, the task of the three Archangels is to communicate God’s Will to human beings in various ways, to be an inspiration for human beings, and be the catalysts of divine grace for them. Do we seek the protection and guidance of the archangels?
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