Feast of the Archangels

John 1: 47-51
Dn 7: 9-10. 13-14 or Rv 12: 7-12 / Ps 138: 1-5

. . . you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.
(John 1: 51)

God’s angels help us be aware
That not all things are what they seem,
And we can only trust in prayer
To counter Satan’s lying schemes.

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, He said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” Nathanael asked Him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.” He then added, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (John 1: 47-51)

Reflection

When Philip told Nathanael about Jesus, at first he sounded skeptical, saying, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” When Philip brought Nathanael before Jesus, our Lord did not rebuke him for his skepticism, but even praised him, saying, “Here is a true Israelite. There is no duplicity in him.” These words were enough to melt away whatever doubts or skepticism Nathanael might have had about Jesus. In fact his skepticism turned to wonder: “How do you know me?” When Jesus replied, “I saw you under the fig tree,” a great transformation occurred to Nathanael. Completely acknowledging his Master, he said, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel” (Jn. 1:49). Instead of rebuking Nathanael for belittling His hometown of Nazareth, our Lord seemed to do exactly the opposite – exalting him, calling him a “true Israelite”. But do we detect a touch of sarcasm in those words – “no duplicity in him”? The very first named “Israel” was Jacob, but it was his duplicity that robbed his elder brother Esau of his birthright.

Nathanael was clearly touched by the power of Jesus’ words, because his question seemed apologetic: “How do you know me?” When the Lord said, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under a fig tree,” he was all the more astounded because he probably was under a fig tree at the time, and Jesus was nowhere in sight. And so he professed his belief in Jesus as the Son of God. To this, our Lord replied, “You will see greater things than this. . . the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” And again, Jesus referred to Jacob, in an allusion to the ladder of heaven in Genesis 28:12.

Today we celebrate the feast of the Archangels. Angels figure prominently in the Bible as God’s messengers. “They are the mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word” (Psalm 103:20). Angels play an important role in God’s plan of salvation, as we read in Hebrews: “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?” (Heb.1:14) Angels are also our protectors and guardians. Psalm 91:11 says, “He will put you in His angel’s charge to guard you in all yours ways.” I believe my Guardian Angel saved me in a number of near-death experiences. Personally, I believe God assigns a heavenly bodyguard to each of His children here on earth to support us in the spiritual battle against the evil forces in this world. Let us remember to thank God and honor our Archangels and Guardian Angels today.

Lord God, we praise and thank You for the guidance and protection that we enjoy in the presence of Your holy angels. Grant that we may always be faithful to Your will, confident that they will ward off all evil influences that threaten our relationship with you. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, and in Jesus’ Name, we dedicate our life to You. Amen.

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