Feast of the Archangels

John 1: 47-51
Dn 7: 9-10,13-14 / 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 coming towards him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’

Reflection

These words of Jesus that end the first chapter of John’s Gospel refer to the dream that the patriarch Jacob had at Bethel when he fled from the rage of his brother Esau. In his dream he saw a ladder reaching up to heaven, and on it thousands of angels were ascending and descending. (Gen.28:12) For acknowledging Jesus as “the Son of God, the King of Israel,” Nathanael was assured of seeing the glory of God in His majestic host of angels as Jacob did in his vision.

Today is a special feast to honor what many people do not give much importance to, either because they don’t believe, or just take for granted the reality of angels. The Bible mentions angels more than 300 times. These celestial beings are spirits created with superior intelligence and will, immortal creatures who serve as God’s messengers, and protectors of men. “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) The most prominent leaders of the angels (called Archangels) are Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Michael is the head of the angelic forces who defeated Satan and his demons. He is revered as the defender of the Church. The archangel Gabriel announced the birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah, and to the Virgin Mary proclaimed that she was to become the mother of the Messiah. Raphael is mentioned in the Old Testament book of Tobit as the angel who healed his blindness, and guided and protected his son Tobiah in his travels.

We need to pray to our guardian angel. They are not only God’s messengers, but are there also to intercede for us, and protect us. God’s Word in Psalm 91 says, “He will put you in His angel’s charge, and guard you wherever you go.” (Ps.91:11) 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.

Dear Saint Michael, our Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protector against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. Do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen. (Prayer of Pope Leo XIII)

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