Homily (Reflection) for the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels (29th September, 2017) on the Gospel and the Feast
Dan 7:9-10.13-14 or Rev 12:7-12;
Ps 137:1-5. (R. v.1);
The Sacred Scriptures revealed the proper names of only three Angels: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. The title “Archangel” is given only to Saint Michael, but the sacred tradition and the liturgy of the Church attribute the same title to Saint Gabriel and Saint Raphael. These are spoken of as Archangels simply because they were entrusted with extraordinary missions.
Michael means “Who is as God?” His name is a battle cry; both shield and weapon in the struggle, and an eternal trophy of victory. The name of Archangel Michael first appeared in the prophet Daniel, cf. Dan 10:13. He also appeared in Dan 10:21. 12:1; Jude 1:9, and Rev 12:7.
The name Gabriel means “Man of God” or “Strength of God”. Gabriel announced the coming of Saint John the Baptist, cf. Lk 1:11-19. He also announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she would conceive of the Holy Spirit, cf. Lk 1:26-37.
Raphael means “God heals,” or the “Divine healer.” In the book of Tobit chapters 5 through 12, Raphael was of immense help especially to Tobit, Tobias, and Sarah. He acted in human form, cf. Tob 5:5-14; Heb 13:2.
Topic: Angels of God.
In today’s gospel, when Jesus described Nathaniel as “an Israelite in whom there is no deceit,” he queried, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus told him that He saw him under the fig tree before Philip called him. Nathaniel replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” And Jesus said to him,
Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.... Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.
As we celebrate the Archangels, it is important to understand the name angel in a broader sense. One can be certain that the name refers to a spirit who is God’s servant in heaven if it is qualified or based on the circumstances, cf. Gen 28:12. 32:1; Ps 91:11; Lk 12:8.
We often think of angels only as spirits who are God’s servants in heaven. However, the bible tells us that it refers to much more. The book of Revelation reveals that the devil has his own angels, cf. Rev 12:7.
Jesus said that those who are considered worthy of a place in heave are like angels and are children of God, cf. Lk 20:35-36. Angels of God are spirits in the divine service, sent to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation, cf. Heb 1:14.
Angels of God are our friends and our companions on our journey. We can call on them for assistance. The Psalmist wrote, “He has given his angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways” (Ps 91:11). So, we can invoke them whenever we need divine assistance. More also, we are to be angels of God to others.
Bible Reading: Ps 91:1-16.
Thought for today: You are an angel.
Let us pray: Lord, as we celebrate your archangels, Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, help us to be true servants of yours – Amen.
Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael – Pray for us.
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