Today we celebrate the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.
We know Michael, “Who is like God,” as the great fighter for God against Lucifer and the bad angels. Gabriel, “Strength of God,” it was who brought the good news of our salvation to Mary at the annunciation; presumably Gabriel also informed Zechariah about the birth of the Precursor John the Baptist. Raphael, “Medicine of God,” cured Tobit and blessed Tobias and Sara in their marriage. Raphael told Tobit, “I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of holy people and who stand before the glory of God.” (Tb 12: 15)
The Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael had special roles in the Scriptures as messengers of God. Michael is often depicted and prayed to as a key lead fighter against evil and the enemies of God. Michael is a protector of the Church. Gabriel is forever associated with Mary at the Annunciation. Because of his role in the Book of Tobit, Raphael is prayed to for medical healing.
There is another celebration of the angels in the liturgical calendar, the Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels on October 2. We believe that God has given or assigned a Guardian Angel for each human being.
There are many instances in the Scriptures where God’s presence is seen through an angel. In today’s Gospel reading Jesus speaks of “the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
In teaching the disciples on “the greatest in the kingdom of heaven,” Jesus sets a child in their midst, “I assure you that unless you change and become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes lowly like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever receives such a child in my name receives me.” (Mt 18: 1 – 4) And Jesus adds, “See that you do not despise any of these little ones, for I tell you: their angels in heaven continually see the face of the heavenly Father.” (Mt 18: 10)
We thank God for his loving care for us through the angels.