Today’s feast is about three archangels – Michael, Gabriel and Raphael – who the church calls saints.
Michael means “who is like God” and this angel is seen as a protector. Michael is named in the Book of Revelation. Here Michael defeats Satan with the other fallen angels. We often think of Michael as fighting the devil and winning.
Gabriel means “hero of God” and this angel is known as one who announces. We usually associate Gabriel as the angel who appeared to Mary and to Zechariah foretelling the births of John the Baptist and Jesus.
Raphael means “God has healed” and this angel is depicted as a guide. In the Book of Tobit Raphael is the guide on Tobias’ journey and eventually instructs Tobias what to do to heal Tobit’s blindness.
Which of these appeals or touches you in your life? Which angel should we call upon to guide us in our world today? I propose all three.
Raphael is needed in our world to help us heal the ills we confront daily. Yes, we need to heal the physical disease of the Coronavirus. There are also so many other ills in our world, – racism, discrimination, care for the poor and so many other evils.
We can use the good news that Gabriel can announce. We certainly can use some good news today. Sometimes the good news can seem perplexing like the way Mary felt as a young unmarried pregnant teen. Like Mary it takes courage to be faithful and trusting in the Word, the good news, that God sends us.
Michael is the least attractive to me. It makes me think of war and violence. Yet we do need to wage war against the violence in our cities and towns. Sometimes waging war can happen by standing tall for peace; other times it can mean to step out of the crowd to confront the situation right in front of us.
The gospel for the feast of the Angels is about the call of Nathanael. Jesus tells Nathanael: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man”. May we call upon God to send Raphael, Gabriel, and Michael to our world to help us find ways bring about more peaceful, life giving good news to heal our bodies, spirits and our earth.