September 29, 2014

Archangels

September 29, 2014:  SS. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels

Look
  • White shirt:  "His clothing was bright as snow, and his hair white as wool" (1st reading)
  • 'Lamb' tie bar:  "They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb" (alt. 1st reading)
  • Tie:  "I will sing your praises, Lord" (psalm)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  "When I called, you answered me" (psalm)
    • 3 angel pins:  Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael; "in the sight of the angels I'll sing your praises" (psalm); "you'll see God's angels ascending and descending..." (gospel)
    • 'Tree' pin: "I saw you under the fig tree" (gospel)
    Listen

    The struggle between God and the devil takes place after Satan seeks to destroy the woman about to give birth.  Satan seduces to destroy; many projects for our dehumanization are his work.  Astute, he presents things as good.  The angels defend us and defend Christ, the perfection of humanity.  Our task is to safeguard Jesus who gives life to all, but Satan has invented explanations that go against humanity and against God.  This struggle is a daily reality in Christian life; if we don't struggle, we'll be defeated.  The angels do battle and win:  "Now have salvation and power come, and the kingdom of God and the authority of his Anointed.  For the accuser is cast out....”  Pray to the archangels.  Recite the prayer to the archangel Michael so he may continue to defend the greatest mystery:  that the Word was made flesh, died, and rose.

    Read

    • Dn 7:9-10, 13-14  The Ancient One took his throne, clothing bright, hair white; his throne was flames of fire, and myriads attended him.  Court was convened, and one like a son of man was presented and received everlasting dominion.
      Fig tree close-up (see original image)
      from words of today's reading
      Click here for animation
    • Rv 12:7-12ab  War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels overcame the dragon and its angels.  The dragon, called Satan, and its angels were thrown to earth.  “Salvation, power, God's Kingdom, and his Anointed's authority have come; the accuser is cast out, conquered by the Blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.  Rejoice!”
    • Ps 138:1-5  "In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord."  You heard and answered me; you made your name and promise great.  Kings shall thank you and sing, "Great is the glory of the Lord."
    • Jn 1:47-51  Jesus, seeing Nathanael:  “There is no duplicity in him.” / “How do you know me?” / “I saw you under the fig tree.” / “You're the Son of God, the King of Israel.” / “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree?  You'll see greater things; you'll see heaven opened and God's angels ascending and descending.”
    Reflect
    • St. Gregory's famous homily on the Archangels:  “Angel” denotes function, not nature. Heavenly spirits are only called angels when they deliver a message; archangels are the ones who proclaim supremely important messages, as Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary the greatest of all messages.  Some angels are given names to denote the service they perform.  Whenever a powerful act must be performed such as battling Satan, Michael is sent, making clear no one can do what God does.  So too Gabriel, "God's strength," was sent to Mary to announce the humble One who would quell the cosmic powers.  Raphael, "God's remedy," touched Tobit’s eyes to banish the darkness of his blindness.
      • Creighton:  God needs to intervene into human experience.  In the Gospel Jesus finds Philip, then Nathanael, Nathaniel finds Jesus has seen and knows him, and Nathaniel responds.
      • One Bread One Body:  "God's SWAT team"  Angels appear in the Bible as men or gigantic creatures, not fat babies with wings; they attack demons.  Rejoice in spiritual warfare; we're "super-conquerors" in Christ (Rm 8:37).
      • Passionist:  "Angels are created spirits without bodies....  The good angels help us by praying for us, by acting as messengers from God to us, and by serving as our guardian angels." (New Baltimore Catechism)  "Everything said about [angels] in the Bible proclaims the marvelous truth:  God is concerned for us in a thousand ways." ("Dutch Catechism")
      • DailyScripture.net:  Jesus revealed to Nathanael how God sees our hearts and invites us to communion with him.  God's word brings blessing and refreshment for those who reflect on it.  Jesus offers peace and friendship with God.  Jesus promises we'll dwell with God.  God's angels serve us and watch over us.  Jesus unites earth and heaven in himself.  Jesus gives us free access to God's presence.
      • Universalis:  
        • Michael ("Who is like God?"), leader of the heavenly host
        • Gabriel ("God's speaking power/messenger/strength") appeared in Daniel to explain visions; he bore the Annunciation to Mary.
        • Raphael ("God's healing/protecting power") healed blind Tobit.