29TH SEPTEMBER 2022
THE FEAST OF THE ARCHANGELS
Today is the feast of the Archangels. There are three archangels mentioned by name in Scripture, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Michael protects the people of God. According to the book of Revelation, he was God’s agent in defeating Satan in heaven and casting him down to earth. Raphael, acting as God’s agent, heals the blindness of Tobias in the book of Tobit. Gabriel proclaims God’s message to Zechariah and to Mary at the beginning of Luke’s gospel. There are spiritual beings who act on God’s behalf in relation to God’s people, protecting, healing and proclaiming God’s word.
In the gospel reading, Jesus speaks of the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man. This is a reference to the dream of Jacob in the Book of Genesis. Jacob dreamt that he saw the angels of God ascending and descending on a ladder connecting heaven and earth. Jacob came to realize that the place where he was speaking was being touched by heaven and he went on to call that place Bethel, House of God. The archangels brought a touch of heaven to earth in the Scriptures.
However, in the gospel reading Jesus is suggesting by his image of the angels of God ascending and descending upon him that he is uniquely the meeting place of heaven and earth. He, above all, is the one where heaven touches earth, where God encounters humanity. These are the ‘greater things’ that Jesus invites Nicodemus and all of us to recognize. The risen Lord is with us today as the one who brings something of heaven to earth. He calls us and empowers us to go forth in his name as his messengers, bringing something of the life of heaven to this earth. We not only pray, ‘they kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven’, but we try to make that prayer something of a reality through our lives.