(Dn 7:9-10, 13-14; Ps 138; Jn 1:47-51)
Today is the feast of the ArchAngels: Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel and Saint Raphael. It is a little unusual that the readings today do not mention any of the ArchAngels. Both of the readings today do describe the angels that constantly serve God the Father in front of His throne though.
Isn’t the first reading for Mass powerful? The images that start to form in your mind are almost incomprehensible. We really can’t visualize God the Father very well, but this reading gives us a good idea what He looks like:
“The Ancient One took his throne. His clothing was bright as snow, and the hair on his head as white as wool.”
The reading continues to say that thousands upon thousands were ministering to Him and myriads and myriads attended Him. This reading is unusual because it doesn’t mention the angels specifically, but we do know that the ArchAngels surround the throne of God. The second half of this reading tells us about the Son of Man though, who received an everlasting dominion over all nations and all people.
Saint Michael the ArchAngel went to battle against Satan and his demons and cast them out of heaven.
Saint Raphael cured Tobit’s father of his blindness in the Old Testament.
Saint Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive a child by the Holy Spirit, and he would be God’s own son.
The angels are God’s messengers. Jesus speaks of them in the gospel:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
This wasn’t something he read in the Old Testament, it was something that he knew firsthand. If you remember, Jesus existed before the world began. John 17:5:
“So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.”
The angels exist. Even if we are not physically aware of their presence, they are around us none the less. They protect us and those we love from danger. Sometimes they help guide us to make the right decisions in life. Sometimes they are messengers sent by God, to tell us something that He wishes to say to us. Often, they simply make the reality of God’s existence known to us. At other times though, there might be something God specifically wants you to do.
Angels appeared to many people in the bible during their dreams. Saint Joseph is the most famous and trustworthy example of this. The thing that is honorable about Joseph, is that he listened to the angel in his dream and obeyed him – without question. It happened twice. The first time an angel told Joseph in a dream not to be afraid to take Mary for his wife. The second time an angel appeared in his dreams, was to warn him that Herod was trying to kill baby Jesus and they needed to escape to Egypt. Jesus’s life was in danger.
Many people disregard their dreams. Would you have the faith to trust a dream that you are certain came from God? What if the command given to you in a dream was pretty radical? Like when the angel told Joseph and Mary to escape to Egypt? Would you have the faith to pack up everything you own, leave behind everything and everyone that you know, and venture into a strange, unfamiliar land to begin a new life? This was a pretty drastic thing for Joseph and Mary to do, especially because it was based on a dream.
Is your faith deep enough to trust your instincts? The ‘gut feeling’ people sometimes have about an unusual occurrence, a dream, or perhaps a profound coincidence? Are you willing to bet your life on it, the same way that Saint Joseph did? Perhaps that is why Saint Joseph is a saint. He had complete confidence, trust, and faith in God. Saint Joseph, through faith, accepted the supernatural ways that God sometimes makes His will known to us.
Baby Jesus survived because Saint Joseph trusted the angel who appeared to him in a dream. This is something worth giving some serious thought to in your own life. How deep is your faith in God’s holy messengers? Do you really believe in them?