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Angels among us

Jn. 1:47-51

“I believe there are angels among us Sent down to us from somewhere up above They come to you and me in our darkest hours To show us how to live, to teach us how to give To guide us with the light of love” – Alabama, Angels among us

In our modern world, there is often a romanticized view of angels. We can forget what the Church teaches us about angels. But the truth of the matter is much more exciting than the story of It’s a Wonderful Life or The Bishop’s Wife. Today, we celebrate three of the greatest angels: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.

When Jesus saw Nathanael, destined to become one of the Twelve Apostles, he saw him as a true child of Israel. Nathanael was also impressed with Jesus. This prompts Jesus to promise that when he becomes a follower, he will see much greater things. He will see the heavens open and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.

God acts in the world. We are not alone. The angels are testimonies of his love. The name “angel” comes from the Greek “angelos,” which means “messenger.” Angels are messengers from God. Something curious about the angels is that their names are tremendously important. For the three Archangels we celebrate today, their names remember their missions – the specific times they intervened in salvation history.

St. Michael has a name that means “Who is like God?” When the Devil led a revolt in Heaven, it was Michael who came to the forefront to defend the rights of God among the angels. He wanted everyone to continue to obey God. Although Lucifer was a strong angel and incredibly intelligent, he could never take the place of God. His place in this battle has ensured St. Michael the first place among the angels of God.

Gabriel’s name means that he is a hero of God. It was his task to announce to the Blessed Virgin the that she would become the mother of Jesus. Raphael’s name means “God has healed” and he appears in the book of Tobit. He leads Tobias on a quest that results in the healing of his father and his family’s fortune. Today, the Church wants us to remember that there are angels among us. They bring us God’s message. Like Michael, we should allow no one to come between us and God.

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