Archangels, Feast Day, Sept 29


St. MICHAEL, GABRIEL, RAPHAEL, Tuesday September 29

Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 or Apocalypse 12:7-12a / John 1:47-51 

Daniel describes a vision: Myriads upon myriads attended him. 

The Bible mentions angels often, beginning with the Book of Genesis and ending with the Book of Revelation. Tradition teaches that angels are a part of God's unseen creation.  We allude to them in the Creed at Mass when we say, "We believe in one God . . . maker . . . of all that is seen and unseen." We refer to them at the start of Mass when we pray on certain occasions, "I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you my brothers and sisters to pray for me to the lard our God." We also refer to them in the Preface, saying, "We join the angels and all the saints in proclaiming your glory."  


In the Bible, angels appear often. Angels are messengers from God and they even act to carry out God's will, be it protecting people, announcing to them a message or working out a miracle.  As much as angels appear often in the Bible, only three are named - Michael, Gabriel and Raphael - and they are given the title "archangels".  Michael in the Hebrew language means "Who is like unto God?" or "Who is equal to God?" St. Michael has been depicted from earliest Christian times as a commander, who holds in his right hand a spear with which he attacks Satan, and in his left hand a green palm branch to signify God's victory over evil. The Archangel Michael is especially considered to be the Guardian of the Orthodox Faith and a fighter against heresies.  Gabriel means "Man of God" or "Might of God." He is the herald of the mysteries of God, especially the Incarnation of God and all other mysteries related to it. He is depicted as holding a lantern in one hand and in the other hand, a mirror of green jasper. The mirror signifies the wisdom of God as a hidden mystery.  Raphael means "God's healing" or "God the Healer" (Tobit 3:17, 12:15). Raphael is depicted leading Tobit with his right hand, and holding a physician's alabaster jar in his left hand.  Each of these archangels performs a different mission in Scripture: Michael protects; Gabriel announces; Raphael guides and heals.  Through these archangels and also through the ministry of angels in general, God continues to be present to us to protect us, to guide us and heal us and to communicate with us.  We thank God for sending His love through these angels and archangels and may we continue to be pray to the archangels Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael to help and guide us through the journey of life.


Angel is the name of their office, not of their nature. It means messenger of God. All these names end with “el” meaning God. If you seek the name of their nature, it’s “spirit”. What they are, “spirit” and what they do, “angel” or messenger. We experience in our life, the power or might of God as St. Michael or the healing of God as St. Raphael and the presence of God as St. Gabriel. Even for Moslems the Quran was revealed to prophet Muhammed by the angel JibrÄ«l, known as Gabriel in English


We know that God loves us, that he protects us and guides us to our destiny. In the Bible, angels are presented as God’s messengers to people, to help us to carry out God’s plans. The archangel Michael is mentioned in the last book of the Bible as the angel who leads the fight against the power of evil and who wants God’s work and Christ to overcome all evil. Gabriel is the messenger of the Annunciation; Raphael is the angel companion and healer in the Book of Tobias. Angels, then, are the sign of God’s guiding love and concern for us. We may not forget today also the many people who help and guide us in many ways by their love and care. They too, are, so to speak, God’s angels to us.


 Do we have a sense of joining the angels in praise in the Preface of the Mass? “Thousands were ministering to him, myriads upon myriads attended him." 


The disciples did not understand what Jesus said or meant. But they were afraid to ask him about it. That was disappointing. If there was someone who could help them understand, it was Jesus himself. Why were they afraid to ask him what he meant? Had they asked him, they would have been better informed and better prepared for his suffering. They would not have immediately engaged in silly behavior like they did. (Luke goes on to say that an argument broke out among them as to who was the greatest.) Do you have doubts when you stand before God in prayer? Do you find it difficult to understand what God is communicating to you? If you do, ask Him! To whom else shall we go? For, God has the words of eternal life (Jn 6:68). Hasn’t Jesus said that if we asked, the Father would gladly give us the Holy Spirit (Lk 11:13) who makes everything intelligible to us? (Jn 16:13-15). In our confusions and concerns, let us confidently walk up to God and ask Him.  


Tuesday September 29    St. MICHAEL, GABRIEL, RAPHAEL   

Penitential Rite:

-You sent us St. Michael to guard us and protect us from dangers. When we fail to protect the vulnerable and safeguard their rights

-You sent us St. Raphael to heal and comfort us in our afflictions. When we failed to comfort and heal the wounded and neglected

-You sent St. Gabriel as a presence and companion of your love. When we neglected to be present and attentive to the needs of others    

Opening Prayer  Lord our God, you are our providence.  We are sure that you want to guide us to you,  that you want to save us,  that you love each of us personally, as we are,  and that you do everything you can do  to make yourself known to us.  Whatever way you come to us  and whoever your messengers are,  may we recognize you and accept you  and love you in them.  We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.     

Prayer over the Gifts    God our Father,  you have sent here among us  your greatest messenger of your good news  and of your own life,  your Son Jesus Christ.  Accept in this offering our thanks  for all your angels and messengers  you send us to heal us from our illnesses  of body, mind and spirit  and who speak to us  words of love, hope and peace.  Thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.    

Prayer after Communion    God our Father,  on account of Jesus Christ your Son  give us enough trust in you  to rely on you in all the events of life.  Make us welcome your angels and messengers ,  in sickness, in our weakness,  in our groping and hesitations.  Make us, in turn, to our brothers and sisters  helpers and messengers of your goodness and love.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.