Reflection for the 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Thursday, 9-29-22, Year C
Readings: Dn 7:9-10,13-14; Ps :138-1,2abcde-3, 4-5; Gospel Jn 1:47-51
Feast: Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels
Theme: All Serve and Worship God
“Thousands upon thousands were ministering to him.” In the book of Daniel, who are these thousands of thousands ministering to God? There are many theories, but most agree they are mainly angels. Ok, so what are angels? Well, angels are personal beings created by God. They possess intelligence, power, and glory. They are spiritual in nature, rather than corporal. 1
The word archangel comes from a Greek word, archangelos, meaning “chief angel.” It is a compound word formed from archon (“chief” or “ruler”) and aggelos (“angel” or “messenger”). The Bible suggests in several places that angels have a hierarchy of leadership, and an archangel seems to be the leader of other angels.1
So, an Archangel is a “Chief Angel,” a leader of the angels. There are three mentioned by name in the Bible, Michael (Daniel, Jude, Revelations), Gabriel (Daniel & Luke) and Raphael (Tobit). Of these three only Michael is actually called an archangel in the Bible, and it is generally agreed that Michael is the head of them all. St Michael’s name means “Who is like God,” so it would seem that he would be the highest of the angels. In that same vain, St. Gabriel’s name means “God’s Strength,” and Raphael’s means “God’s Remedy or Healing.”
The main duties of angels are to worship God and be His messengers. An archangel is similar except that they are also heavily involved in spiritual warfare, especially in regard to the return of Christ to His Church. It will be St. Michael who leads the battle against Satan and precedes Christ in his return to humanity at the end of time. (Rev 12:7)
In the Gospel today Nathanael is amazed that Jesus knew him before he was even introduced to Him by Philip. Nathanael was the one who said to Philip, after Philip told him about Jesus, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Little did Nathanael know about the greatness of Jesus. Jesus told Nathanael not to be amazed at that but to be amazed that the heavens will be opened, and the angels of God will ascend and descend on the Son of Man. We can understand this to be the “Thousands upon thousands” ministering to Him. What a sight that will be!
As messengers of God, the angels bring good news and glad tidings of peace to us here on earth. The archangels carry especially important and profound messages, such as that of Gabriel who said to Mary, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.” (Lk 1: 30-32)
For you and me, our goal is to emulate the holiness of the angels, especially the archangels who praise and worship God 24-7. May we also be like the angels and bring messages of good tidings and peace to our neighbors here on earth. If the angels can bring peace and love by their existence among us, why can’t we do the same in our own human way?
Follow St. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael by Loving God, worshiping Him, and spreading the good cheer that comes from the love of God Himself. In doing so we make true the statement that copying another is the best compliment!