Today we celebrate three archangels mentioned in Scriptures
Reflections on the readings for the Feast of Ss. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael (September 29, 2021): DN 7:9-10,13-14; PS 138:1-3,4-5; JN 1:47-51
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
“I thank you, Lord, with all my heart; in the presence of the angels to you I sing.” (Psalm 138:1)
Ss. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael are the archangels named in the Bible. We also venerate as them as saints. Michael (from the Hebrew for “Who is like unto God?”) is specifically mentioned twice in the Old Testament and twice in the New Testament. Gabriel name means “God is my strength” and we meet him first in the Book of Daniel and then in the infancy narratives concerning the announcement of the births of St. John the Baptist and, of course, Jesus. We meet Raphael only in an interesting account in the Book of Tobit. The meaning of his name is “God has healed.”
As special messengers of God, the Archangels serve in His dealings with people. Michael is often referred to as the “prince of the heavenly host.” In the Book of Revelation we see him as the leader of God’s loyal angels against the fallen angels. He is a patron of many people in many circumstances, being invoked against temptation and evil, on behalf of the dying, for police officers, first responders, soldiers, and all in need of protection. Gabriel proclaims God’s message to the great Jewish hero Daniel. In the New Testament, he brings news of God’s plans to Zechariah about his son, John. Then he tells the Blessed Virgin Mary about the birth of her Son Jesus, the Son of God. He is also believed to have been the angel who spoke to St. Joseph in a dream, and to have appeared to the shepherds at the Nativity, proclaiming “Good News of great joy that will be for all people” (Luke 2:10). Among other things, he is patron of communicators and messengers. Raphael acted as both healer and guide in the story of Tobit and his family. And he is recognized as patron of those with eye problems and other ailments, various medical and health care workers, and travelers. Today we can appreciate the words of today’s Psalm: “I will give thanks to You, O Lord, with all my heart, for You have heard the words of my mouth; in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise” (Psalm 138:1-2).