Loving Angels instead
Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, the 29th September 2017
evangelie: John 1,47-51
Daniel 7,9-10.13-14, Psalm 138
Rome is loaded with angels; they are everywhere – depicted in different times and in a great variety of circumstances: from whispering in the ear of St. Matthew and travelling with us as a selfless companion unto waging war against evil powers and executing God’s will on the Last Day.
We see them in churches and museums, in living rooms and in the streets: paintings and statues. But I never – consciously – encountered an angel myself. And I surmise that most or even all of us never saw one. Still angels are popular, even beyond the Community of believers.
Although many may see angels as fairy-tale figures, I see it as positive that they are very popular. For, even if people do not connect them directly with “God”, angels still contain the idea of “beyond myself” i.e. something more or higher (transcendental), and “beyond the ordinary” i.e. the visible and tangible.
For us who believe or seek to believe, angels are messengers of God [Lk 1:26, Jn 1:51 cf. Gn 28:12]. No matter how we imagine them to be, “angel” expresses that God is connected with us and communicates with us. And this is good news, news that we need to hear, because in today’s world so many experience God as so far away, absent or even dead!
As we look at this world in faith, we may well see how God is active in the here and now, directly or in a mediated way, through messengers of His. We may recognize friends and strangers as inspired people who convey God’s message to us. Their goodness makes us grateful, not only to these good people themselves, but also to the One Who made them good.
Another way of recognizing angels as active in God’s Name, is by seeing the results of God’s goodness in people. The names of the Archangels whom we honour today are an indication: Michael (who is as God) who gives us life, defends and protects us; Raphael (God cures) who heals us body and soul; Gabriel (God is my strength) through whom God gives us knowledge, insight and wisdom, and thus joy, confidence and strength, according to the Scriptures [e.g. Our Lady in Lk 1:38,46-55].
Today, let us realize anew that the Eternal and Almighty Love is for us and with us also through messengers whom He has sent for our benefit, so that we may receive all that He wishes to bestow upon us. Then we will grow in gratitude and generosity and thus wholeheartedly share the happiness that has no end – as true angels do. Amen.
V. Rev. Mark-Robin Hoogland C.P., Provincial Superior of the Netherlands and North-Germany