Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him.” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
On this feast day of the Archangels, Jesus reveals their important roles in our daily lives. They connect us with God and bring us the divine message in a personal way. If Nathanael is lifted up and invited to witness this coming and going of the Angels of the Lord, we can be assured of the same invitation, provided we make the same effort as he did to discover the divine works in our daily lives; to seek and find God.
Salvation history tells us about the divine works through the angels, who accompanied the beloved of the Father, very often in discretion. So, since this salvation history is a current event, and we are active participants in it, we can always believe, even if we do not see or feel the angels actively engaged, that God continues to accompany us through these angels. We should never forget that they are at the service of God, certainly, but for the benefit of humanity. Thus this feast day is both divine and human.
Action of the day: Believe in God who accompanies us personally through the angels.
«You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man»
+ Cardinal Jorge MEJÍA
(Città del Vaticano, Vatican)
Today, in the feast of the Saints Archangels, Jesus manifests to his Apostles and to everybody else, the presence of his angels and their relation with him. They are in the Lord's celestial glory, where they eternally exalt the Son of man, who is the Son of God. They surround him and are at his service.
This «Ascending and descending» reminds us of the episode of the Patriarch Jacob, who, while sleeping over a stone, on his trip to the dwelling land of his ancestors (Mesopotamia), he had the vision of the angels “descending and ascending” by a mysterious ladder which reached from earth to heaven, and of Yahweh renewing to him the glorious promises which He had made to Abraham and Isaac. We should notice the relation between the divine communication and the active presence of the angels.
Thus, Gabriel, Michael and Raphael appear in the Bible as present in earthly events and, as Saint Gregory the Great tells us, bringing to men messages which will decisively change our lives through their presence and their very actions. They are precisely named “archangels”, that is, princes of the angels, because they are sent to the greatest missions.
Gabriel is sent to announce to the Blessed Virgin Mary the virginal conception of the Son of God (cf. Lk 1:28-30). Michael fights against the rebel angels who are cast out from Heaven (cf. Rev 12). He announces, thus, the mystery of his divine justice, which is also exerted against those rebelling angels, while assuring us of his victory —and ours too— over the Evil. Raphael accompanies the young Tobias, protects and advises him, and, finally, heals his father (cf. Tob). This way, we are told of the presence of angels beside each one of us: the angel we name the Guardian angel.
Let us learn from this celebration of the archangels “ascending and descending” upon the Son of man, that they serve God, but they serve him for our sake. They glorify the Holy Trinity, and they do it while serving us. And, consequently, we realize how much devotion we owe them and how grateful we should also be to the Father who sends them for our own good.