Consider what is represented by Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael.
Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.
On the feast of the Holy Archangels, the liturgy has us read the first dialogue Jesus has with Nathanael in which he not only brings to light the truth of his heart but also refers to a mysterious image which mentions, precisely, the angels:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Far be it from me to go deep into a reflection on angelology, but I would like to take advantage of this feast to say something about the ordinary way in which God acts in our lives. We often have the misconception of imagining God as someone essentially outside of reality. Jesus affirms that it is he, instead, who will become a bridge between heaven and earth. Through Jesus one “ascends and descends.”
But what does this mean in existential terms? Experiencing God means experiencing a newness that introduces a new meaning into life, which is novel not only because it is unprecedented but because it has the power to give meaning to all things. The announcement of this new meaning that changes our lives is represented by Gabriel.
But the experience of God is also the experience of being taken seriously in our weakness. Each of us needs someone to heal us in our wounds and not to judge us. This compassionate and soothing action of God is represented by Raphael.
Finally, each of us in our relationship with God needs to be able to feel safe from everything that is against us, from evil – that is, from the one who not only wants to erase meaning and hurt us, but who, most of all, would like to shatter our conviction that we are loved. This particular protection is represented by Michael.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.