SS Michael, Gabriel & Raphael, Archangels

Apoc 12.7-12; Ps 137; John 1.47-51

Three archangels are named in Scripture; a fourth, Uriel, is named in the apocryphal book
II Esdras. Prior to 1969 each of the three had his own feast day. The suffix
-el in each of their names means God; Michael means ‘Who is like God’, Gabriel ‘Strength of God’, and Raphael ‘Healing of God.’ Gabriel is the announcer of the births of John Baptist [Luke 1.11-20] and of Jesus [Luke 1.26-38]; he is also mentioned in the book of Daniel [9.16]. Michael is named in Daniel [10.13; 12.1], in Jude {verse 9], and in the Apocalypse, where he is the captain of the heavenly army who will defeat Satan and vindicate God’s people. Raphael is a major character in the Old Testament book of Tobit and is thought to have been the “disturber” of the waters of the pool of Bethzatha whose action made them efficacious for healing. [John 5.2-9]

This feast (which originated at the dedication of a Roman basilica in honour of St Michael) reminds us of the angelic world and of their constant ministrations to our world. With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God; they are the “mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word.” [Psalm 102(103).20] Their song of praise at the Incarnation of the Son of God [Luke 2.13-14] was the terrestrial manifestation of their continual song of praise [Isaiah 6.2-3] in which we are invited to join as that Incarnation is repeated and the Son of God comes down from heaven to be present on earthly altars.

Posted in Daily Reflection.