Saturday, 29 September 2018 : Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together the great Feast day of the three Holy Archangels of God, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael. They are the ones who are God’s chief Angelic servants, as mentioned by St. Raphael himself, that he is one of the seven Holy Archangels that are always in presence of God. Each one of them are tasked with particular areas in which God entrusted to their care His creations, especially us mankind.

St. Michael the Archangel is the Archangel tasked with the leadership of the heavenly host of Angels, as the Prince of the Heavenly Host, the armies of Angels, in the constant spiritual warfare that rages around us for the sake of our souls. St. Michael has always stood at the forefront of this great battle ever since the time of the War in Heaven as shown through the Revelations of St. John.

St. John saw a vision of the great War in Heaven, of the time when Satan, then known by the name Lucifer, most brilliant and mightiest among all the Angels of God, fell into his pride and greed, and rebelled against God seeking to take over the reign over Heaven and all creation. In that process, one third of all the Angels followed Satan’s lead and also rebelled against God. But one Angel rallied the other Angels in the battle, and it was told that it was St. Michael the Archangel who was the one to lead the Angels into battle against Satan and his forces.

The name Michael means, ‘Who is like God’, and this is a perfect rebuke of Satan’s prideful rebellion against God. Satan rebelled because in his pride, he thought that he could be like God, and he could take over God’s role, overcome by pride in his perfection and brilliance. But St. Michael showed Satan his proper place, by defeating him and his fellow rebel angels, and by the power of God, casting them out from heaven.

St. Michael also appeared to Joshua, the leader of the Israelites, just after he took over the leadership over the people of God and leading them into the land promised to them and their ancestors. Through St. Michael, God reassured Joshua and the Israelites, that He would be with them throughout their journey and struggle to gain the land promised to them. God Himself would fight alongside His people and they would gain what was promised to them, should they remain faithful to Him.

Meanwhile, St. Gabriel the Archangel was sent to Mary, the Most Blessed Mother of Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, in the small village of Nazareth. He was sent to her to announce to her the Good News of God, the final fulfilment and completion of God’s long awaited plan to save His people, by the sending of His own Son, the Divine Word of God, into this world, which would be fulfilled through Mary. Mary was to become the Mother of the Messiah, and therefore, become the Mother of God.

St. Gabriel himself revealed this wonderful news to Mary, and at first while Mary was amazed at what she had just heard from the Archangel, she obeyed the will of God and allowed herself to be part of the great plan of salvation God had revealed through St. Gabriel. And it was also likely St. Gabriel who revealed a similar message of hope to the father of St. John the Baptist, Zechariah, in the Temple, about the upcoming birth of St. John the Baptist, Herald of the Messiah.

The name of Gabriel means, the Strength or Might of God. This is a reminder that with God at our side, we should not need fear anything or any foes, and hope should arise anew in our hearts, knowing that God will provide for us and that He will never abandon those who have been faithful to Him. That was why He sent St. Gabriel the Archangel to announce the Good News of His salvation, the message of hope, to renew the people’s trust in God’s strength and might, by which He will save them all.

Lastly, the third of the three great Archangels, St. Raphael was mentioned in the Book of Tobit, which was the account of the journey of Tobit, an Israelite who went into exile with his countrymen during the years after the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel. The Book recorded the account of Tobit’s suffering and anguish, when he faced rejection even from his own countrymen and then suffering from blindness.

God sent His Archangel, St. Raphael in order to heal Tobit, as well as another person, Sara, daughter of Tobit’s relative, who was also hounded by the demon Asmodeus. She was also in great distress and almost wanted to take her own life because of what the demon had done to her, killing all the men who had taken her as wife. But she prayed to the Lord, asking Him to listen to her plight, just at the same time as Tobit also prayed to God, asking for His help and mercy.

St. Raphael was sent to bring about healing and liberation to each one of them, and God showed His wonderful love and mercy through His Archangel, whose name means, the Healing of God. Sara was freed from the demon Asmodeus, and was married to Tobias, Tobit’s son, who accompanied the disguised Archangel during his journey. And Tobit was also healed from his blindness as well.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we have seen from the great blessings we have received, the inspirations we have gained from each of the three great Archangels, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, whose feasts we celebrate this day, let us all remind ourselves that God is always with us, and we can always trust in His healing, love and mercy, for indeed, Who is like Our God, though Mighty and All Powerful, but filled with so great love and compassion for us all, His children.

Let us ask the glorious Archangels to be our guide and intercessor, to pray for us and to protect us from the dangers of evil, from the forces of Satan and all those seeking our downfall. May they continue to watch over us and be our guardians and sources of hope, reminding us of our need to love the Lord, to be true to Him and to be ever faithful through all of our deeds and actions in life. Holy Archangels, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, Archangels of God Most High, pray for us all. Amen.

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