Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Archangels, the great Archangels St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, three of the seven Holy Archangels of God. This day marks the great Feast of these faithful servants of the Lord, His greatest champions and the leaders of the Heavenly Host, especially St. Michael as the Prince of the Heavenly Host and God’s champion in the war against Satan and his fallen angels.
The Angels are the servants of God, spiritual beings that God created to be His servants and warriors, to be the ones who maintained the order in the Universe, and also protectors and guides for us mankind, the most perfect and beloved of all of God’s creations. And the Archangels are the leaders and the greatest among the Angels of God. Today we remember the three of them whose names were written in the Sacred Scriptures, as God’s greatest messengers and champions in reassuring us of His providence and presence in our midst.
The first of the Archangels, St. Michael the Archangel is perhaps the most renowned of them all, as the leader of all of God’s Angelic hosts, the mighty general of the vast army of God in the constant struggles against the forces of Satan, the great enemy, the great deceiver and the evil one, his fellow fallen angels and the demonic forces that always prowl around seeking for the downfall of souls, for souls to be snatched with them into damnation and eternal fire.
However, St. Michael was actually not the greatest and mightiest among all of the Angels. Another one was one who was the most brilliant and mighty among the other Angels of God, and his name was Lucifer, the Morning Star. Lucifer was the greatest and the most brilliant of all of God’s Angels, but in his greatness, he was tempted by his vanity and pride, and fell into disobedience against God, and he aspired to take over the throne of God and to rule over all of creation, which was alluded by the prophet Isaiah in one of his words recorded in the Book of Isaiah.
Although he was merely a created being, just like us, but Lucifer desired to gain supreme power and to be like God, and according to some tradition, he sat upon the Throne of God when the Lord was away, claiming to be like God. The more traditional account had him convincing a third of the Angels of God to his side and launched a rebellion against God in Heaven, launching the War in Heaven that was also alluded in the vision of St. John in the Book of Revelations. The great multi-headed red dragon that St. John saw in his vision was the devil himself, the fallen Lucifer, who grasped a third of the stars of Heaven, a reference to him converting those Angels to his side, becoming the fallen angels and demons.
Regardless of what happened, it was St. Michael who stood up to the fallen angel, as his very own name is his battle cry against Satan, the former Lucifer, for Michael means ‘Who is like God’, which is a stern rebuke against the one who dared to presume equality with God. St. Michael led the forces of God against Satan, who was defeated because God was not with him, and he was thrown out of Heaven, to wander off in the world. Thereafter, St. Michael the Archangel always constantly led the forces of Heaven in striking against Satan, the fallen proud angel that had failed in his rebellion against God.
Yet, Satan and his forces still attempted one last effort to destroy those whom the Lord loved the most, that is all of us mankind, as they wanted to deny us the reunion with God. First, Satan has tempted and made our forefathers to fall into sin, and he has constantly sowed the seeds of doubt and dissent into our hearts. He tried to lead us into our downfall through pride, ego and greed just as he himself had fallen in the same manner. St. Michael the Archangel is God’s great champion in leading the Angels and other spiritual forces in fighting against these wicked forces arrayed against us.
Meanwhile, St. Gabriel the Archangel, the other great Archangel whom we celebrate today is the great messenger of God who was the one to reveal to Mary, the Mother of Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, the news of the fulfilment of God’s long awaited plan to save His people, all of which would happen through her. St. Gabriel the Archangel came down to the village of Nazareth, to show himself to the young virgin woman whom God had pleased to choose among all of His children, to be the one to bear the Salvation of the whole world, and to become the Mother of the Divine Word Incarnate.
He is likely also the Angel associated with the announcement to Zechariah, the father of St. John the Baptist, the Herald of the Messiah. At that time, St. Gabriel also appeared to Zechariah in the Temple at the moment when he made offering before God as a priest, and told him of what he would experience and how through him a great servant of God would be born. Thus, similar as it was with Mary, St. Gabriel the Archangel brought forth God’s Good News with him, and his name, which means ‘The Strength of God’ is a reminder to those who listened to the words he borne, that God is always with His people and His strength shall never fail them.
Lastly, St. Raphael the Archangel was named in the Book of Tobit in which he came on behalf of God to assist Tobit, a faithful servant of God belonging to the tribe of Naphtali who was among the exiles in Assyria after the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel. At that time, Tobit had been struck with a calamity as not only that he had been targeted for having protected and buried a murdered Israelite, but he also lost his eyesight and became blind. At the same time, another person, a young woman named Sara, the daughter of Ragouel, was also in trouble, tormented by a powerful demon named Asmodeus.
St. Raphael the Archangel came upon Tobias, the son of Tobit, and guided him on a long journey away from his home, which brought him to the house of Ragouel and Sara, in which by God’s grace, Sara was given to the care of Tobias and was betrothed to him, despite the demon Asmodeus having murdered all the seven of Sara’s previous husbands before they could consummate the marriage. St. Raphael protected Sara and Tobias, and defeated the demon Asmodeus, which he chased away and bound, freeing Sara from her torments and troubles.
Then later on, through the advice and works of St. Raphael, disguised as a young man accompanying Tobias, God healed the eyes of Tobit and restored his eyesight. In the end, through the Archangel St. Raphael, God had therefore showed His people the love and blessings, the protection which He gave them, and especially the healing from their ailments and troubles, just as St. Raphael’s name means, ‘The Healing of God’ as God reminds us all that He will heal us our sickness and will restore us, if only we can trust in Him and be faithful to Him.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, by reflecting on the three great Archangels of God, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, all of us are reminded that we are always beloved by God and ever precious to Him, and we shall never be left alone in the struggle against all those who desired our destruction, especially Satan and all of his fellow fallen angels. We must always put our trust and faith in the Lord, knowing that the Lord has always placed His Angels and forces to guard and protect us, with the Holy Archangels at the forefront of the ever-continuing struggle and spiritual warfare raging all around us.
May the Lord be with us all, and may the protection and the intercession of the Holy Archangels, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael help us in our journey of faith through life. May He bless all of us our efforts and good endeavours in life, now and always, and protect us from the assaults of the forces of evil, now and forevermore. Amen.