Thursday, 29 September 2022 : Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this day we are celebrating the great Feast of the Holy Archangels, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael. The three great Archangels were three of the seven Holy Archangels mentioned to be serving before the Holy Presence of God, the chiefs of the Angelic Host and heavenly forces. In other traditions such as Eastern Orthodoxy, the other Archangels were also named, but according to the Roman Catholic tradition and Scriptural canon, only three Archangels were named, namely St. Michael the Archangel, named in the Book of Joshua and also in the Book of Revelations of St. John the Apostle, and then St. Gabriel the Archangel, named in the Gospels as the one bearing the Good News to Mary, and lastly St. Raphael the Archangel, mentioned in the Book of Tobit as the Archangel who came to help Tobit and his son, Tobias. Hence today we celebrate these three Archangels of God whose names are known to us definitively through the Scriptures and through Church traditions and teachings.

St. Michael the Archangel is the chief of all the Heavenly Host, the leader of the Archangels and the Angels of God. He is the leader of the forces of God in the great struggle and battle against the evil ones, the champion of the Lord and the one who smites the devil, the great enemy of all the faithful and the living. His name, Michael, means ‘Who is like God?’ that resounds with the battle cry which he uttered in the great War in Heaven that we heard in one of our first reading passages today from the Book of Revelations. That was the battle cry which St. Michael the Archangel uttered against the forces of Satan, the great enemy, who rose in rebellion against God.

At that time, the greatest and most brilliant among all the Angels of God, named Lucifer, the Angel of Light came to bear prideful ambition and the desire to surpass his own Creator, Lord and Master. He desired to sit upon the Throne of God and become the Master of all Creation, and therefore, rose in rebellion against God. One tradition stated that when God was away from His Throne, Lucifer, deluded by his own vanity, vainglory and pride, sat upon the Throne of God and claimed the rulership of all the Universe, only to be challenged and rebuked by St. Michael the Archangel, who rebuked Lucifer and cast him out from the Throne of God and Heaven, because he, thereafter known as Satan, the devil and great enemy, dared to rebel against God.

Unlike Lucifer, who was mighty and brilliant in all things, which led to his downfall through pride, St. Michael the Archangel was humble before God, and it was told according to another tradition that he trembled before the Presence of God, fully aware of the infinite glory and greatness of God, and fully devoted to his Lord and Master. But before the enemies of the Lord, this mighty Archangel stands tall as the greatest among all the champions and defenders of the Lord, leading the Heavenly Host and fearlessly crushing the forces of Satan and his allies, those fallen angels and spirits who have chosen to put their lot and trust in Satan instead of siding with God.

St. Michael has often been considered as a great protector of the people of God, as he led the forces of the Lord against all those seeking for the ruination of many souls of mankind. From the ancient days, St. Michael had appeared to Joshua at the time when the Israelites were about to enter into the Promised Land, reassuring the Lord’s chosen leader of God’s ever-present guidance, and how the Lord’s Angels, led by none other than St. Michael himself, would always march before the Lord’s faithful ones, guiding them and protecting them. St. Michael’s name has always been invoked to protect the people of God in their hour and time of distress.

Meanwhile, St. Gabriel the Archangel was known for his role in proclaiming the Good News of God to Mary, the one whom God had chosen to be the Mother of the Son of God Most High, the Mother of the Saviour of the world, and hence to be the Mother of God herself. St. Gabriel the Archangel in the Annunciation proclaimed with great joy the long awaited proclamation of the coming of God’s salvation, which He has promised and renewed the same promise to His people through His many prophets and messengers throughout time. The words of St. Gabriel the Archangel was the very first moment when the Lord’s salvation was definitively revealed to the people of God.

The name Gabriel means ‘the strength of God’ referring to the strength and encouragement that the words that St. Gabriel had spoken before Mary, a simple and humble young maiden in the little village of Nazareth, that she would be the one through whom the salvation of the whole world would come. And while he was not named, the Angel who appeared before Zechariah, the father of St. John the Baptist at the Temple of God was also often considered to be the Archangel Gabriel. In the same way, St. Gabriel proclaimed another encouraging news to Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, on the upcoming birth of their long-awaited son. That brought hope and strength back to the elderly couple once again.

Then, lastly, St. Raphael the Archangel appeared to Tobias, and assisted both him and his father Tobit, saving the new wife of Tobias, Sara from the attacks by the evil spirit Asmodeus, as well as healing Tobit from his blindness. St. Raphael brought God’s healing and consolation to the ones who were suffering and in pain, enduring hardships and difficulties, trials and obstacles in life. The name Raphael means the ‘healing of God’ which fits the works by which St. Raphael the Archangel was sent by God to this world, to heal and strengthen, to encourage and patch up those who had been afflicted by suffering, pain, grief and sorrow, among other things.

As we heard from our Scripture passages and as we have discussed just earlier on, the Holy Archangels of God were those powerful spirits whom God had entrusted with the specific mission in guiding and protecting us mankind from the attacks and efforts of the evil ones, the devil himself and the other fallen angels and wicked spirits. St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael in each of their capacities and missions are our great allies in the ever continuing constant and daily struggles for the fate of our souls. Ever since the beginning of creation, Satan, the fallen Lucifer had always despised God’s beloved creations, and especially that apply to us all mankind, and just as he brought our ancestors down, he is always ever plotting and trying to bring us all down as well.

That is why today as we celebrate the great Feast of the Holy Archangels, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, all of us are reminded of the great love that God has for each one of us, that He sent us His mighty servants, the three Chiefs and Princes of the Angelic Host, particularly the leader of them all, St. Michael the Archangel, to be by our side, and to lead the forces of Heaven, in the constant and daily struggle and battle for our souls. And we have to have faith in God, believing wholeheartedly that the Lord will always protect us and provide for us, and His mighty Archangels and the Heavenly forces will guard us against Satan and all of his fellow wicked spirits’ futile attacks on us.

Today, as we rejoice in the hope that the Holy and Mighty Archangels of God had brought us, let us all pray the special prayer, Prayer to St. Michael, which Pope Leo XIII had commissioned, entrusting ourselves to the guardianship of St. Michael the Archangel and the other Holy Archangels and Angels of God that through their intercession and help, we may always remain faithful and steady in our lives and faith. Let us all pray, ‘St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.’ Amen.

Thursday, 29 September 2022 : Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 1 : 47-51

At that time, when Jesus saw Nathanael coming, He said to him, “Here comes an Israelite, a true one; there is nothing false in him.” Nathanael asked Him, “How do You know me?”

And Jesus said to him, “Before Philip called you, you were under the fig tree, and I saw you.” Nathanael answered, “Master, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” But Jesus replied, “You believe because I said, ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ But you will see greater things than that.”

“Truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened, and the Angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Thursday, 29 September 2022 : Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 137 : 1-2a, 2bcd-3, 4-5

I thank You, o YHVH, with all my heart, for You have heard the word of my lips. I sing Your praise in the presence of the gods. I bow down toward Your holy Temple and give thanks to Your Name.

For Your love and faithfulness, for Your word, which exceeds everything. You answered me when I called; You restored my soul and made me strong.

O YHVH, all kings on earth will give You praise, when they have heard Your words. They will celebrate the ways of YHVH, “Great is the glory of YHVH!”

Thursday, 29 September 2022 : Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Daniel 7 : 9-10, 13-14

I looked and saw the following : Some thrones were set in place and One of Great Age took His seat. His robe was white, as snow, His hair, white as washed wool. His throne was flames of fire with wheels of blazing fire. A river of fire sprang forth and flowed before Him. Thousands upon thousands served Him and a countless multitude stood before Him.

Those in the tribunal took their seats and opened the book. I continued watching the nocturnal vision : One like a Son of Man came on the clouds of heaven. He faced the One of Great Age and was brought into His presence. Dominion, honour and kingship were given Him, and all the peoples and nations of every language served Him. His dominion is eternal and shall never pass away; His kingdom will never be destroyed.

Alternative reading

Revelations 12 : 7-12a

War broke out in heaven, with Michael and his Angels battling with the dragon. The dragon fought back with his angels, but they were defeated, and lost their place in heaven. The great dragon, the ancient serpent, known as the devil, or Satan, seducer of the whole world, was thrown out. He was hurled down to earth, together with his angels.

Then, I heard a loud voice from heaven : Now has salvation come, with the power and the kingdom of our God, and the rule of His Anointed. For our brothers’ accuser has been cast out, who accused them night and day, before God. They conquered him, by the Blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, for they gave up their lives, going to death.

Rejoice, therefore, o you heavens, and you who dwell in them.

Tuesday, 29 September 2020 : Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us celebrate the great feast of the Holy Archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, three of the seven Archangels who stand in the presence of God and are the mightiest of all of His heavenly forces. Today we dedicate ourselves to God through the guidance and protection of St. Michael the Archangel, the Prince of the Heavenly Hosts, St. Gabriel the Archangel, the Messenger of God, and St. Raphael the Archangel, the Healing and Mercy of God.

In each of these mighty Archangels of God, we have powerful allies in our constant struggle and fight in the spiritual warfare for the sake of our souls. For the devil, the great enemy of all mankind and all of God’s faithful children, is out there, ever plotting our downfall and destruction, sending out his forces against us, trying to tempt us into sin and therefore, leading us to our downfall.

And first of all, St. Michael the Archangel, as mentioned is the Prince and leader of the Heavenly Hosts. He was the same Michael that showed himself to Joshua, the successor of Moses before he was about to enter into the Promised Land, reassuring him and the people of Israel that God Himself would march before them and guide them all to victory. And he is also the same Michael mentioned in the Book of Revelations as well.

In that vision of St. John the Apostle, we heard how he saw the great War in Heaven, which in fact predated all the events of history, as all these happened early in the history of creation. This happened as according to Scripture, Church tradition and the Church fathers, the devil himself was once a mighty and brilliant Archangel of God. In fact, as Lucifer, the Angel of Light, he was the most brilliant and mightiest among all of God’s Angels.

But it was there then Lucifer fell into pride, hubris and ambition, succumbing to the desire to seek the Throne of God, as written in the Book of the prophet Isaiah, that he desired nothing less than the Throne of Heaven and to raise himself over the stars of God, a reference to the Angels of God. His unbridled ambition led him to aspire to rebellion against God, and he swayed many among the Angels to side with him.

It was told that when God went up from His Throne, Lucifer dared to sit on the Throne and thus proclaimed his rebellion. It was Michael, although not as powerful or brilliant as Lucifer, who brought God’s wrath and retribution on him and the other rebel Angels. Michael, whose name means ‘Who is like God’ led the faithful Angels against Lucifer, after which would be known as Satan, the devil and the great enemy, as well as those rebel angels who supported him.

Thus that was how the War in Heaven brought about the downfall of Satan, who was crushed and defeated, cast out from Heaven and together with all the fallen angels, were cast out and condemned. St. Michael the Archangel, who led the loyal Angels in defeating the proud Satan. He might not have been the mightiest and most brilliant among the Angels like Satan before his fall, but he was faithful, humble and dedicated. It was told that he would tremble in the presence of God and yet fearless in the face of the enemy.

That was why God made St. Michael to be the Prince and leader of the Heavenly Hosts. He is the terror of the devil and all of the forces of evil, our chief defender in the constant battle and struggle against all those who sought our destruction. To St. Michael the Archangel, we pray this prayer, which was composed by Pope Leo XIII, ‘St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And may you, o Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God thrust Satan down to hell and with him those other wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.’

And not to forget St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, the other two Archangels who are also God’s great champions in the fight against the devil. St. Gabriel the Archangel is God’s esteemed Messenger, being the one sent to proclaim the Good News to the world, the one who appeared to Mary announcing the coming of God’s Saviour, Jesus Christ, and was also likely the Angel who appeared to Zechariah proclaiming about John, the one who was to be the Herald of the Messiah.

The name Gabriel means ‘God is my strength’ and with his words, he struck fear into Satan and all the forces of the wicked, as he announced the coming of God’s final victory against evil, the coming of His Saviour by which all the machinations and efforts of the devil would all be defeated and crushed. Just as St. Michael leads the forces of God into battle, St. Gabriel announces God’s retribution and battlecry against all His enemies.

Meanwhile St. Raphael the Archangel was known through his participation in the events described in the Book of Tobit. St. Raphael, whose name means ‘God has healed’ brought healing and help to both Tobit and Sara, who both were faithful but had suffered either physically for the case of Tobit, blinded and unable to see, or spiritually in the case of Sara, who was beset by the powerful demon Asmodeus that had killed seven of her past husbands.

Through his journey with Tobias, the son of Tobit, disguised as a man, St. Raphael eventually chased Asmodeus away and bound him, freeing Sara who was once tormented by that demon. And as Tobias gained Sara as a lawfully wedded wife, St. Raphael also brought healing to the eyes of Tobit, and revealing his true identity before all of them, he showed God’s healing and mercy, undoing the wicked plots and works of the devil and his forces against us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we celebrate this day in memory of the Holy Archangels of God, let us renew our faith in God, and renew our conviction and desire to serve Him faithfully, that we may all walk ever more righteously in His path, and no longer be afraid of the devil and all of his wicked plots. The Lord has set His Archangels and His mighty Heavenly Hosts between us and the evil ones.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle and help us to be humble like you, that we may not fall into pride and ambition, greed and vanity like the devil, but remain firm in our commitment to serve God faithfully with all our might. St. Gabriel the Archangel, bearer of God’s Good News and triumph, help us to trust in the Lord and His providence, that we may always hope in God as our Strength, that no evil will prevail against us as long as we put our faith in God.

And St. Raphael the Archangel, bearer of God’s healing and mercy, help us to seek healing in God, for the weakness of our flesh and especially for the corruption of our souls by sin. Just as Tobit and Sara was healed by your intercession on their behalf to God, intercede for us sinners as well. O Holy Archangels of God, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, pray for us, be with us and guide us in battle, in the constant struggle for our souls. Amen!

Tuesday, 29 September 2020 : Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 1 : 47-51

At that time, when Jesus saw Nathanael coming, He said to him, “Here comes an Israelite, a true one; there is nothing false in him.” Nathanael asked Him, “How do You know me?”

And Jesus said to him, “Before Philip called you, you were under the fig tree, and I saw you.” Nathanael answered, “Master, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” But Jesus replied, “You believe because I said, ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ But you will see greater things than that.”

“Truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened, and the Angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Tuesday, 29 September 2020 : Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 137 : 1-2a, 2bcd-3, 4-5

I thank You, o YHVH, with all my heart, for You have heard the word of my lips. I sing Your praise in the presence of the gods. I bow down toward Your holy Temple and give thanks to Your Name.

For Your love and faithfulness, for Your word, which exceeds everything. You answered me when I called; You restored my soul and made me strong.

O YHVH, all kings on earth will give You praise, when they have heard Your words. They will celebrate the ways of YHVH, “Great is the glory of YHVH!”

Tuesday, 29 September 2020 : Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Daniel 7 : 9-10, 13-14

I looked and saw the following : Some thrones were set in place and One of Great Age took His seat. His robe was white, as snow, His hair, white as washed wool. His throne was flames of fire with wheels of blazing fire. A river of fire sprang forth and flowed before Him. Thousands upon thousands served Him and a countless multitude stood before Him.

Those in the tribunal took their seats and opened the book. I continued watching the nocturnal vision : One like a Son of Man came on the clouds of heaven. He faced the One of Great Age and was brought into His presence. Dominion, honour and kingship were given Him, and all the peoples and nations of every language served Him. His dominion is eternal and shall never pass away; His kingdom will never be destroyed.

Alternative reading

Revelations 12 : 7-12a

War broke out in heaven, with Michael and his Angels battling with the dragon. The dragon fought back with his angels, but they were defeated, and lost their place in heaven. The great dragon, the ancient serpent, known as the devil, or Satan, seducer of the whole world, was thrown out. He was hurled down to earth, together with his angels.

Then, I heard a loud voice from heaven : Now has salvation come, with the power and the kingdom of our God, and the rule of His Anointed. For our brothers’ accuser has been cast out, who accused them night and day, before God. They conquered him, by the Blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, for they gave up their lives, going to death.

Rejoice, therefore, o you heavens, and you who dwell in them.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s Scripture readings urge us to put aside all sorts of uncertainties, doubts, and undue attachments to worldly goods and pleasurable things in life, all of which are holding us back against being saved and receiving the eternal life and glory as promised by the Lord our God.

The first reading today is an account of the servant of God and prophet Nehemiah, who was a steward and servant in the house of the Emperor of Persia, living in the great and unimaginable luxury of the Imperial Palace of the vast and mighty Persian Empire. At the heart of the Empire, therefore, Nehemiah must have enjoyed such a wonderful and enjoyable life, even as a steward and servant to the Emperor.

However, God called on him to help the reconstruction and the rebuilding of Jerusalem and its Temple, and for him to travel there to oversee the works involved in the restoration of the people of God and the land they dwelled in. If we look at it, certainly what God asked of him was something very difficult and demanding, and it required Nehemiah to leave behind all the good things that he had enjoyed in life, and venture to the uncertainty of the land of Judah.

Ever after the kingdom of Israel and Judah had been destroyed by the Assyrians and the Babylonians, the land which was once very prosperous and renowned under the kings David and Solomon was no longer an important place to be, and it was rather a backwater by the time of Nehemiah, and going to such a land for an extended period of time must surely be a difficult thing to do for Nehemiah, and yet, he begged the Emperor to be allowed to go, for the Lord had made him the tool to help the rebuilding of the land and to bring the people of God back to the glorious days they had missed.

In the Gospel today, we heard how Jesus called His disciples to follow Him, and to leave behind all the things they had, all the joys of the world, all their possessions, and even their relatives and their own families. He told them not to worry about many things and attachments to this world if they are willing to follow Him. This is meant to let us mankind know, that we who are often too busy worrying abut ourselves, that we can really put our trust in the Lord our God.

Many of us are too concerned about ourselves so that we are not able to truly focus on the Lord. Remember that in another parable Jesus had said about how the wicked servant used trickery to gain advantage of the situation and to safeguard himself after he was fired by his master because of his corrupt ways? That is because we cannot be master to both God and money, and thus we cannot follow both the Lord and our own desires.

If we want to be true disciples of the Lord, then we have to learn to let go of our wants, our desires, and stop our ego and pride from growing in our hearts. Let our minds not be filled with the corrupt notions of desire and greed, and let us be filled instead with the selfless love which our Lord had shown us through Jesus Christ. And Jesus had told us all, that if we want to follow Him, then we ought to take up our cross and follow Him.

What Jesus said to His disciples also did not mean that we have to literally leave our families, our possessions and everything behind as we go forth to follow Him. What He meant for us is that we all have to learn to detach ourselves from our too-easily attached attachments to things such as business, possessions, relationships that may not bring about and may not lead us to the righteousness required for God’s salvation to be ours.

It is essential that all of us take heed of what Jesus had told His disciples, which we heard today, so that we may grow less and less worried and attached to our desires and then we will be better able to follow the Lord our God with all of our heart’s strength and with all of our might. If we follow the Lord, then we all ought to be true to His words, and walk faithfully along His path.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Jerome, a great saint and Doctor of the Church, whose examples that I hope all of us can follow. St. Jerome was once a wayward man in his youth, who gave himself to debauchery and wicked was of the world, much as his contemporary, another great saint, St. Augustine of Hippo who was once also a great sinner.

St. Jerome eventually repented and left behind his life of sin, and he was truly very repentant and sorry for all the wicked things he had done, and which he atoned by many good deeds, helping to build up the foundation of the Church and spreading the Good News of the Gospel, most notably by his most renowned achievement, that is of the writing of the Latin version of the Bible, a translation from the original Greek version called the Septuagint. The Latin Bible written by St. Jerome is also known today as the Vulgate Bible.

Thus, we see how St. Jerome also left his past sinfulness and wickedness behind when he decided to dedicate himself and commit himself to the Lord. And we saw what a transformation that was, and how that transformation benefitted countless people through many generations. And we too can do the same with our own lives. If we can leave behind sin and wickedness in our lives, and resolve to never again commit sin and vile things in our words and actions, then the path forward for us is clear.

May Almighty God be with us all, guide us on our path, and help us in our transformation from a people living in darkness, into the children of the Light, whose lights are reflection of the Light of the Lord our Father, and through our light, may more and more people come closer to God’s salvation. Amen.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 9 : 57-62

At that time, as Jesus and His disciples went on their way, a man said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

To another Jesus said, “Follow Me!” But he answered, “Let me go back now, for first I want to bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their dead; as for you, leave them, and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Another said to Him, “I will follow You, Lord, but first let me say goodbye to my family.” And Jesus said to him, “Whoever has put his hand to the plow, and looks back, is not fit for the kingdom of God.”