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.

Sunday, 29 September 2019 : Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday, all of us are all called to live a holy and virtuous life that is centred not on worldly possessions and the many temptations present in this world, but rather on God alone. We have to remember this at all times, lest those same temptations pull us into the wrong path, as the evil one is always ever ready and ever busy to strike at us with all of his capabilities.

In our first reading today, we heard the words of the prophet Amos being directed at the Israelites conveying the anger of God at those people because of their refusal to believe in Him and His prophet, their refusal to listen to those whom God had sent into their midst to remind them to follow His path. They have hardened their hearts and closed their minds to God, and they preferred to live in sin and worshipped pagan idols and gods instead of the One and only True God they should have been worshipping.

The prophet Amos worked and ministered to the people during the last years of the northern kingdom of Israel, which was referred to in the first reading passage today as ‘Samaria’, which was the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel. It was a foreboding and warning to those people that should they continue to live in sin and refused to change their ways, they would see the end of their kingdom and had to endure exile, as how it actually happened in the end.

And this is related to what we have heard in our Gospel passage today, in which the Lord Jesus used the parable of Lazarus and the rich man to highlight how important it is for us to live a truly God-centric life and resist the many temptations found in this world. In that well-known parable we heard how the Lord Jesus told His disciples the story of a rich man and a poor man named Lazarus, who was always by the gate of the house of the rich man, hungry and suffering while the rich man feasted and dressed well every single day.

Through this parable, the Lord wanted us all to know that it is not that He is against us having wealth or that being wealthy is something that is sinful and wrong, but rather, it is our unhealthy and dangerous attachment to those worldly possessions, be it wealth in any forms, in money and other goods of pleasures, even in matter of dress and food that we must be wary of. Those goods on their own are not evil or bad by nature.

In fact, having greater wealth and possessions is actually a blessing from God, that God has given us more and provided us with greater blessings in our own unique way. However, we must also remember what the Lord Himself also said in another different occasion, that ‘To those who have been given a lot, a lot is also then expected from them’. This means that the more blessings we have received from God, the more that we are actually challenged to make good use of them.

The very fact that Lazarus, the poor man stayed at the gate of the rich man’s house day after day, again and again showed just how oblivious the rich man and his household had been to the plight of Lazarus. The rich man and his household partied and celebrated without end, with all the goodness the world could have offered, enjoying to the fullest all of earth’s wonderful pleasures, satisfying themselves in great excess.

That poor man did not ask for much, just for food to alleviate his hunger and basic human needs and dignity. Yet, no one would give him what he deserved, and left him all alone to suffer until the day he died and went into heaven in the presence of God and Abraham, his forefather. Then as mentioned, the rich man also died, and he went into the eternal suffering in hell, suffering as the Lord said because during life, he had done what is wicked and enjoyed life as it was, while Lazarus suffered so greatly.

Being rich is truly not something that is inherently evil or bad. God does not despise the rich and the powerful as I have just mentioned. But when we misuse what God has given to us and blessed us with for our own selfish purposes, just as the prophet Amos spoke against the Israelites for their wicked and unjust actions towards one another, then we have committed a great sin against God.

But this is something that each and every one of us must always be wary about, as the temptations are always there, pulling us into the path of disobedience and sin. By our exposure to sin, and by the frailty of our body, mind and flesh, we are naturally predisposed to various desires, be it for wealth, money, for worldly things and possessions, for glory and power, for other pleasures of this world, to satisfy our own selfish desires.

This is where we must always stand ready to resist those temptations, which Satan and all the evil forces ever present around us are always ready to push onto us, trying to lure us away from the path of righteousness. And this is where in our second reading today, taken from the Epistle of St. Paul to St. Timothy, the Apostle reminded us that each and every one of us must strive to be holy and godly, and strive to resist all the negative emotions and temptations that threaten to take us away from God.

And looking again at the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, let us remember and realise just how futile our pursuits for worldly things and glories have been. For all of his wealth and power, his popularity and all the fame he had, the rich man was left with nothing when he entered into death and thrown into hell. In the end, he was just left by himself, in despair and total hopelessness, and no matter what he is doing and how he want to get out, once he is in hell, there is absolutely no hope for him, for he has rejected God completely and refused His love totally.

Satan purposely wants us to indulge in all those wicked things, and to be tempted to sin so that we will in the end lose everything, and he will never cease to tempt us and to push us into sin, and we should resist his efforts and seek for help in this constant battle raging daily for our souls. And today, as it happens, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Archangels, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael.

Today, let us all ask for the help and protection from the three Holy Archangels, who is always ready to help us with the legions of Angels and our own Guardian Angels to protect us all from the attacks of the evil ones. But we also have to make the conscious effort to resist those temptations and realise that we have to hold onto the right things in life, that is not the false joys and happiness in worldly things, but rather to trust in God.

Let us all therefore make best use of whatever God has blessed us with, for the benefit of our fellow men and not be selfish like the rich man or the Israelites of the time of prophet Amos, who put themselves, their ego and pride ahead of their love for God and for their fellow men. Let us seek to be humble in all things and love God and place Him at the very centre of our lives and our existences. Let us not be ignorant of the needs and the plight of those who are less fortunate than us, but instead, let us be generous in sharing whatever happiness, joy and blessings we have received from God.

May the Holy Archangels, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael protect us all and may they intercede for us and be our guardians in this constant, daily spiritual warfare that we may emerge triumphant, keeping ourselves away from unworthy and wicked attachments to false pleasures, joys and temptations of this world so that in all things we may become ever closer to God and be worthy of His promised inheritance and glory. Amen.

Sunday, 29 September 2019 : Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 16 : 19-31

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Once there was a rich man who dressed in purple and fine linen and feasted every day. At his gate lay Lazarus, a poor man covered with sores, who longed to eat just the scraps falling from the rich man’s table. Even dogs used to come and lick his sores.”

“It happened that the poor man died, and Angels carried him to take his place with Abraham. The rich man also died, and was buried. From hell where he was in torment, the rich man looked up and saw Abraham afar off, and with him Lazarus at rest. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me, and send Lazarus, with the tip of his finger dipped in water, to cool my tongue, for I suffer so much in this fire.'”

“Abraham replied, ‘My son, remember that in your lifetime you were well-off, while the lot of Lazarus was misfortune. Now he is in comfort, and you are in agony. But that is not all. Between your place and ours a great chasm has been fixed, so that no one can cross over from here to you, or from your side to us.'”

“The rich man implored once more, ‘Then I beg you, Father Abraham, to send Lazarus to my father’s house, where my five brothers live, let him warn them, so that they may not end up in this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.'”

“But the rich man said, ‘No, Father Abraham; but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced, even if someone rises from the dead.'”

Sunday, 29 September 2019 : Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Timothy 6 : 11-16

But you, man of God, shun all this. Strive to be holy and godly. Live in faith and love, with endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith and win everlasting life, to which you were called, when you made the good profession of faith, in the presence of so many witnesses.

Now, in the presence of God, Who gives life to all things, and of Jesus Christ, Who expressed before Pontius Pilate the authentic profession of faith : preserve the revealed message to all. Keep yourself pure and blameless, until the glorious coming of Christ Jesus, Our Lord, Who God will bring about at the proper time; He, the magnificent Sovereign, King of Kings and Lord of lords. To Him, alone, immortal, Who lives in unapproachable light, and Whom no one has ever seen or can see, to Him, be honour and power, forever and ever. Amen!

Sunday, 29 September 2019 : Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 145 : 6c-7, 8-9a, 9bc-10

The Lord is forever faithful; He gives justice to the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free.

The Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord straightens the bent. The Lord loves the virtuous, but He brings to ruin the way of the wicked. The Lord protects the stranger.

The Lord sustains the widow and the orphan. The Lord will reign forever, your God, o Zion, from generation to generation. Alleluia!

Sunday, 29 September 2019 : Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Feast of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Amos 6 : 1a, 4-7

Woe to those proud people, who live overconfident, on the hill of Samaria! You lie on beds inlaid with ivory and sprawl on your couches; you eat lamb from the flock and veal from calves fattened in the stall.

You strum on your harps, and like David, try out new musical instruments. You drink wine by the bowlful and anoint yourselves with the finest oils; but you do not grieve over the ruins of Joseph. Therefore, you will be the first to go into exile; and the feast of sprawlers will be over.

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.