September 29, 2015

The Gospel Today

Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels

John 1:47-51

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him,
“Here is a true child of Israel.
There is no duplicity in him.”
Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”
Nathanael answered him,
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Do you believe
because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?
You will see greater things than this.”
And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see heaven opened
and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Reflection (Sem. Arnel A. Calata Jr.)

9.29

 

Part of the Church’s profession of faith is our belief in angels and heavenly powers that minister to God. The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines angels as “purely spiritual creatures, incorporeal, invisible, immortal, and personal beings endowed with intelligence and will. They ceaselessly contemplate God face-to-face and they glorify him. They serve him and are his messengers in the accomplishment of his saving mission to all.”

Thus, one important reflection about angels at the moment is not about their existence but their task and essence. As members of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, we join them in ceaselessly adoring and glorifying God. This is not exclusive for among angels, because as messengers, they share with us their very life which is the life of God. If such is the case, then, we can also become “angels here on earth.”

And in what way can we practice or live out our being angels? It is important to note that “to glorify God” is not just seen in our worship every Sunday or in the privacy of our prayers. We should remember that the “glory of God is man fully alive,” as St. Irenaeus puts it. Thus, to be fully alive, we are called to express this in our relationships, not only with God but with our brothers and sisters in the community.

“Beside each believer stands an angel as a protector and shepherd leading him to life,” said St. Basil the Great. This is an invitation for each one of us, to be like angels “protecting and shepherding” our brothers and sisters.

The most potent way to express this is to be witnesses of Christ in our daily endeavors. We may not be purely spiritual beings like the angels, but we have the capacity to contemplate and glorify God through our actions and become messengers of God’s love to each other. Then we can say to one another, “You are my angel!”

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