FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
Feast of Sts Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels
September 29, 2017
Today’s reading: Revelation 12:7-12
Today we read about the primordial event when “war broke out in heaven” (v.7a). What a battle that must have been! The original star wars! Angels against angels. “Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back” (v.7b). The latter lost and were thrown out of heaven” (v.8-9). The dragon is Satan and his angels now the demons.
The spiritual war continues on earth. And Satan, seething and wanting revenge, seeks the destruction of God’s people. “But woe to you, earth and sea, for the Devil has come down to you in great fury” (v.12b). Now the fight is ours. Now God calls on His holy warriors.
Victory was achieved by Michael in heaven. On earth, Jesus also already won the victory on the cross. “They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb” (v.11a). Through Jesus’ saving act, “Now have salvation and power come” (v.10b).
But the war rages on. Satan is still able to bring many to perdition, and has dominion over the world. God calls and anoints His holy warriors to assault that dominion, and bring people back to God and back to the Church. They do this through the work of evangelization and mission, “by the word of their testimony” (v.11b).
We face a formidable enemy, “the huge dragon, the ancient serpent” (v.9a). We need all the help we can get. Aside from the power of the Holy Spirit, God sends His angels to join us in battle.
The Bible tells us about three archangels.
There is Michael. His name means “Who is like God?” He is the Prince of the heavenly host. He is the guardian and champion of Israel (we are the new Israel). He is the patron of knights, soldiers, paratroopers and security forces. He is the ultimate holy warrior!
Then there is Gabriel. His name means “God is my strength.” In the Bible he is seen as a messenger—to Daniel (Dn 8:16), to Zachariah (Lk 1:19), to Mary (Lk 1:26-27). He delivers God’s very important messages. He is the patron of messengers and ambassadors.
Finally there is Raphael. His name means “God has healed.” In the book of Tobit, he traveled with Tobias (Tb 5:4ff), expelled the demon from Sarah and bound it hand and foot (Tb 8:3), and caused the healing of Tobit (Tb 11:7-8). As Tobias’ traveling companion, he is important for journeys and critical moments in life. He is the patron of travelers, healers, shepherds and counselors.
Holy warriors need all three archangels. Michael already defeated the evil one, and is guardian and champion of God’s people. We need him, as knights and soldiers in the armies of God. Gabriel is the strength of God and delivers His messages. We need God’s strength to bring His message of salvation to all, and in our role as ambassadors of Christ. Raphael expelled and bound the demon, and brought healing. We need him as we travel throughout the world and assault the enemy, bringing healing and being healed ourselves when we are wounded in the process. We need him also as we pastor the flock and bring counsel to God’s people.
Then there are the rest of the angels to accompany us and fight with us. Angels are servants or messengers of God. We too are God’s servants and God’s messengers. Above all, we are holy warriors. Jesus is victorious. We too can be victorious, if we give our all, even unto death. May it be said of holy warriors: “love for life did not deter them from death.” (v.11c). Because of them, the devil “knows he has but a short time.” (v.12c).
Onward, holy warriors! Ho-wa!