FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
WAR IN HEAVEN AND EARTH
Feast of Sts Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels
September 29, 2016
Today’s reading: Revelation 12:7-12
Today we celebrate the feast of the three archangels. In a way, they can represent the three pillars of our life and mission–evangelization, family renewal, and work with the poor.
* Michael fought against Lucifer and the evil angels. This was the original spiritual warfare, fought in the heavens. Spiritual warfare is what happens when we do the work of evangelization.
* Gabriel announced the birth of Jesus to Mary. Jesus was born of woman and lived for thirty years in a home. Spending over 90% of his life in a family and home points to the importance of the work of family renewal.
* Raphael took care of Tobias on his journey and arranged for the healing of his father Tobit’s blindness. Tobit performed many charitable deeds, including feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and burying the dead (Note: the 6 corporal works of mercy are taken from Matthew while the 7th is taken from the book of Tobit). This points to our work with the poor.
But today we focus on St Michael. Lucifer had rebelled against God, and Michael rose to defend God. “Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon.” (v.7a). Michael defeated Lucifer. “The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it.” (v.7b-9).
Today Satan continues to deceive the whole world, in order to impose his dominion. Today values have been turned upside down, with good becoming bad and bad becoming good. Today people have been blinded and have turned from faith, family and life.
Satan was defeated, and the ultimate defeat came at the hands of the Savior. Jesus crushed the head of the serpent on the cross. “They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb” (v.11a). But in his death throes, the ancient serpent continues to bring people down. And so the war continues to rage. Salvation has been won by Jesus. “Now have salvation and power come, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed.” (v.10b). But that salvation needs to be proclaimed. This is done by evangelizers “and by the word of their testimony” (v.11b). This is the work of evangelization.
Satan is in his death throes. But that makes him even more dangerous in his desperation. Thus today, as we enter into the end times, evil and darkness are ever increasing throughout the world. “But woe to you, earth and sea, for the Devil has come down to you in great fury, for he knows he has but a short time.” (v.12b).
And so we continue with our work of evangelization, which brings us deep into spiritual warfare. Holy warriors, know that the enemy has already been defeated. “Therefore, rejoice, you heavens, and you who dwell in them.” (v.12a). But we still have quite a fight on our hands, and this continues to be a fight to the death. We are to give our all, even our very lives, for “love for life did not deter them from death.” (v.11c).
Never fear. We have our Lord who has already won the victory, and we have Michael the Archangel to defend us in battle.
* * *