By Fr. Roy Cimagala
WE might wonder why on the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, celebrated on September 29, the gospel reading used is about the vocation of Nathanael as one of Christ’s apostles. (cfr. Jn 1,47-51)
As that gospel narrates, Nathanael who was praised by Christ as a man with no guile since he said that famous line, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” referring to Christ, finally came to believe in Christ when Christ told him that Christ saw him under the fig tree. That was when Nathanael recognized Christ as the “Son of God, the King of Israel.”
The only reference to angels in that gospel episode was when Christ said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man,” addressing these words to the bewildered Nathanael.
So, the thought can come to us that the reason Nathanael came to recognize Christ was because he must have seen some extraordinary things while he was under the fig tree. And the possibility of angels ministering to the Son of God who is also the Son of Man must have taken place there.
Whatever may be the case, we cannot deny that there must be some relation between being transparent and simple like Nathanael, even to the point of being childishly impertinent, and the capacity or the privilege to see some extraordinary events.
It’s always worthwhile to remain simple and humble like children because, as Christ himself said, the things of God are hidden from the wise the learned and are revealed instead to the little children. (cfr. Mt 11,25)
In any event, it is also important that our belief in angels and archangels grows strong and abiding. In fact, we have to popularize their devotion. The archangels, for example, are great allies that we can count on especially during our difficult moments. They are so close and so identified with God that we can refer to them as God’s organic or vital extensions of his own self, if we may describe them that.
Remember what Christ said about angels in general? It was when he talked about the angels of little children whom the disciples wanted to shoo away from Christ for being a disturbance. “See that you do not despise one of these little ones,” he said. “For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” (Mt 18,10)
Angels, to be sure, are real beings. They are not fictional, figments of our imagination, projections of what we like to have. They are pure spirits who have entirely identified themselves with God. They are not God themselves, but creatures of God who upon their creation have chosen to be with God for all eternity.
And among them are the archangels. They are especially chosen by God to undertake some special tasks. They help us in our constant struggle against temptations and sin, in receiving some special messages from God and in healing some difficult sicknesses.
It’s important that we be aware of the existence of these very powerful archangels who, for sure, would be most willing and most happy to help us in their own way. We just have to enliven our faith in them and develop the appropriate devotion.