Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saturday word, 29 Sep 2007

Archangels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael (29 Sep 2007) Dn 7. 9-10,13-14; Ps 138; Jn 1. 47-51
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Angelic / Apostolic

The last of the Divine Praises, which we usually hear at the close of a liturgy of benediction, summarizes the way we bless God today: “Blessed be God in his angels and in his saints.” Life in the church seeks to mirror the life of the Trinity, which is communion, communion of the Divine Persons. The church is a communion of sister churches. Our common vocation invites us to cultivate communion with one another and with all.

Not only does our triune God accompany this communion on earth; so, too, does the communion of saints, which includes hosts of spirits who have praised God from all ages.

Pope St. Gregory taught that among the spirits angels are ones sent by God “to deliver some message.” Scripture names three to denote their ministry...among humans: Michael, one “who is like God?”; Gabriel, “God’s strength”; and Raphael, “God heals.”/1/

In this communion our spirits are clothed with flesh. We are different from angels. Our bodies limit us in time and space. Limited as we are in our communion on earth, we are sent to witness to Christ with our bodies and our lives. We are “apostolic” as we also profess in our creed: we’ve been sent forth on this mission.

As we embark each day on our apostolic missions as friends of Jesus, today reminds us that we are part of a communion which God protects in St. Michael and heals and guides in St. Raphael. God strengthens us, too, to announce in our own ways what God’s strength, Gabriel, made known to Mary: God favors and strengthens us to make Jesus known by the ways we live and glorify him.

/1/ Homily 34, 8-9; in Office of Readings, Liturgy of the Hours, IV, p. 1435-6.

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