Saturday, September 29, 2007

Feast of the Archangels


In honoring the angels we honor God’s power and might. In honoring the angels, we honor our fellow servants. We humans and the angels share the same status before God as servants. However, it is also worthwhile to remember that although we humans are created a little lower than the angels, to use the words of St. Paul, our future will far exceed that of the angels’.

The writer C.S. Lewis told a short parable to help illustrate this. Think of a master of a household who has in his house his young child, his heir, and his adult servant. The servant has been given the task to guard, protect, and train the master’s child. Even though the intelligence and the strength of that servant exceeds that of the child, as that child grows and eventually inherits his Father’s house, his status and his power will eventually become more important than the servant.

We are like that child, and the angels the servant. They have been given the task to guard and protect us until such time as Christ returns and we inherit both heaven and earth. They have been charged to look after us because of our importance in God’s eyes.

The image from today’s Gospel helps to illustrate this. Jesus took the image of angels ascending and descending, as on a ladder, directly from the book of Genesis--from Jacob’s dream of a ladder coming down from heaven and touching the earth--with angels going up and down from it.

Ancient people believed that there are holy and sacred spots here on earth where heaven and earth meet–-spots where heaven and earth intersect. That is a useful image to keep in mind because here before us is such a holy spot-the altar-the spot where heaven and earth intersect: where God sends his Holy Spirit so that mere bread and wine may become Christ’s body and blood. And that holy spot extends into each one of us who partake of Christ’s body and blood, because inasmuch as we bear Christ’s body and blood and the Holy Spirit, we too are sacred and holy.



And so, we may be unable now to see with our bare eyes Who the angels see directly. But the time will come when we will inherit God’s promise to us and we shall join all the angels in heaven as they rejoice in God’s glory, making their hymn of praise our very own: holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.



It is also worthy to note that St. Ignatius asks us, his sons, to practice chastity like the angels, limpid in body and soul. Singlehearted, clear and unambigous in fidelity. I think this is one thing we can learn from the angels. Their undivided love makes them immune from deception which we mere mortals are very much susceptible. By virtue of our being incarnate, makes us all the more distracted to that which we have fixed our eyes. However, this does not make us hopeless and resigned to that which we are prone to. It should give us more courage that the Lord has given us his angels to emulate.



Finally, we do not have to look up and wait for angels to show themselves. We just have to look around and find our angels here in this community. Realizing as well, that we too are angels to one another: God's soldier, being God’s messenger, bearer of God’s love.

I delivered this homily to my sub-community at Loyola House of Studies.