Readings for Wednesday, September 29/
Feast of the Archangels:
Today Mother Church celebrates the feast of the Archangels, Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael and as we do, we not only honor them but we also recall the great things they have done and continue to do for us. In our first readings we heard about the great fight that broke out in Heaven and how Michael and his angels fought against Satan and his angels, which we know now as demons. Michael and his angels were triumphant and Satan was thrown out of heaven and the scriptures recount this hymn of praise “now have salvation and power come”.
But for us today, it is important to look at what immediately follows that hymn of rejoicing and praise. If we look at the very next verse we hear St. John telling us “But woe to you, O Earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath for he knows his time is short.” It then briefly accounts how, being cast out of heaven, the devil tries to kill ‘the woman’ whom we know to be Mary. And failing to do that, the scriptures tell us that the devil then turned instead and set out to kill her children.
My brothers and sisters, we are the children of Mary. We are the ones that the devil is seeking to kill. But we are not alone in the battle. With us here are Michael the Archangel and the other angels, battling among us not for control over the heavens but for control over our hearts. You and I both know how easy it can be for us to forget about the spiritual realm because so much of what we do each day is focused on physical things; and yet the physical things we see are but a small portion of reality. The challenge then is to remember that the reading from Revelation is not just about a one-time event but in a sense points out that there is, to this very day, a spiritual battle going on all around and even with us each day and that the angels still play a vital role in attaining victory in those fights.
As we come to this altar today and join with the angels in singing that hymn “Holy, holy, holy,” we give thanks for all the angels, especially Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, for their protection until this point and ask that it might continue until we enter into Heaven where we will reign victoriously with them for all eternity.