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Friday, 9/29/2017, Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel & Raphael the Archangels

They Cannot Be Defeated

First Reading Commentary: Revelations 12:7-12ab

We are in a struggle. No, we are in a fight. No, we are at war! The enemy is the dragon John sees in his vision in the Book Revelations. The dragon is Satan whose name in Hebrew means: the accuser and we are at war with him.

Satan has been accusing us of wrongdoing since the beginning. He has been known to accuse us of a sin before the sin is committed. This; Satan did to Job twice. The first time, Satan said to God, “But now put forth your hand and touch anything that he has, and surely he will blaspheme you to your face.” Job 1:11

The second time, Satan said to God, “Skin for Skin! All that a man has will he give for his life. But now put forth your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and surely he will blaspheme you to your face.” Job 2:4-5 But Job did not blaspheme God in spite of what the devil had to say.

There are three points that I want to make about this. First: We all have a free will. With that free will, which is given to us by God, we have the right to choose. God did not interfere with Job’s right to choose. In fact, God put Job into a situation where he had to make a choice.

Circumstances may be very different but each of us is in the very same situation as Job. Each and every day of our lives, we are tested and tempted by the devil who can’t wait to accuse us of sinful acts and each and every day we must choose right or wrong. Sometimes we choose correctly but sometimes, we sin.

That brings me to my second point which is that God, in spite of our weaknesses, has faith in us. God knows what He created and God created us in His image and likeness which means that there is the goodness of God in all of us. Our sinful ways hide it but no matter how sinful we are, there is good in each of us and God knows that sometimes, we will choose good over sin.

God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows our strengths and He knows our weaknesses. He knows when we will win over evil and He knows when we will lose. God also knows that even though the devil will be out to condemn us, that we are usually sorry for our sins even though they may be repeat sins. Because God loves us and wants to save us, He sent His Son who not only gave His life but also gave us the Sacrament of Confession.

 Both times that Satan spoke to God accusing Job, God said, “…there is no one on earth like him, faultless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil.” God has faith in those who would rather be with Him in His Kingdom because He knows that they will do their best to choose good over evil and repent with remorse when they choose sin.

God does not owe us anything but God gave us everything including faith. I could write a book about why we should have faith in God but one reason is because God has faith in us.

My third point is related to my first—we have the right to choose. We can choose the easy way out of our temptations which usually results in sin. That is something which, all too often, we all do. Or, we can turn our backs to sin and choose good over evil which, is usually a more difficult thing to do.

Enter our Guardian Angels who have as their leaders the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael who we celebrate today. They defeated Satan before we were even created. Satan has no power over them and cannot ever triumph over them.

In Revelations, the dragon who is Satan and his angels are thrown out of heaven by Michael, which in Hebrew means: who can compare with God, and his angels. Satan’s angels are the demons who attack us every day and in every way that they possibly can.

Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and all of the other angels of God are there to protect us and guard us in every way that they can. As we celebrate the Archangels today, let us remember that they can only fail to protect us if we choose evil.

Notice that I did not say that they can lose. God’s angels never lose but they can only succeed in protecting us if we choose good. When the angels succeed, we win! This is also true of our Guardian Angels who we celebrate on October 2nd.

By embracing the protection of the angels which leads to their success and our victory, the loud voice that John hears in Revelations 12:10-12ab is heard loud and clear: “Now have salvation and power come…For the accuser of our brothers is cast out...They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb…rejoice, you heavens, and you who dwell in them.”

Open Up to God’s Protection

Gospel Commentary: John 1:47-51

According to John’s gospel, Nathanael is the fifth disciple of the original twelve and right away, Jesus promises him the Kingdom. Such was the faith of Nathanael but even he had to see Jesus before he would let go of his prejudice and believe Philip.

All of the Apostles are saints for us to pray to for intercession but I think that Nathanael, who was called Bartholomew, is a special saint to call on when we are challenged with fear from ignorance (prejudice). Because of the lesson learned when Bartholomew met Jesus, he is one of the saints who, is a perfect example of how much we can be rewarded by what we learn if we keep our minds open and are willing to listen. He is a perfect example of how quickly and easily we can be rewarded with God’s peace and love and eternal life with God in the Kingdom if we keep our hearts open to Him.

In contrast, Satan prejudges, accuses and condemns us even before we sin. But God never prejudges us. Instead, God gives us the right to choose. God never wrongly accuses us. Instead, God gives us the right and the means to repent. God never wants to condemn us. Instead, God sent the Son to nail our sins to the cross.

          So, what do the events that transpire in this gospel have to do with our celebrating the Archangels today? The Archangels lead all of God’s angels into battle to protect us from the evil of Satin. When we keep our minds and hearts open to God as Nathanael did, we can overcome our prejudices and we are able to embrace the protection of God’s angels and reap the reward of God’s peace.

Reading 1          Revelations 12:7-12ab

War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon.
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.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have salvation and power come, and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed.
For the accuser of our brothers is cast out, who accuses them before our God day and night.
They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; love for life did not deter them from death.
Therefore, rejoice, you heavens, and you who dwell in them.”

Responsorial Psalm          Psalm 138:1-5

R. (1) In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.

I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise; I will worship at your holy temple and give thanks to your name.
R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.

Because of your kindness and your truth; for you have made great above all things your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me; you built up strength within me.
R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.

All the kings of the earth shall give thanks to you, O LORD, when they hear the words of your mouth;
And they shall sing of the ways of the LORD: “Great is the glory of the LORD.”
R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.

Gospel          John 1:47-51

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true child of Israel.
There is no duplicity in him.”
Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”
Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?
You will see greater things than this.”
And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

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The Descent of the Holy Spirit
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Paragraph 767 "When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the Church."174 Then "the Church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun."175 As the "convocation" of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.176

The Holy Spirit came to Mary and the Apostles as tongues of fire.

Saint of the Day

Archangels St. Michael,
St. Gabriel & St. Raphael

Saints Michael, Gabriel,
and Raphael are the
Patron Saints of: Death, Germany, Grocers, Police Officers & Radiologists
Saint Gabriel is the
Patron Saint of:
Saint Raphael is the
Patron Saint of:
The Blind

In Revelations, Archangel Michael lead all of God's angels into battle against the dragon (Satan) and his angels and God's angels conquer the dragon and his angels and throw them out of heaven by the Blood of the Lamb.

Alleluia  Psalm 103:21

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Bless the LORD, all you angels,
you ministers, who do his will.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Nathanael (Bartholomew) went with Philip to meet Jesus and Jesus said, " will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

Other Saints This Week

Blessed John Henry Newman
(2/21/1801 – 8/11/1890)

Saints Louis Martin
and Zélie Guerin

(8/22/1823 – 7/29/1894;
12/23/1831 – 8/28/1877)

Blessed Pope Paul VI
(9/26/1897 – 8/6/1978)

Saint Vincent de Paul
(1580 – 9/27/1660)
Patron Saint of:
Charitable Societies

Saint Wenceslaus
(c. 907 – 929)
Patron Saint of: Bohemia

Saint Jerome
(345 – 420)
patron Saint of: Librarians, Translators & Scholars

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