SAINT MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS

There is something beyond what we know, see and understand. There is something or someone that is beyond our grasp. Is someone looking after us? Some of us call them angels. The interpretation of the Hebrew word “Malach’ is “messenger”. Angels are messengers of God. Sometimes in the Bible they are referred to as messengers in human form and at other times angelic beings.

Various Christian traditions recognize different numbers of how many “Archangels” there are. An archangel is pretty much what it sounds to be “the leaders of the other angels”, a special class of angels. Some Evangelical churches claim only one archangel, the angel Michael. Others claim three, and others four, seven and some claim thousands of archangels. Michael seems to be the angel with the most votes. However, on this day we honor St. Michael and all angels.

In our first reading, Jacob has a dream. He dreams there is a ladder set up from earth, the top reaching to heaven; and the angels of God are ascending and descending on it. He receives a wonderful promise and blessing and then hears this message: “Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you”. Then Jacob wakes from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place– and I did not know it”! And he was afraid, and says, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the stairway of heaven.” Jacob knows he cannot get any closer to heaven than right at that moment.

Other examples of visions, dreams and epiphanies include the story of Elijah and how the heavens literally are opened to him and the chariot of God takes him away. Or how about Isaiah’s vision? Isaiah is transformed by a vision that includes angelic beings with six wings, and one of them brings a hot coal off the altar and touches his lips with it and saying: “Look. This coal has touched your lips.Gone is your guilt,your sins are wiped out.” (Isaiah 6:1-8) Angels are embedded in the scriptures throughout the Bible in many places.

Jesus tells Nathaniel: “Very truly, I tell you; you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” The ladder in Genesis is a means for the messengers of God (angels) to ascend and descend. If you notice in the gospel passage the Son of Man, Jesus Christ is pictured as the ladder into the kingdom, the gateway from earth to eternity.

There are times in our lives when we have or will sense the presence of something greater than us involved in our lives. We are encouraged that this is true all the time, but there are times when God chooses to make this known to us at inopportune moments. These special times of God’s choosing are not necessarily ours. We may have an epiphany of angels or God watching over us or breaking into our lives in a special way, opening our eyes to the things above, and removing the veil from our eyes so that all we can see is the awesomeness of God.

I like to say that I always welcome those times, but I have had close encounters like this when God’s world and my world became blurred and it all felt like one world, where I was looking into the gate of heaven, and there have been times when I remember thinking: “Wait a minute God. I’m not being so good today. Why don’t you come back tomorrow? That way I can clean up my act a little better, and then I can welcome you like you should be welcomed. Maybe you should come back later when my heart s in a better place. It is in those times that we are reminded that God loves us just the way we are. We are all God’s children.

Do I understand what the ministry of angel’s means, and when and where angels are ministering to me? No, I do not. If you want, you can rely on angels. You have enough biblical backing. If you feel more comfortable saying that the Holy Spirit watches over you and keeps you, then you also have biblical support. If you say, God the Father is watching over you, then you have biblical support for that position. If you say “Jesus is always with me. He will never leave me or forsake me”, you have biblical support.

The word for angel means messenger. A guardian angel is someone or something that watches over you. Just as Archangel Michael and all the angels watch over us, we should watch over one another. In this way we become God’s messengers, angels caring for the good and welfare of others.

“Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it. How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God and the stairway to heaven. This is Holy Ground and you are God’s holy people”.

Amen

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