This past week, on Wednesday the 29th, was the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels. It was the patron feast of my former parish, St. Michael’s on the Upper West Side, but it may not be a feast day you’ve ever thought much about. Focusing on angels may not seem useful in these current times when there are so many pressing issues in our world that need our attention.
But on second thought, maybe we could use St. Michael now! In the Book of Daniel, we find Michael as a prince who is the protector of Israel. And in the New Testament, the letter of Jude calls Michael an archangel, and describes him as having “contended with the devil.” We also find these images of Michael as protector who battles evil in the book of Revelation. In John’s vision, war has broken out in heaven, and Michael and his fellow good angels fight the dragon (who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world), and Michael casts him and his minions out of heaven down to earth.
John’s vision may seem bleak at this point, with the dragon and the forces of evil roaming our world. But the book of Revelation is meant to give us hope, because it reminds us that in the end, the forces of good triumph over evil – with a little help from God and God’s angels.
So where is St. Michael now when we need him? We might remember that angels are simply messengers, and they might not all look like the St. Michael of renaissance paintings, with massive wings and lethal sword. In fact, if you want to see what an angel might look like, you might try looking in the mirror. (Go ahead, I’ll wait!)
We are messengers from God whenever we follow the lead of Jesus. We at Holy Apostles are particularly good at encouraging this in each other. We welcome all who come through the door (whether on Zoom or in person!). We feed strangers. We express our gratitude to and love for God, rather than worshipping the false idols of money and success. We listen to those who have no voice and endeavor to lift up those who are oppressed. We strive to do all these things, and we encourage others to do the same. Like all angels, we are messengers to the rest of the world that, as the body of Christ here on earth, we are a force for good.
May you embrace your angelic nature today!