Monday, September 29, 2014
Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel & Raphael
1st Reading: Dn 7:9-10,13-14 or Rev 12:7-12
Gospel: John 1:47-51
When Jesus saw Nathanael coming, he said of him, “Here comes an Israelite, a true one; there is nothing false in him.” Nathanael asked him, “How do you know me?” And Jesus said to him, “Before Philip called you, you were under the fig tree and I saw you.”
Nathanael answered, “Master, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” But Jesus replied, “You believe because I said: ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ But you will see greater things than that.
Truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Nathanael passed the test of integrity when Jesus said of him: “Here comes an Israelite, a true one; there is no duplicity in him.” Israel was the original name of Jacob, grandson of Abraham. He was duplicitous because he cheated his brother Esau by grabbing from him the blessing of their father Isaac. A father’s blessing was important to the Hebrews because the son getting the blessing would be in the same lineage of the Messiah to come. By stealing his father’s blessing, Jacob (Israel) grabbed the right to that lineage from Esau. Jesus found the true Israel in Nathanael – one having no guile or duplicity.
Nathanael knew the story of Jacob (Israel) by heart, for he was a reflective man who often meditated on Scriptures under the shade of a fig tree. To the Hebrews, the shade under a fig tree was conducive to reflection and meditation. Nathanael must have spent time under a fig tree meditating on Scriptures’ promise of a Messiah. This explains Nathanael’s surprise when Jesus addressed him, on their very first meeting, as a true Israelite without any guile or duplicity. To him Jesus was one who knew his inner self and fathomed the depths of his desire and longing for the fulfillment of Yahweh’s promise made to his forefathers. “Master, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Nathanael exclaimed. In reply Jesus said that he’d see more signs of who he was with the opening of the heavens and with the angels of God “ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
Nathanael recognized in this statement Jacob’s dream about a stairway resting on the ground with its top reaching to the heavens and God’s messengers going up and down on it. (Gen. 28:12). Nathanael recognized Jesus as that ladder connecting earth and heaven and making it possible for him to ascend to Yahweh.
The same ladder is available to us. But we won’t be ready to climb that ladder unless, like Nathanael we too pass the test of integrity. It’s a tall order, really, because Nathanael was a man without guile. But if we cannot come any closer to that, at least let us be like Nathanael in his longing to have the Messiah rule his life. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY: God our Father, grant us the gift of integrity so that we may persevere in climbing the ladder to the heavens, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
FEAST OF THE DAY: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael – Archangels. They are spiritual beings of the highest rank created by God before the beginning of the world. They have no material body and are immortal. Their name is given according to the mission they have received from God.
MICHAEL (“Who-is-like-God”) was assigned to fight the devil. He was appointed to cast Lucifer out of paradise, for challenging the sovereignty of God. Then war broke out; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. (Revelation 12:7-8). Michael helps us in the daily struggle against Satan.
GABRIEL: (“the Power-of-God”) received the mission to proclaim God’s power. He was sent to announce the birth of Jesus to Mary (Luke 1:37). Gabriel has the power to assist us in most desperate cases, and to protect those who announce the Good News.
RAPHAEL (“Medicine-of-God”) was appointed to cure sickness. He was sent to guide Tobiah on his journey and he protected him from a demon during the first wedding night. He also healed Tobit from blindness. After revealing his true identity he said to him: I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who enter and serve before the glory of the Lord. (Tobit 12:14).