Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels
(Nehemiah 2:1-8; Matthew 18:1-5.10)
We should not understand the gospel today to mean that only children have guardian angels. Jesus’ vision is more inclusive than that. Each of us is protected by angels, the distributors of God’s mercy. This truth is evidenced in the whole passage of which today’s reading forms the beginning and middle.
Jesus warns his disciples that they are to look after weak Christians who stray from the faith. In a recent novel a young pastor gets wind that a new member of his congregation is having an adulterous affair. He goes to investigate one evening and sees a woman leaving the man’s apartment. Not waiting to investigate further, the pastor confronts his parishioner. He tells the adulterer to stay away from Sunday worship until he has chosen definitively for the Lord. The man knows what he must do and ends the affair.
When errant Christians stop praying or when they choose sinful pleasure over doing God’s will, we are to assist their return to righteousness. It may be counter-productive to confront sinners head on, but we can always pray for them. Jesus makes clear that if his disciples fail to intervene in some way, they will face dire consequences since weak Christians also have angels in direct communication with God.