Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels
(Daniel 7:9-10.13-14; John 1:47-51)
An author was comparing a career to a vocation. He said that one pursues a career to make money or to become famous. A vocation, he went on, is not something that we choose but what we are called to do. Then he listed the many ways different people have experienced a vocation. Some, he said, feel called in reading a book and others in being at a certain place at a certain time. He mentioned that some sense being called by God, as if God were just one of many ways that things happen.
This is not what we believe. We say that God is the author of any real call and that He has any number of ways to make his call known. The word angel is a one way among many to express how God acts. Pope St. Gregory the Great made this explicit in a famous sermon. He said that angels are by nature pure spirits. They become angels only when God calls them to deliver a message on His behalf.
As God’s agents, angels are benign creatures. We can thank God for their assistance. Indeed, the purpose of today’s feast is to praise God who helps us in our every need. We call on God in sickness and He sends one like Raphael, whose name means God’s remedy to heal us. We call to God in our weakness and He sends Michael, whose name means like God, to protect us against evil. And in our sinfulness we call to God, and He sends Gabriel, whose name means God’s strength to announce the coming of Jesus, our Savior.