Six years ago, Cascia was celebrating Homecoming Week, and I was charged with leading the morning chapel services. This was my offering for Sept. 29th, 2011, the Feast of the Holy Archangels.
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Today our Homecoming theme is cartoons and comics. I was never into comic books, and there were only a few cartoons I watched with any regularity (the Transformers were probably my favorite). Nonetheless, their appeal makes perfect sense to me, especially the superhero comics and cartoons. Who wouldn’t love a larger-than-life, super-human character who goes around defending “truth, justice, and the American way” like Superman did, for example?
Today the Church celebrates three real superheroes: the archangels. They might sound like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael are actually the only angels mentioned by name in Scripture. Raphael appears in the Book of Tobit. Gabriel first appears in the Book of Daniel and then in Luke’s Gospel, announcing the comings of both John the Baptist and Jesus. Michael, mentioned in the Book of Daniel, the Letter to Jude, and the Book of Revelation, has been invoked as protector of the Church from the time of the Apostles. He is described as the "chief of princes" and as the leader of the forces of heaven in their triumph over Satan and his followers. God created angels for a specific purpose. In the Old Testament, they are God's messengers, delivering his word to a people too weak and fragile to hear and understand him directly. God also made angels in his image and likeness in that they have free will, just like we do. So, like many of our comic book superheroes, they willingly choose to use their powers in the service of righteousness and justice. Loving God, thank you for the gift of your angels in my life, especially my patron, Michael. Thank you for the comfort, protection, and guidance they offer me. Help me to use the gift of my freedom wisely and well, just as they do, and help me to remember that you have made me for a purpose in your plan of salvation. Thank you for helping me discern many parts of that purpose so far in my life—as a husband, a father, a teacher, and an Augustinian Catholic—and help me continue to learn and to do your will with my life.
Saint Michael, pray for us. Saint Gabriel, pray for us. Saint Raphael, pray for us.