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The call of Nathanael

Gospel Reading: Jn 1:47-51
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said to him, “Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him.” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Angels of God
The Greek word angeloi literally means “messengers.” This is also the meaning of the Hebrew melakim, translated as “angels” or “messengers.” As messengers, angels minister and guide believers (Gn 24:7-40), provide for their needs (1 Kgs 19:5-8), protect and deliver them from danger (Ps 34:8), and gather and comfort them (Mt 24:31).

“Archangels” are chief angels or those in high position. Some angels are given this title in the liturgy or popular belief because of the prominent roles they play, as noted in the Scriptures. Three are especially mentioned: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.

Michael (“Who is like God?”) is the heavenly spirit who watches over God’s people. He is the leader of the angelic hosts in the battle between the dragon (Satan) and his angels (Rv 12:7). In the Christian liturgy, he is the protector of the Church and the angel who escorts the souls of the departed into heaven.

Gabriel (“God is strong”) is one of the seven who stand before God (Tb 12:15), the interpreter of the visions to Daniel (Dn 9:21-27). In the Lucan infancy narratives, he is the angel of the annunciation to Zechariah (Lk 1:11-20) and to Mary (Lk 1:26-38).

Raphael (“God heals”) plays a principal role in the book of Tobit: a guardian in the journey, healer, and expeller of demons. He is one of the seven angels who offer the prayers of God’s people and enter the presence of the Holy One (Tb 12:15).

The Gospel alludes to Jacob’s vision where the ladder becomes the point of contact between heaven (the angels) and earth (Jacob, humanity). But Jesus, as the Son of God, now becomes the locus of the divine glory, the point of communication between the earthly and the heavenly.

Do you pray to angels, especially to your guardian angel?

Are angels real to you or simply “myths” of your childhood?

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.