Skip to comments.Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings 28-Sep-2021; Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels
Posted on 09/29/2021 4:34:22 AM PDT by annalex
Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels
The altar at St. Raphael Church in Rockville, MD
Readings at Mass
Liturgical Colour: White.
His robe was white as snow
As I watched:
Thrones were set in place
and one of great age took his seat.
His robe was white as snow,
the hair of his head as pure as wool.
His throne was a blaze of flames,
its wheels were a burning fire.
A stream of fire poured out,
issuing from his presence.
A thousand thousand waited on him,
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
A court was held
and the books were opened.
I gazed into the visions of the night.
And I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven,
one like a son of man.
He came to the one of great age
and was led into his presence.
On him was conferred sovereignty,
glory and kingship,
and men of all peoples, nations and languages became his servants.
His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty
which shall never pass away,
nor will his empire ever be destroyed.
In the presence of the angels I will bless you, O Lord.
I thank you, Lord, with all my heart:
you have heard the words of my mouth.
In the presence of the angels I will bless you.
I will adore before your holy temple.
In the presence of the angels I will bless you, O Lord.
I thank you for your faithfulness and love,
which excel all we ever knew of you.
On the day I called, you answered;
you increased the strength of my soul.
In the presence of the angels I will bless you, O Lord.
All earth’s kings shall thank you
when they hear the words of your mouth.
They shall sing of the Lord’s ways:
‘How great is the glory of the Lord!’
In the presence of the angels I will bless you, O Lord.
Give thanks to the Lord, all his hosts,
his servants who do his will.
You will see heaven laid open, and the Son of Man
When Jesus saw Nathanael coming he said of him, ‘There is an Israelite who deserves the name, incapable of deceit.’ ‘How do you know me?’ said Nathanael. ‘Before Philip came to call you,’ said Jesus ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ Nathanael answered, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel.’ Jesus replied, ‘You believe that just because I said: I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.’ And then he added ‘I tell you most solemnly, you will see heaven laid open and, above the Son of Man, the angels of God ascending and descending.’
The readings on this page are from the Jerusalem Bible, which is used at Mass in most of the English-speaking world. The New American Bible readings, which are used at Mass in the United States, are available in the Universalis apps, programs and downloads.
KEYWORDS: catholic; jn1; ordinarytime; prayer
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|Latin: Vulgata Clementina
|Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
|Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him: and he saith of him: Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile.
|Vidit Jesus Nathanaël venientem ad se, et dicit de eo : Ecce vere Israëlita, in quo dolus non est.
|ειδεν ο ιησους τον ναθαναηλ ερχομενον προς αυτον και λεγει περι αυτου ιδε αληθως ισραηλιτης εν ω δολος ουκ εστιν
|Nathanael saith to him: Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered, and said to him: Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
|Dicit ei Nathanaël : Unde me nosti ? Respondit Jesus, et dixit ei : Priusquam te Philippus vocavit, cum esses sub ficu, vidi te.
|λεγει αυτω ναθαναηλ ποθεν με γινωσκεις απεκριθη ιησους και ειπεν αυτω προ του σε φιλιππον φωνησαι οντα υπο την συκην ειδον σε
|Nathanael answered him, and said: Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Israel.
|Respondit ei Nathanaël, et ait : Rabbi, tu es Filius Dei, tu es rex Israël.
|απεκριθη ναθαναηλ και λεγει αυτω ραββι συ ει ο υιος του θεου συ ει ο βασιλευς του ισραηλ
|Jesus answered, and said to him: Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, thou believest: greater things than these shalt thou see.
|Respondit Jesus, et dixit ei : Quia dixi tibi : Vidi te sub ficu, credis ; majus his videbis.
|απεκριθη ιησους και ειπεν αυτω οτι ειπον σοι ειδον σε υποκατω της συκης πιστευεις μειζω τουτων οψει
|And he saith to him: Amen, amen I say to you, you shall see the heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
|Et dicit ei : Amen, amen dico vobis, videbitis cælum apertum, et angelos Dei ascendentes, et descendentes supra Filium hominis.
|και λεγει αυτω αμην αμην λεγω υμιν απ αρτι οψεσθε τον ουρανον ανεωγοτα και τους αγγελους του θεου αναβαινοντας και καταβαινοντας επι τον υιον του ανθρωπου
47. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
48. Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
49. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
50. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.
51. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xix) Nathanael, in difficulty as to Christ coming out of Nazareth, shewed the care with which he had read the Scriptures: his not rejecting the tidings when brought him, shewed his strong desire for Christ’s coming. He thought that Philip might be mistaken as to the place. It follows, Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! There was no fault to be found with him, though he had spoken like one who did not believe, because he was more deeply read in the Prophets than Philip. He calls him guileless, because he had said nothing to gain favour, or gratify malice.
AUGUSTINE. (Tr. vii. c. 19) What meaneth this, In whom is no guile? Had he no sin? Was no physician necessary for him? Far from it. No one was ever born, of a temper not to need the Physician. It is guile, when we say one thing, and think another. How then was there no guile in him? Because, if he was a sinner, he confessed his sin; whereas if a man, being a sinner, pretends to be righteous, there is guile in his mouth. Our Lord then commended the confession of sin in Nathanael; He did not pronounce him not a sinner.
THEOPHYLACT. Nathanael however, notwithstanding this praise, does not acquiesce immediately, but waits for further evidence, and asks, Whence knowest Thou me?
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xx) He asks as man, Jesus answers as God: Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee: not having beheld him as man, but as God discerning him from above. I saw thee, He says, that is, the character of thy life, when thou wast under the fig tree: where the two, Philip and Nathanael, had been talking together alone, nobody seeing them; and on this account it is said, that on seeing him a long way off, He said, Behold an Israelite indeed; whence it appears that this speech was before Philip came near, so that no suspicion could attach to Christ’s testimony. Christ would not say, I am not of Nazareth, as Philip told you, but of Bethlehem; in order to avoid an argument: (ἀμφισβητήσιμον λόγον.) and because it would not have been sufficient proof, had He mentioned it, of His being the Christ. He preferred rather proving this by His having been present at their conversation.
AUGUSTINE. (Tr. vii. c. 21) Has this fig tree any meaning? We read of one fig tree which was cursed, because it had only leaves, and no fruit. Again, at the creation, Adam and Eve, after sinning, made themselves aprons of fig leaves. Fig leaves then signify sins; and Nathanael, when he was under the fig tree, was under the shadow of death: so that our Lord seemeth to say, O Israel, whoever of you is without guile, O people of the Jewish faith, before that I called thee by My Apostles, when thou wert as yet under the shadow of death, and sawest Me not, I saw thee.
GREGORY. (xviii. Mor. c. xxxviii. [59.]) When thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee; i. e. when thou wast yet under the shade of the law, I chose thee.
AUGUSTINE. (Serm. 40. [122.]) Nathanael remembered that he had been under the fig tree, where Christ was not present corporeally, but only by His spiritual knowledge. Hence, knowing that he had been alone, he recognised our Lord’s Divinity.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xx) That our Lord then had this knowledge, had penetrated into his mind, had not blamed but praised his hesitation, proved to Nathanael that He was the true Christ: Nathanael answered and saith unto Him, Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God, Thou art the King of Israel: as if he said, Thou art He who was expected, thou art He who was sought for. Sure proof being obtained, he proceeds to make confession; herein shewing his devotion, as his former hesitation had shewn his diligence.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xxi. [al. xx.] 1) Many when they read this passage, are perplexed at finding that, whereas Peter was pronounced blessed for having, after our Lord’s miracles and teaching, confessed Him to be the Son of God, Nathanael, who makes the same confession before, has no such benediction. The reason is this. Peter and Nathanael both used the same words, but not in the same meaning. Peter confessed our Lord to be the Son of God, in the sense of very God; the latter in the sense of mere man; for after saying, Thou art the Son of God, he adds, Thou art the King of Israel; whereas the Son of God was not the King of Israel only, but of the whole world. This is manifest from what follows. For in the case of Peter Christ added nothing, but, as if his faith were perfect, said, that he would build the Church upon his confession; whereas Nathanael, as if his confession were very deficient, is led up to higher things: Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these. As if He said, What I have just said has appeared a great matter to thee, and thou hast confessed Me to be King of Israel; what wilt thou say when thou seest greater things than these? What that greater thing is He proceeds to shew: And He saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. See how He raises him from earth for a while, and forces him to think that Christ is not a mere man: for how could He be a mere man, whom angels ministered to? It was, as it were, saying, that He was Lord of the Angels; for He must be the King’s own Son, on whom the servants of the King descended and ascended; descended at His crucifixion, ascended at His resurrection and ascension. Angels too before this came and ministered unto Him, and angels brought the glad tidings of His birth. Our Lord made the present a proof of the future. After the powers He had already shewn, Nathanael would readily believe that much more would follow.
AUGUSTINE. (in Verb. Dom.) Let us recollect the Old Testament account. Jacob saw in a dream a ladder reaching from earth to heaven; the Lord resting upon it, and the angels ascending and descending upon it. Lastly, Jacob himself understanding what the vision meant, set up a stone, and poured oil upon it. (Gen. 28:12.) When he anointed the stone, did he make an idol? No: he only set up a symbol, not an object of worship. Thou seest here the anointing; see the Anointed also. He is the stone which the builders refused. If Jacob, who was named Israel, saw the ladder, and Nathanael was an Israelite indeed, there was a fitness in our Lord telling him Jacob’s dream; as if he said, Whose name thou art called by, his dream hath appeared unto thee: for thou shalt see the heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. If they descend upon Him, and ascend to Him, then He is both up above and here below at the same time; above in Himself, below in His members.
AUGUSTINE. (Tr. vii. in Joan. c. 23) Good preachers, however, who preach Christ, are as angels of God; i. e. they ascend and descend upon the Son of man; as Paul, who ascended to the third heaven, and descended so far even as to give milk to babes. He saith, We shall see greater things than these: (2 Cor. 12:2. 1 Cor. 3:2) because it is a greater thing that our Lord has justified us, whom He hath called, than that He saw us lying under the shadow of death. For had we remained where He saw us, what profit would it have been? (c. 17.). It is asked why Nathanael, to whom our Lord bears such testimony, is not found among the twelve Apostles. We may believe, however, that it was because he was so learned, and versed in the law, that our Lord had not put him among the disciples. He chose the foolish, to confound the world. Intending to break the neck of the proud, He sought not to gain the fisherman through the orator, but by the fisherman the emperor. The great Cyprian was an orator; but Peter was a fisherman before him; and through him not only the orator, but the emperor, believed.
Catena Aurea John 1
THE ARCHANGEL MICHAEL
Michael from the Hebrew <Mikha'el>, meaning: <Who is as God>? His name is a battle cry; both shield and weapon in the struggle, and an eternal trophy of victory. The popularity of this name in the Old Testament appears from the fact that no less than ten persons bearing the name of Michael are mentioned in the sacred books, like: "Sthur the son of Michael." A similar name is found also in the Accadian language with a meaning identical to that of Michael; the Accadian equivalent is <Mannuki-ili.>
As the proper name of one of the great Archangels, the word Michael appears for the first time in the book of the prophet Daniel, where he is called: "Michael, one of the chief princes," and again: "At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people."
The name "Archangel" is given only to Saint Michael, even though sacred tradition and the liturgy of the Church attribute the same title to Saint Gabriel and Saint Raphael: "When Michael, the archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses, he durst not bring against him the judgment of railing speech, but said: The Lord command thee." In spite of such an explicit testimony of the Scripture, a few writers have maintained that Saint Michael, because of his exalted position among the Angels, must belong to a much higher order, perhaps to that of the Seraphim, rather than to the order of Archangels. We do not believe that this opinion can be defended. The exalted position occupied by Saint Michael can be explained by the fact that, even though he belongs to a relatively low order by nature, his outstanding zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of his fellow Angels, at the time of Satan's rebellion, merited him such glory and power as to equal and even to excel through grace such celestial spirits that belong to a much higher Choir by nature. If we remember, ie Angels lived through a period of probation during which they could merit each according to his works. The great variety of merit explains, in addition to other natural elements, the great difference in their glory and in their power.
Father Joseph Husslein points out that the Church calls Saint Michael "Prince of the heavenly hosts"-<Princeps militiae caelestis>, adding further: "The fact that the three Angels I have just mentioned are spoken of as Archangels need not imply more than that they were entrusted with extraordinary missions. Michael is the only one to whom the Scriptures apply this title, but there is good reason for the opinion that he may be the very highest of all the angels." Saint Michael is indeed a prince of the heavenly hosts, but this is sufficiently explained by the power granted him by God and not necessarily by superiority of nature. We believe that a power of that sort would not be conferred upon Seraphim and Cherubim who are the living throne of God, but rather upon those who belong to the order of ministering spirits, namely Principalities, Archangels, and Angels, who "are sent to minister for them, who shall receive the inheritance of salvation."
According to Gustav F. Oehler, "this name: Michael-Who is as God?-of the prince of the Angels does not imply merely a humble acknowledgment on the part of the Angel, but it is rather an actual assertion concerning the Angel himself. The name thus expresses the irresistibility of him to whom God gives the power to execute His behests."
Saint Michael has always been the warrior Angel, fighting first Satan and his demons from the beginning, then, in the course of time, all the enemies of God's own People. He is "the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people." As of old, so today, Saint Michael is the great defender of the Church of Christ on earth.
The now famous problem, "The Angel of the Lord," <Malakh Yahweh>, that has engaged the attention of Scripture scholars for decades, may perhaps be solved by admitting that this mysterious Angel of the Lord (who in various books of the Old Testament is represented as acting in ie name of God Himself, and is often received and honored as God would), is none other than the Archangel Saint Michael, God's own legate to His people. The words of the prophet Daniel seem to insinuate this: "None is my helper in all these things, but Michael your prince." "At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people." A legate can speak and act in the name and by the authority of the supreme ruler who sent him and whom he represents. This seems to have been Saint Michael's position with the children of Israel; he was both the heavenly Prince representing the King of Heaven and the heavenly protector of God's own people against both human and diabolical enemies.
Saint Michael who had defended and protected God's children in the spirit world, was to extend the same protection to the human children of God here on earth. Surrounded and threatened as they were by hostile pagan nations, over which Satan had established his tyrannical rule, Saint Michael could not remain indifferent to this new form of seduction and rebellion introduced by his archenemy among the children of men. As long as Satan persists in his attacks, the heavenly champion, the Prince of the heavenly hosts will continue to shatter his plans with the war cry of old: "Who is as God?" In the Old Testament, therefore, Saint Michael is the Angel par excellence, the Angel of the Lord, the national Guardian Angel of the Israelites.
At times, especially in the book of Exodus, this "Angel of the Lord" is called simply, the Lord; as for example in this passage, "And the Lord went before them to show the way by day in a pillar of a cloud, and by night in a pillar of fire, that he might be the guide of their journey at both times." He who is called "the Lord" in this passage, is mentioned again in the same capacity as the "Angel of God" in the following passage: "And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, leaving the forepart, stood behind, between the Egyptian camp and the camp of Israel, and it was a dark cloud, and enlightening the night." This very clever military maneuver dearly shows the strategy of the Prince of heavenly hosts.
As the national Guardian Angel of the Israelites, and God's special legate to His people, Saint Michael is introduced with words which reveal the great divine love and solicitude of the Lord, together with man's duties towards Guardian Angels in general: "Behold I will send my Angel who shall go before thee, and keep thee in thy journey, and bring thee into the place that I have prepared. Take notice of him, and hear his voice, and do not think him one to be contemned, for he will not forgive when thou hast sinned, and my name is in him. But if thou wilt hear his voice, and do all that I speak, I will be an enemy to thy enemies, and will afflict them that afflict thee."
The other opinion which holds that the expression the "Angel of the Lord" is not really an Angel, or Saint Michael, but the Word of God (the Logos) God Himself, is now regarded as a mere conjecture and a rather obsolete opinion.
Several apparitions of the Archangel Michael have been reported during the Christian centuries. One of the most outstanding of all such apparitions is the one which is commemorated in the universal Church on May 8. The Archangel Saint Michael appeared on Mount Gargano in Apulia, South Italy, in the days of Pope Gelasius (492- 496). A shrine was erected in the cave of the apparition and it became the goal of devout pilgrimages in subsequent centuries. Another feast in honor of Saint Michael the Archangel, on September 29, formerly known as <Michaelmas>, is the anniversary of the Dedication of the former basilica of Saint Michael and all the Angels on the Salarian Way in Rome. An apparition, similar to that of Mount Gargano, was honored in the great shrine called <Michaelion>, near Constantinople, according to the historian Sozomenus, who wrote about the middle of the fifth century, a century of great devotion to the Holy Angels in general and to Saint Michael in particular.
In the liturgy of the Mass Saint Michael is regarded as the Angel who leads the souls of the faithful departed to heaven: "Deliver them from the lion's mouth, that hell engulf them not, that they fall not into darkness; but let Michael, the holy standard-bearer, bring them into the holy light."
Saint Michael is invoked in a particular manner in the prayers recited at the foot of the altar after Mass: "Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, etc." This particular prayer is a condensed form of the general exorcism against Satan and all the evil spirits, published by Pope Leo XIII.
As long as God's children are exposed to the attacks of Satan in this world, Saint Michael's battle cry: "Who is like God?" will continue to scare and shatter all the forces of evil, and his powerful intervention in the struggle in behalf of the children of God will never cease.
THE ARCHANGEL GABRIEL
The name Gabriel seems to be composed of the Hebrew words, <gebher>: man, and <'el>: God. It means, therefore, <Man of God>, or, <Strength of God.>
Practically all the missions and manifestations of this Archangel are closely connected with the coming of the Messias. The most accurate prophecy regarding the time of the coming of Christ was made by Saint Gabriel through the prophet Daniel.
Immediately before the coming of Christ we meet the Archangel Gabriel in the temple of Jerusalem, announcing to Zachary the birth of a son, John the Baptist, the precursor of Christ: "I am Gabriel, who stand before God, and am sent to speak to thee, and to bring thee these good tidings."
The greatest and by far the most joyful message ever committed to an Angel from the beginning of time, was the one brought by the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, announcing to her the Incarnation of the Word of God and the birth of Christ, the Savior of mankind. The simplicity and heavenly grandeur of this message, as related to us by her who was the only witness to Gabriel's good tidings, should be read in full in order to understand the sublime and delicate mission of Gabriel in the work of human redemption.
It is the first time that a prince of the court of heaven greets an earthly child of God, a young woman, with a deference and respect a prince would show to his Queen. That Angel's flight to the earth marked the dawn of a new day, the beginning of a new covenant, the fulfillment of God's promises to His people: The Angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man, whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary."
Heavenly wisdom, tact, adroitness are evident in Gabriel's conversation with the Virgin Mary: "The Angel being come in said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee." Gabriel must overcome Mary's reaction of surprise at both his appearance and especially at his "manner of salutation." He has to prepare and dispose her pure virginal mind to the idea of maternity, and obtain her consent to become the mother of the Son of God. Gabriel nobly fulfills this task: "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God." He calls her by her own name in order to inspire confidence and to show affection and solicitude in her perturbation. The great message is presented to her as a decree of the Most High God, a thing ordained in the eternal decree of the Incarnation, predicted centuries before by the prophets, and announced now to her as an event of imminent occurrence depending on her consent: "Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end." From these words of the Angel, it became very evident to Mary that her son was to be the promised Messias, the Son of David. But she did not know how to reconcile her vow of virginity with the promised motherhood, hence her question: "How shall this be done, because I know not man." Gabriel's reply shows that God wanted to respect Mary's vow of virginity and thus make her a mother without a human father, in a unique and miraculous way: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee."
As a last word of encouragement and, at the same time, a most gratifying information, the Archangel reveals to Mary that her elderly and barren cousin Elizabeth is now an expectant mother in her sixth month of pregnancy. This final argument was offered in order "to prove that nothing can be impossible with God."
Mary, unshaken in her profound humility, replied: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word." This reply was Mary's consent, a consent awaited by heaven and earth. The Archangel Gabriel departed from Mary to bring to all the Angels the glorious tidings of the Incarnation of the Word.
It seems very probable that Gabriel, the Archangel of the Annunciation, was given special charge of the Holy Family of Nazareth. He was probably the Angel who brought "good tidings of great joy" to the shepherds "keeping night watches over their flock," the night that Christ was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem. We notice, on this occasion, the same procedure of first assuaging fear and surprise, as had been the case at Mary's Annunciation by Gabriel: "Fear not, for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy.... This day is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David." Who else could be the messenger of such good tidings, but he who had promised them through the prophet Daniel, and announced them to Mary, Gabriel the Archangel?
Having delivered the joyful message, the Archangel is joined suddenly by a vast multitude of the heavenly hosts, singing for the first time in this valley of tears the canticle of the celestial Sion. It was fitting that the Archangel of Redemption should intone the canticle of human redemption: "Suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will."
Gabriel's duties towards the Messias did not come to an end with his birth. Gabriel was probably the Angel who "appeared in sleep to Joseph," first in Bethlehem when he warned him saying: "Arise, and take the child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be there until I shall tell you. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the child to destroy him." After the death of Herod the Angel appeared to Joseph again in Egypt to tell him to bring the child and his mother back into the land of Israel.
Gabriel who is "the strength of God" must have been the Angel mentioned by Saint Luke, in his narrative of Christ's agony in the garden: "And there appeared to him an Angel from heaven, strengthening him." It was fitting that the Angel who had witnessed the Savior's agony, and who had announced His coming to both the Old and New Testament, should also be the first to announce to the world the Savior's Resurrection, His triumph over sin and death on Easter morning: "An Angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow."
It is very probable that the Archangel Gabriel is meant when Saint Paul speaks of the second coming of Christ at the end of the world, when Saint Michael's struggle with Satan shall be over, and when all the physical and spiritual remedies of Saint Raphael are needed no more. It would seem that of the three Archangels known to us, Saint Gabriel is the one who with a mighty voice will call the dead to life and to judgment: "The Lord himself shall come down from heaven with commandment, and with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead who are in Christ shall rise first." The voice of the Archangel and the trumpet of God seem to be the same thing, having the purpose to convey the divine command to the dead to rise again by the power of the Almighty God. The resurrection of "the dead who are in Christ" is the harvest, the gathering of the fruits of Redemption. Gabriel, who helped along during the long day of man's life on earth, in preparing man for the work of Redemption by the Messias, would seem to be the first among the Angels who are sent out to gather the elect from the four corners of the earth.
THE ARCHANGEL RAPHAEL
Raphael, from the Hebrew <rapha'>: to heal, and <'el:> God, means "God heals," or the "Divine healer."
The history of Tobias, father and son, contains the grandest angelophany of the whole Bible, and it all revolves around the manifestation of the Archangel Raphael under the assumed name and form of a beautiful young man named Azarias. At the very end of his long mission the Archangel revealed his own identity and his real name, together with the actual purpose of his mission: "And now the Lord hath sent me to heal thee, and to deliver Sara thy son's wife from the devil. For I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord." In this angelophany, Saint Raphael reveals himself as a divine healer not only of physical infirmities, the blindness of old Tobias, but also of spiritual afflictions and diabolical vexations, as in the case of Sara, young Tobias' wife. Had not the Archangel resorted to an assumed human form and personality, it might not have been possible for him to consort in such a familiar way with men, for several consecutive weeks, because of the instinctive fear that man experiences in the presence of celestial beings. Had either father or son, or both, known the real identity of the stranger, from the beginning, the Angelic mission could not have been accomplished in the charming human way in which it was actually carried out. However, the assumed form, and especially the assumed name and paternity-"Azarias the son of the great Ananias"-has been regarded by some as a sort of deception and a lie. However, the perfect sanctity of the Angels is opposed to even the appearance of sin and deception, even to what we call a white lie. In order to carry out his mission, it was necessary for the Angel to assume a form perceptible to man, a human form and a human name. In this case he assumed the appearance of an Israelite, a young relative of Tobias himself. By divine command the Archangel was to act as proxy for that young Israelite, Azarias, whose name he took; hence there was no lie on his part when he gave the name of the person he was representing in his human form. His true identity was revealed at the close of his mission, and whatever misconception had been created in the minds of the various persons he had met, was completely removed, and these were then grateful to the Archangel not only for his many benefits but also for his consideration in dealing with them like a human being. Besides, the Archangel was not hiding a human name and personality and giving another instead; in taking the place of Azarias he could in all truth call himself Azarias.
The story of the Archangel Raphael and the two Tobias' is too beautiful and too instructive for us to dismiss it with a simple reference: it reveals how Angels act when in human form; their Angelic nature, their power, wisdom, holiness are made manifest in the various incidents of this charming narrative. The Archangel is God's legate, he carries out God's plan acting as an instrument of Divine Providence, and Divine Goodness.
The old, charitable, and pious man Tobias is blind and feels that his days are numbered. He gives his young son Tobias some godly admonitions and tells him of some money he had lent to Gabelus of the city of Rages in Media, many years back, for which he had a regular note with Gabelus' signature. He wants his son to go and collect that money, but he first wants him to find a man to accompany him on the long journey: "Go now and seek thee out some faithful man, to go with thee for his hire, that thou may receive it, while I yet live."
While this was going on in Tobias' home, Heaven was listening in and preparing the companion, the "faithful man" young Tobias was looking for. The Lord gave the Archangel Raphael the command to appear as a young man named Azarias, to accompany young Tobias to the land of the Medes, and to bring peace and happiness to two God-fearing but very unhappy families. As the young man stepped out of his house in search of a companion, one morning, the Archangel Raphael was there as if waiting for him, in the disguise of "a beautiful young man." "And not knowing that he was an Angel of God, he saluted him, and said: From whence art thou, good young man? But he answered: Of the children of Israel." In a very short time the Archangel informed young Tobias that he knew the road to Gabelus, and knew Gabelus himself, having spent some time there; he knew all that country very well. Tobias could hardly believe in such a happy coincidence. Immediately he took his new friend and companion and returned to his blind father. The Angel who well knew the purpose of his mission, implicitly announced it in his words of greeting directed to the blind old man, when he said: "Joy be to thee always!"
Not knowing who was he who wished him joy, old Tobias replied: "What manner of joy shall be to me, who sit in darkness, and see not the light of heaven." Here the Archangel Raphael became more explicit, making both a promise and a prophecy: "Be of good courage, thy are from God [God heals, was Raphael's own name] is at hand." He could not say more without engendering suspicion and betraying his own identity. Old Tobias regarded those kind words as an expression of good will and paid no particular attention to them; he had heard such expressions so often in the past. His interest is now in the voyage of his son, and he wants to know in whose hands he is committing the life of his only child and part of his own fortune. Upon hearing that the young guide is no less than Azarias, the son of the great Ananias, he remarks: "Thou art of a great family." Old Tobias, like his kinsman Gabelus, later on in this story, expresses his belief in the protection and guidance of guardian Angels. Not knowing that an Archangel is actually accompanying his son, he says: "May you have a good journey, and God be with you on your way, and his Angel accompany you." Had this circumstance been known to him, both he and his wife would have been spared all the worry and the sleepless nights during the long absence of their son. One thought, however, sustained the mind of old Tobias during his waiting: "Our son is safe: that man with whom we sent him is very trustworthy."
How carefree, and how joyful must have been that journey for young Tobias. To travel in the happy company of an Angel! He knew the road so well. He was never in doubt about anybody or anything they met on the road; always cheerful, never tired or sleepy; so sweet and kind in his conversation, yet always full of respect and attention. He was deeply spiritual and profoundly devout in his prayers, pure in all his words and actions. How true and inspired were the words of old Tobias when, comforting his weeping wife, he said to her: "I believe that the good Angel of God doth accompany him, and doth order all things well that are about him, so that he shall return to us with joy."
The sacred text remarks that when young Tobias started on his journey with his Angel companion, his pet dog followed him all the way to the East. Tobias was one of the thousands of Israelites living in the Babylonian captivity. Some of them had settled down in neighboring provinces, such as Mesopotamia, Assyria, and Media. It was exactly in this last province of Media that Tobias' kinsman Raguel lived with his family. This was not really the goal of his trip to the East, but it was here that God and His Angel wanted him to go; whereas his father had sent him to collect his money from Gabelus in the city of Rages in the mountains of Ecbatana, in Media. The Angel by diverting his trip accomplished more fully his mission, bringing unexpected joy and happiness to three families.
Having left his home town, the great city of Ninive, that morning, Tobias and his guide reached the river Tigris just before dark. They decided to spend that night by the bank of the Tigris. Here the Archangel Raphael began to reveal medical knowledge and experience. At the same time he provided food for that evening and for the rest of the journey. Weary of walking all day, young Tobias went to wash his feet in the cool water of the river before retiring. Here the sight of a monstrous fish that seemed to be coming up to devour him, frightened him exceedingly and made him cry for help: "Sir, he cometh upon me !" The Angelic guide, without coming to his rescue, instructed him on what to do, both giving him directions and inspiring him with confidence. At the end of the first day young Tobias had not yet acquired familiarity with his guide, so he calls him, Sir. Later he will call him brother. When the monstrous fish had been successfully drawn out of the river, it was cut open, roasted, and salted. "Take out the entrails of this fish," ordered the Angel, "and lay up his heart, and his gall, and his liver for thee, for these are necessary for useful medicines." These, no doubt, may have seemed strange medicines to young Tobias and he wanted to know when and how to use them. Here he begins to show more confidence and affection for the heavenly guide: "I beseech thee, brother Azarias, tell me what remedies are these things good for, which thou hast bid me keep of the fish." The Angel explains the medical virtue of those parts of the fish. More practical details are imparted as the proper time for their use approaches. The liver of the fish was needed as a material ingredient for an exorcism in order to free Tobias' future wife Sara from the evil influence of the devil; the gall was to be used for the cure of the blindness of old Tobias.
The Archangel Raphael had been sent by God to cure and comfort two afflicted souls, old Tobias and Raguel's young daughter Sara, the widow of seven husbands, all of whom had died on the first night following their wedding to her.
As night was falling, at the end of another day of their long journey, young Tobias turning to his guide asked him the customary question: "Where wilt thou that we lodge?" Here begins the first part of Raphael's mission. He must induce young Tobias to marry Sara, Raguel's daughter, and at the same time deliver her from all diabolical influence and vexation. This was a very delicate matter, for sinister rumors about this young dame, as being the cause of death to seven husbands, had reached Ninive and young Tobias himself knew all about her and was deathly afraid of associating with her. At the question of where to lodge for the night, Raphael had proposed to put up at Raguel's and for Tobias to propose to Sara, his own cousin. "I hear," answered Tobias, "that she hath been given to seven husbands, and they all died; moreover I have heard, that a devil killed them." Imagine this young man, now, going to ask for the hand of such a dame! The Archangel Raphael obtained just that, and what is more, their marriage was a very happy one, blessed with good health and long life, so that they both saw their children's children to the fifth generation. The instructions on marital union given by the Archangel Raphael to young Tobias on this occasion remain an ideal of moral perfection for married couples for all time. Prayer, continence, and pure intention dispose the soul for God's blessings and thwart all influence of the evil spirit. Young Tobias listened intently to his heavenly guide and later carried out his instructions most faithfully, first repeating them to his bride: "We are the children of the saints, and we must not be joined together like heathens that know not God."
Amid the charming and intimate family reunion in Raguel's home, described in chapter seven of the book of Tobias, an unseen struggle goes on in the spirit world. Young Azarias (the Archangel Raphael) absents himself for a very short while from the gathering of the family and friends in order to attend to a very important business of his own. During those few minutes, Raphael, in the name and with the power of God, "took the devil, and bound him in the desert of upper Egypt." This devil Asmodeus, who had caused so much sorrow to Sara and her family, was Satan himself. With the exile of the spirit of evil, joy, peace and all blessings came to Raguel's home. Having attended to his business, young Azarias returned and took his place at the wedding feast, while actually contemplating the face of the Father Who is in heaven. The following morning, leaving Tobias there with his happy bride, he continues on the journey, accompanied by four servants and two camels. He finally found Gabelus and collected the money for old Tobias and, on his return, he took Gabelus to the wedding feast of his kinsman young Tobias.
The last part of the mission entrusted to Raphael the Archangel was now to follow. Having brought joy and happiness to Sara and all her family, it was time to bring a similar and even greater joy to old Tobias and his wife. The slow pace of the caravan that accompanied the bride to Ninive did not suit the Archangel who well knew the pain and the worries of Tobias' old parents: "Brother Tobias," said the Archangel, thou knowest how thou didst leave thy father. If it please thee, let us go before, and let the family follow softly after us, together with thy wife and with the beasts." Tobias agreed and taking with himself the gall of the fish, he and the Angel began to advance with much greater speed, the dog following them. It was time now to give the final instruction as to the use of the gall: "As soon as thou shalt come into the house, forthwith adore the Lord thy God, and giving thanks to Him, go to thy father and kiss him, and immediately anoint his eyes with this gall of the fish.... Thy father shall see the light of heaven, and shall rejoice in the sight of thee."
In the meantime Tobias' old mother was waiting for her son, sitting daily on top of a hill, scanning the horizon for a sign of her son and his guide. Finally one day Tobias' pet dog, running ahead brought the joyful news to the afflicted parents by his fawning and wagging his tail. All these human and earthly elements blend beautifully with the heavenly in this charming story of Angels and men.
Everything happened as promised by the Angel. Old Tobias regained his sight. At this point the heart of young Tobias was filled with gratitude, love, and admiration for his wonderful guide; so many and so great were the benefits received through him. Having witnessed the miraculous cure of his father he could find no words to express his feelings: "We are filled with all good things through him," he kept telling his father. Old Tobias understood that it was God Who was actually working all these marvels through young Azarias, and thus, full of reverence, he calls the young guide a holy man: "What can we give to this holy man, that is come with thee?"
The Lord never permits man to remain in error because of the disguise assumed by His ministering spirits in any of their apparitions. Sooner or later the truth about them will be made manifest. For several weeks in succession, the Archangel Raphael had been acting under assumed human form and human name. Now that his mission has been happily completed, he begins to prepare his two friends, father and son, for a great surprise, the revelation of his real self. At the moment that they both humbly approach him offering one half of everything that had been brought home as payment for his service, young "Azarias" answers with a wonderful explanation of why God has so blessed them. He recalls to the mind of old Tobias all the good he did in his days, his charity, his mercy, his patience, his alms, and his tearful prayers. Thus he begins to reveal himself gradually in order not to frighten them with a sudden disclosure. The enumeration of all the good deeds and of secrets of conscience known only to God are the first step in this revelation; the second is the statement: "Now the Lord hath sent me to heal thee, and to deliver Sara thy son's wife from the devil." The third and final step was liable to trouble and frighten them, hence he begins with comforting and reassuring words: "Peace be to you; fear not." As he said this, both father and son fell upon the ground on their faces, for suddenly the human form of Azarias was transfigured into that of an Archangel of light and beauty, and the final revelation came: "I am the Angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord . . . when I was with you I was there by the will of God: bless ye him, and sing praises to him." This is the only reward that he will accept, but none of the material things, money and cattle and clothes offered him generously by his good friends. Yet, these could still entertain some doubts, because they had seen him eat and drink like any other human being, and Angels do not eat and drink as men do. To this secret doubt he answers with saying: "I seemed indeed to eat and to drink with you, but I use an invisible meat and drink, which cannot be seen by men." Now that his work has been done, and that they know that God has sent His Angel to fill them with blessings, it is time for him to return to Heaven: "It is time therefore that I return to him that sent me; but bless ye God, and publish all his wonderful works." Here the Archangel returned to his invisible form, and from the company of men returned to that of the Angels.
Raphael, the Divine healer, seems to have been at work at Jerusalem, in the days of Christ our Lord, in the pool called Bethsaida by the Sheepgate. In the five porticoes surrounding that pool there was a multitude of sick people, waiting for the action of the Angel upon the water of the pool, an action which cured immediately any person who first descended into the pool: "An Angel of the Lord used to come down at certain times into the pool and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pool after the motion of the water, was cured of whatever infirmity he had."
The health-giving ministry of Saint Raphael may still be seen in the miraculous cures that have taken place up to our own times in many of the sacred Shrines throughout the Christian world.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (To the Greater Glory of God)
From: Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
 As I looked, thrones were placed and one that was ancient of days took his seat; his raiment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, its wheels were burning fire.  A stream of fire issued and came forth from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened.
 I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.  And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
7:1-12:13. Up to the end of chapter 6, Daniel has been the interpreter of kings' dreams; now his own dreams are interpreted for him by an angel or heavenly being: the interpreter explains dreams (chaps. 7-8), the meaning of Scripture (chap. 9), and a vision (chaps. 10-12); and Daniel himself notes it all down.
Daniel had announced to Nebuchadnezzar the end of time as part of the interpretation of his dream (cf. 2:28); now Daniel is told when it will happen (cf. 12:5-12); for him (cf. 2:28); he is given a more specific revelation in which the figure of the tyrannical Antiochus IV (described here symbolically) is depicted as the epitome of evil and his death will mark the end of the present age (cf. 11:45-12:1). Earlier, Daniel's wisdom was seen as a divine gift to be used for the benefit of foreign kings; now it is depicted as coming from a revelation in which God speaks to Daniel through heavenly messengers and tells him about the meaning of human history--a revelation that he must commit to writing, as a source of comfort and hope for the chosen people. "Revelation has set within history a point of reference which cannot be ignored if the mystery of human life is to be known. Yet this knowledge refers back constantly to the mystery of God which the human mind cannot exhaust but can only receive and embrace in faith. Between these two poles, reason has its own specific field in which it can enquire and understand, restricted only by its finiteness before the infinite mystery of God" (John Paul II, Fides Et Ratio, 14).
7:1-28. This chapter marks the end of the part of the book written in Aramaic; in it we again find elements seen in chapter 2 (where the Aramaic part began); these include: the arrangement of history into four periods (symbolized there by metals, here by beasts) and the establishment of an everlasting kingdom at the end. Thus, the chapter closes the Aramaic section and acts as a kind of introduction to the chapters (in Hebrew) in which Daniel receives and writes down divine revelations. Chapter 8 is written in Hebrew and it explains chapter 7; and this pattern continues: chapter 9 is explained by chapter 10; and 11 by 12. Daniel first outlines his dream or vision, and it is then interpreted by an angelic being. In this chapter the content of the dream is given in vv. 1-14, and its interpretation in vv. 15-28. Vision and interpretation constitute a single event, an account of which Daniel writes down, as he mentions at start (cf. v. 1) and finish (cf. v. 28). Daniel's "signature" at beginning and end confirms the truth of his vision and the truthfulness of what he has written for the reader.
7:1-14. In chapter 5 the picture drawn of Belshazzar suggested that he stood figuratively for the sacrilegious King Antiochus IV. It is not surprising, then, that this dream of Daniel's is set in the first year of Belshazzar's reign, given that the climax of the prophecy (the little horn) concerns Antiochus IV. God is going to intervene definitively when irreligion is at its worst. There are two scenes in the vision--the beasts coming out of the sea (vv. 2-8) and the divine court and judgment (vv. 9-14).
7:9-14. Divine judgment is passed on the kingdoms in this scene. God is depicted as being seated on a throne in heaven, his glory flashing out and angels all around. Judgment is about to take place, and it will be followed by execution of the sentence. The books (v. 10) contain all the actions of men (cf. Jer 17:1; Mal 3:16; Ps 56:8; Rev 20:12). The seer is shown history past (not laid out according to chronology: all the empires are included in one glance), and he notes that a more severe sentence is passed on the blasphemous horn than on the other beasts. They had their lives extended (v. 12), that is, their deprivation of power did not spell the end; but the little horn is destroyed forthwith. "Following in the steps of the prophets and John the Baptist, Jesus announced the judgment of the Last Day in his preaching (cf. Dan 7:10; Joel 3-4; Mal 3:19; Mt 3:7-42)" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 678).
The one "like a son of man" who comes with the clouds of heaven and who, after the judgment, is given everlasting dominion over all the earth, is the very antithesis of the beasts. He has not risen from a turbulent sea like them; there is nothing ferocious about him. Rather, he has been raised up by God (he comes with the clouds of heaven) and he shares the human condition. The dignity of all mankind is restored through this son of man's triumph over the beasts. This figure, as we will discover later, stands for 'the people of the saints of the Most High' (7:27), that is, faithful Israel. However, he is also an individual (just as the winged lion was an individual, and the little horn), and insofar as he is given a kingdom, he is a king. What we have here is an individual who represents the people. In Jewish circles around the time of Christ, this "son of man" was interpreted as being the Messiah, a real person (cf. Book of the Parables of Enoch); but it was a title that became linked to the sufferings of the Messiah and to his resurrection from the dead only when Jesus Christ applied it to himself in the Gospel. "Jesus accepted Peter's profession of faith, which acknowledged him to be the Messiah, by announcing the imminent Passion of the Son of Man (cf. Mt 16:23). He unveiled the authentic content of his messianic kingship both in the transcendent identity of the Son of Man 'who came down from heaven' (Jn 3:13; cf. Jn 6:62; Dan 7:13), and in his redemptive mission as the suffering Servant: 'The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many' (Mt 20:28; cf. Is 53:10-12)" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 440).
When the Church proclaims in the Creed that Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father, she is saying that it was to Christ that dominion was given; "Being seated at the Father's right hand signifies the inauguration of the Messiah's kingdom, the fulfillment of the prophet Daniel's vision concerning the Son of man; 'To him was given domination and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed' (Dan 7:14). After this event the apostles became witnesses of the 'kingdom [that] will have no end' (Nicene Creed)" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 664).
From: Revelation 12:7-12ab
The Woman Fleeing from the Dragon (Continuation)
 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,  but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.  And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world--he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.  And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.  And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of the testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.  Rejoice then, 0 heaven and you that dwell therein! "
7-9. The war between the dragon with his angels, and Michael and his, and the defeat of the former, are depicted as being closely connected with the death and glorification of Christ (cf. vv. 5, 11). The reference to Michael and the "ancient" serpent, and also the result of the battle (being cast down from heaven), reminds us of the origin of the devil. Once a most exalted creature, according to certain Jewish traditions (of. "Latin Life of Adam and Eve", 12-16) he became a devil because when God created man in his own image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26; 2:7), he refused to acknowledge the dignity granted to man: Michael obeyed, but the devil and some other angels rebelled against God because they regarded man as beneath them. As a result the devil and his angelic followers were cast down to earth to be imprisoned in hell, which is why they ceaselessly tempt man, trying to make him sin so as to deprive him of the glory of God.
In the light of this tradition, the Book of Revelation emphasizes that Christ. the new Adam, true God and true man, through his glorification merits and receives the worship that is his due--which spells the total rout of the devil. God's design embraces both creation and redemption. Christ, "the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created" (Col 1:15-16), defeats the devil in a war which extends throughout human history; but the key stage in that war was the incarnation, death and glorification of our Lord: "Now is the judgment of this world," Jesus says, referring to those events; "now shall the ruler of this world be cast out and I, when I am lifted up from earth, will draw all men to myself' (Jn 12:31-33). And, when his disciples come to him to tell him that demons were subject to his name, he exclaimed, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven" (Lk 10:18).
In Daniel 10:13 and 12:1 we are told that it is the archangel Michael who defends the chosen people on God's behalf. His name means "Who like God?" and his mission is to guard the rights of God against those who would usurp them, be they human tyrants or Satan himself, who tried to make off with the body of Moses according to the Letter of St Jude (v. 9). This explains why St Michael appears in the Apocalypse as the one who confronts Satan, the ancient serpent, although the victory and punishment is decided by God or Christ. The Church, therefore, invokes St Michael as its guardian in adversity and its protector against the snares of the devil (cf. The Liturgy of the Hours, 2nd September, office of readings).
The Fathers of the Church interpret these verses of the Apocalypse as a reference to the battle between Michael and the devil at the dawn of history, a battle which stemmed from the test which angelic spirits had to undergo. And, in the light of the Apocalypse, they interpret as referring to that climactic moment the words which the prophet Isaiah uttered against the king of Babylon: "How you are fallen from heaven, 0 Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!" (Is 14:12). They also see this passage of the Apocalypse as referring to the war Satan wages against the Church throughout history, a war which will take on its most dreadful form at the end of time: "Heaven is the Church," St Gregory writes, "which in the night of this present life, the while it possesses in itself the countless virtues of the saints, shines like the radiant heavenly stars; but the dragon's tail sweeps the stars down to the earth [...]. The stars which fall from heaven are those who have lost hope in heavenly things and covet, under the devil's guidance; the sphere of earthly glory" (Moralia, 32, 13).
10-12. With the ascension of Christ into heaven the Kingdom of God is established and so all those who dwell in heaven break out into a song of joy. The devil has been deprived of his power over man in the sense that the redemptive action of Christ and man's faith enable man to escape from the world of sin. The text expresses this joyful truth by saying that there is now no place for the accuser, Satan whose name means and whom the Old Testament teaches to be the accuser of men before God: cf. Job 1:6-12; 2:1-10). Given what God meant creation to be, Satan could claim as his victory anyone who, through sinning, disfigured the image and likeness of God that was in him. However, once the Redemption has taken place, Satan no longer has power to do this, for, as St John writes, "if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world" (Jn 2:1-2). Also, on ascending into heaven, Christ sent us the Holy Spirit as "Intercessor and Advocate, especially when man, that is, mankind, find themselves before the judgment of condemnation by that 'accuser' about whom the Book of Revelation says that 'he accuses them day and night before our God"' (John Paul II, Dominum et Vivificantem, 67).
Although Satan has lost this power to act in the world, he still has time left, between the resurrection of our Lord and the end of history, to put obstacles in man's way and frustrate Christ's action. And so he works ever more frenetically, as he sees time run out, in his effort to distance everyone and society itself from the plans and commandments of God.
The author of the Book of Revelation uses this celestial chant to warn the Church of the onset of danger as the End approaches.
The Calling of the First Disciples
 Jesus saw Nathaniel coming to Him, and said to him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!"  Nathaniel said to Him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."  Nathaniel answered Him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!  Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these."  And He said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see Heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."
45-51. The Apostle Philip is so moved that he cannot but tell his friend Nathaniel (Bartholomew) about his wonderful discovery (verse45). "Nathaniel had heard from Scripture that Jesus must come from Bethlehem, from the people of David. This belief prevailed among the Jews and also the prophet had proclaimed it of old, saying: `But you, O Bethlehem, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler of Israel' (Micah 5:2).Therefore, when he heard that He was from Nazareth, he was troubled and in doubt, since he found that the announcement of Philip was not in agreement with the words of the prophecy" (St. John Chrysostom, Hom.on St. John, 20, 1).
A Christian may find that, in trying to communicate his faith to others, they raise difficulties. What should he do? What Philip did--not trust his own explanation, but invite them to approach Jesus personally: "Come and see" (verse 46). In other words, a Christian should bring his fellow-men, his brothers into Jesus' presence through the means of grace which He has given them and which the Church ministers--frequent reception of the sacraments, and devout Christian practices.
Nathaniel, a sincere person (verse 47), goes along with Philip to see Jesus; he makes personal contact with our Lord (verse 48), and the outcome is that he receives faith (the result of his ready reception of grace, which reaches him through Christ's human nature: verse 49).
As far as we can deduce from the Gospels, Nathaniel is the first Apostle to make an explicit confession of faith in Jesus as Messiah and as Son of God. Later on St. Peter, in a more formal way, will recognize our Lord's divinity (cf. Matthew 16:16). Here (verse 51) Jesus evokes a text from Daniel (7:13) to confirm and give deeper meaning to the words spoken by His new disciple.
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