The call of Nathanael

Tempo - - Editorial -

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.”

RE­FLEC­TION 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?

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.

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