Today is the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. St. Gregory the Great wrote on this feast, that the Angels are known by their function, and not that they are spiritual entities. Those who have important tasks are the Archangels. Michael means, "One who is like God," Gabriel is the "Strength of God," and Raphael means, "Remedy of God."
The Angels praise and worship God around his throne, and serve God in various ways. Michael is known as the defender against evil, Gabriel is the messenger, and God's healing has been encountered through Raphael. The Angels are presented as members of this heavenly body which is present to God, and to men and women. In scripture, persons who encounter Angels will refer to them as 'like the Son of Man.' There is this beauty or holiness about them that sets them apart from all other humanity.
Which brings us to Nathaniel in Today's Gospel. Like any good disciple Philip brings Nathaniel to Jesus. Jesus tells Nathaniel that he has already seen him beneath the fig tree. We have to understand that the fig tree is the symbol of a seeker of knowledge. I like the old translation in which tells the bystanders that Nathaniel has no guile within him. So here is a man who is searching for truth and is pure of heart. What a good candidate for discipleship.
We read this Gospel on this feast to hopefully make that connection between the place where the angels dwell, and being without guile. As I mentioned at Mass this morning, sometimes we are way too hard on ourselves in relation to Sin and sinfulness. Our ongoing call is that of seeking truth and goodness. The angels are these holy entities who serve God our Father. They beckon us along a way of holiness and conversion. They help us remember that God is orientated towards salvation and the Kingdom; not punishment for our sins.
In another Gospel Jesus reminds his disciples that God desire justice and mercy for all men and women. The angels in heaven help to direct our thoughts and actions toward what is good and heavenly. We pray that the Archangels help us understand the importance to seek wisdom and to be found without guile. It means conversion and discipleship, so that we can live with God forever.