14th Week of Ordinary Time
Here in America we seem to have an obsession with angels. You can rarely walk in to a bookstore without finding little resin statues of cute, fluffy angels. We turn on the TV and we have angels with an Irish brogue who is pretty and holding every one's hands and giving them a doe eyed look. We have shows where angels wander the highways seeking to do good deeds. I even saw a book that claimed to be able to teach anyone how to get his or her guardian angel to give up their name. Angels are a multi million dollar a year industry. I am sure that makes the angels really proud.
The Biblical image of angels is far from the American syrupy image. Throughout the Bible, angels are God's warriors. The angels were created by God to first serve him not to be at the beck and call of humans. Angels are not the fluffy beings we like to make them out to be. In the Bible, when an angel appears to someone, that person's life is about to be turned upside down! Angels arrive to give a charge from God and it isn't just some fluffy little love note. Angels are God's messengers and spiritual warriors.
We see in our reading from Genesis this morning that Jacob has an encounter with an angel that leaves him scarred and charged with a great task from God. We can also see in other accounts from scripture how life altering angelic encounters are. Our Blessed Mother is visited by an angel and she becomes the Mother of God. Joseph is visited by an angel and he is charged with being the adoptive father of our Lord and asked to accept his wife's divine pregnancy. Angels appear when some of the Apostles are held prisoner and the earth quakes and prison cells are wrenched open. These angelic appearances aren't exactly innocuous afternoon teas. No, angels appear when something major is about to happen and if we are visited we can be assured that our life will be forever changed.
I also remember hearing some folk say that when we die, we become angels. Where did that come from? Nothing could be further from the truth. Scripture tells us that we were created above the angels. We were created with the very Breath of God. We are created in God's image. To be made an angel when we die would be a major step backwards! No. We are the Children of God and we are made in God's image. When we die we become a part of that Great Cloud of Witnesses" the Saints in Glory!
To be touched by an angel is to be transformed and charged with great responsibility in God's Kingdom. Angels aren't like the one's on TV. Angels are God's Spiritual Warriors and harbingers of God's commands.