Upon my return from St. Sava Camp last Friday evening I spent the night at home and straightaway the next morning we packed our things and made our way westward towards Chicago, northwest Indiana to be more specific, for both a wedding (my brother-in-law) as well as a funeral (for Fr. +Nedeljko Grgurevich who was buried at the St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville).
After our visit in Indiana and even a few days in downtown Chicago in cramped but superbly located apartment of my sister-in-law, we have returned once again to the calm settings of Northwest PA. I’ve been reading through some of the news I missed. I came across a homily delivered by His Grace Bishop Irinej of Backa on the Feast of St. Archangel Gabriel.
In his sermon he, among other things, explains to the faithful the idea of angels which at times might be confusing to some. Perhaps, he says, some might think that the belief in angels is something the Church has retained from ancient pagan traditions that believed in many gods. And so the bishop explains that first of all an angel, by the very definition of the word, is a messenger. What’s more, they don’t always have to be invisible. He says:
“And so for St. John the Forerunner – particularly because of his role in preparing the Coming of the Lord Christ into history and being His forerunner, messenger or herald who announces and witnesses Him, not only immediately showing Him but even baptizing Him with his own hands – the Old Testament prophesied say about him: “Behold, I send my messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You” (Mal. 3:1; Matt. 11:10; Mark 1:2 and Luke 7:27). Therefore, even people can be angels of God, that is messengers and doers of His will, (emphasis, mine) – angels in the body. The Main such Angel – He Who not only witnesses and reveals the will of God but also fulfills it in the most perfect manner, completing the salvation of the world – is the God-man our Lord Jesus Christ, prophesied of in the Old Testament as the Angel of Great Counsel (Isaiah 9:6), which is to say the Herald of the Holy Trinity in the history of salvation. Even He says of Himself that He is the One who is sent by the Father; we heard these words in this morning’s gospel. This means that He comes not only in His name but first of all in the name of the heavenly Father: He comes as an Angel, as a Messenger or Herald of salvation and the Giver of Gifts and direct Achiever of the Mystery of our salvation.”