Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels
In previous years, for this memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels, I have written about the roles of angels in God’s provident care for us; I have written of the role of angels in the lives of children and of those who are “young” in their baptism into the Church.
One of the roles we traditionally ascribe to the Holy Guardian Angels is that they keep us safe on the roadway of our lives, on our journey to the Father’s home. We describe this role to our children as the kind of guidance that an angel walking alongside of us will give us at dangers in the road.
As we get older, we may think of our Guardian Angels as “taking a break” because we are pretty good at avoiding the pitfalls, potholes and the dangers of the road on our own.
And as we get older, perhaps we begin to realize that for some things we can use a little extra help: we don’t see as well, we may not hear as well, and we don’t get out of the way quickly enough. We might have to step up our dependence on our Guardian Angels.
This Sunday, October 1, 2017, I have spent the day preaching in a parish in Texas on behalf of our Passionist Missions. Four times today I have read the congregation the Gospel episode from Matthew 21:28-32 (Jesus rebukes the high priests and the elders of the people for not accepting the message of John the Baptist and his call to conversion.) With each reading, I have felt the inspiration to continue my reflection into the celebration of the Holy Guardian Angels on October 2, today.
The key text is Jesus’ accusation of the priests and elders when he says: “When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him” (Mt 21:32).
Jesus accuses the “leadership” of the inability to see beyond their powerful positions and roles. What the “ordinary sinners” could see and accept, their leadership rejected in favor of their own positions of power.
Today, the second of October, we celebrate the intention of God to guide each of us in our daily decisions and responsibilities. Our Guardian Angels are the parallel of John the Baptist in the times of Jesus; just as John came to call the people to conversion and to prepare them to recognize Jesus as the Savior, the role of our Guardian Angels is to help us find our way to the home of the Father.
If we have closed ourselves off to the inspirations of God in our lives (“angels”), we are like those who would not listen to the message of The Baptist, and who gave ground on the way to the Father in favor of tax collectors and prostitutes.
Perhaps the tragic events surrounding hurricanes and earthquakes in this last month of September are a reminder to us that our God surrounds us with warnings and foreknowledge; which we may choose to ignore, or we may choose the path of solidarity in order to help one another to the better life which is within our reach, a life built of truth, justice and compassion for one another.
Fr. Arthur Carrillo, C.P. is the director of the Missions for Holy Cross Province. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.