Feast of the Guardian Angels: “I’ve got your back” We hear that phrase – or maybe more accurately – we want to hear that phrase, whenever we’re facing some struggle, trial or obstacle: You’re going into a difficult meeting… you’re encountering a tense situation at home… you’re experiencing a stressful, challenging season where it seems like you’re a firefighter putting out one fire after another – just having a family member, or a loved one come up to you and say “I’ve got your back” can be some of the most welcome of words. Because they say to us that someone knows, someone cares, someone acknowledges the odds we’re facing so that’s a huge thing in and of itself in this day and age where people feel isolated and alone. And even more, they aren’t telling you what to do – the person is confident that you know the answer to that, they aren’t pointing out the mistakes you might have made that contributed to you’re being in this difficult spot. Those words just offer love and support. I see you. I know you. I love you. I’ve got you’re back.
The great news that the scriptures tell us from the Old Testament through the new, which we celebrate in a special way is that God has fashioned particular creatures – messengers that are wholly and completely focused on watching over each and everyone of us. We heard in the first reading from the Jewish Scriptures the book of Nehemiah – “the favoring hand of God was upon me.” In the reading from Exodus (the optional reading for today) God is more explicit in naming angels going before them and explaining how they would be his favoring hand to the Israelites. It is one of many utterances for our elder brothers and sisters of the covenant that underlines these beings that were messengers, that were intermediaries between the spiritual and material realms that communicated God’s favor… which becomes more pronounced in the New Testament beginning with the moment the Angel Gabriel announces to Mary that God was overshadowing her and she was conceiving Jesus to the words in this Gospel where He announces that not only are their the notable names like Gabriel, Raphael and Michael – but that everyone of God’s children has “angels in heaven [who] always look on the face of my heavenly father.”
On our part, when we remain as His Children (as Jesus counsels in today’s Gospel) meaning, when we don’t let our pride, our egos get in the way, when we align ourselves to His will, even when it is difficult – especially when it is difficult – that intimate, personal connection remains. God is reaching out to us to say I support you. I see you. I know you. I love you. God through his angels keeps reiterating to you and I over and over “I’ve got your back.”