Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels

Jb 38:1,12-21;40:3-5; 
Ps 139:1-3,7-10,13-14; Lk 10:13-16

The LORD longs to guide us along the everlasting way.  If we pray with today’s psalm, we pray that the Father’s will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Prayer is the exercise of faith.  In faith we know that the LORD has probed us and knows us better than we know ourselves.  The LORD knows all the details of our daily existence; he knows when we sit and when we stand.  He understands our thoughts from afar.  The LORD has an eternal perspective on our lives; he sees our most hidden motivations.  He knows all our journeys and he scrutinizes all our rest.  The LORD is familiar with all our ways; nothing is hidden form his sight.  Though this knowledge is too high for us to reach, the fact that the LORD knows us so well is our greatest comfort.  He knows us in every detail and still he loves us.  Indeed, he loves us without hesitation and without regret.  He cannot love us more, and he will not love us less.  Even though we may love him less, his love for us is total and boundless.  Where can we go from his Holy Spirit?  Where can we flee from His Face?  Even if we fly to the heights of heaven, the LORD is there.  Even if we sink into the depths of hell, the LORD is present there. Indeed, we profess in the creed that the LORD Christ descended into hell.  Our greatest efforts to avoid the LORD will only bring us to surrender in his hands, into his wounded and glorious hands.  The hands of the LORD will guide us and hold us fast.  Indeed, the LORD has formed our inmost being; he has knit us within our mother’s womb.  For his intimate knowledge of us, we give great thanks.  At this Liturgy and all day long, we give thanks that we are wonderfully made.  Wonderful are all his works!  This is the awe and wonder that filled Job when the LORD addressed him out of the storm.  This is the awe and wonder that fills our hearts as we listen to the Lord Jesus warn us, yet again, to repent and be saved.

 After a long time of avoiding the LORD, Job has just presented his case before the Universal Judge.  He has spoken the complaint of every innocent man who suffers injustice.  Yet, such bold testimony brings him to utter silence, “Though I have spoken once, I will not do so again; though twice, I will do so no more.”  Job can speak these words from the depths of his awe and wonder only because he has heard the LORD question him from the heavenly court of universal justice.  The LORD does not justify suffering; rather, he asserts the mystery of suffering.  His basic question of Job is addressed to all who suffer, “How can you expect to understand the mystery of suffering if you do not understand the mysteries of creation?”  Indeed, we have never commanded the morning nor have we shown the dawn its place.  Indeed, the very earth is changed as is clay by the seal, and it is dyed as though it were a garment.  Yet, we do not seal the earth nor do we create its colors.  Those who take refuge in the darkness of ignorance and hold on tight to their pride have no strength.  Those who demand knowledge and refuse to accept mystery are powerless to change anything.  The blessings of life and the struggles of living are ours to receive, even if we cannot understand them.  Even though we cannot answer the question, “Why me?”  Still we are blessed and still we suffer.  We do not possess the wisdom of the ages; we were not born before the dwelling place of light or the abode of darkness.  Indeed, these are the boundaries we have not crossed, nor can we cross.  Even after many years and much growth, we still have not the wisdom to explain either the blessings or the sufferings of living in this world.  We can rebel against such ignorance, or we can trust the only One who knows and understands all things.  Indeed, the LORD holds us in his hands and comforts us in every moment, even the painful ones.

The liturgy holds up for us the parallel account of Saint Luke’s account in yesterday’s gospel.  Saint Matthew’s telling of this event in the life of the Lord Jesus and his disciples has a unique teaching for us.  Here we read that the child himself becomes a parable of the Divine Teacher; here we read what it means to enter the Kingdom of heaven.  Being greatest in the Kingdom means being as humble and powerless as a child is at this time in history.  Children at the time of the Lord Jesus were property of their parents.  They were significant only because they provided a workforce for the family and guaranteed that the parents would be remembered after death.  Freely accepting such a servant role in the Kingdom of heaven produces true greatness.  Indeed, such an identity makes us greatest in the Kingdom.  “And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.”  As children of God, servants of the Lord, we enable those who seek the Lord to receive him by receiving us.  Saint Matthew concludes by recalling the Lord Jesus revealing to us that those who despise us will have to deal with our Guardian Angels who always look upon the face of his heavenly Father.  Such is the role of our Guardian Angels; they protect us from all harm and constantly reassure us of God’s favor and blessing.  Even though we may be humble and powerless we have nothing to fear.  We have nothing to fear: not rejection, humiliation, persecution, or suffering of any kind.  Here at this mass our Guardian Angels join us in the praises of the Lord Most High.  Here we join with them in singing and dancing as we cry out, “My home is with in you!”  Here we realize that we are safe and secure in the City of God.