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Memorial of the Guardian Angels

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Reading 1 Zec 8:1-8

This word of the LORD of hosts came:

Thus says the LORD of hosts:

I am intensely jealous for Zion,
stirred to jealous wrath for her.
Thus says the LORD:
I will return to Zion,
and I will dwell within Jerusalem;
Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city,
and the mountain of the LORD of hosts,
the holy mountain.

Thus says the LORD of hosts: Old men and old women,
each with staff in hand because of old age,
shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem.
The city shall be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets.
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Even if this should seem impossible
in the eyes of the remnant of this people,
shall it in those days be impossible in my eyes also,
says the LORD of hosts?
Thus says the LORD of hosts:
Lo, I will rescue my people from the land of the rising sun,
and from the land of the setting sun.
I will bring them back to dwell within Jerusalem.
They shall be my people, and I will be their God,
with faithfulness and justice.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 102:16-18, 19-21, 29 and 22-23

R. (17) The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
"The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die."
R. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
The children of your servants shall abide,
and their posterity shall continue in your presence.
That the name of the LORD may be declared in Zion;
and his praise, in Jerusalem,
When the peoples gather together,
and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
R. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.

Alleluia Ps 103:21

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Bless the LORD, all you angels,
you ministers, who do his will.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 18:1-5, 10

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
"Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?"
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
"Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever humbles himself like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

"See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father."

- - -
Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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There are at least double the number of us in this chapel right now. For every human being here has an angelic being present at his or her side. This is what God’s Word in Scripture and today’s feast assures us. And your guardian angel is assigned to you by God to “guard you on the way and to bring you to the place which I have prepared”, as we heard in Exodus. 

In St John’s Gospel, Jesus says that he has gone to “prepare a place for you” (14:3), so the place which Christ has prepared for us is in his Father’s house, so that we may, like the angels, “always behold the face of [God the] Father who is in heaven” (Mt 18:10). The job of the angel assigned to us, then, is to guard us on our pilgrim journey to heaven, defending us from evil influences, and leading us safely to the Father’s house until we see God face to face. 
But this does not necessarily mean that we’re kept safe from physical danger, although that is important, too, but our guardian angel’s main concern is for our spiritual safety, that we should not fall into mortal sin, or lose the grace given to each of us in baptism. For, as Christ says: “what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his [eternal] life” (Mk 8:36). However, if we do fall into sin, and, as it were, lose our way, our guardian angel may act by prompting us to go to confession, for in this sacrament, baptismal grace is restored and we return to Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life.  

But how does an angel prompt us and communicate with us? By inspirations, it seems; by suggesting certain thoughts and feelings that aid our salvation, such as when we feel moved to pray the Rosary, or help someone in need. But angels can never force our will or make us do things. Rather, like our friends, they can only make suggestions and influence us, but the decision to freely choose to do the good that they suggest, or to ignore them, is entirely ours. Hence, we’re counselled in Exodus to “give heed to him and hearken to his voice”, because the guardian angel works tirelessly for our eternal happiness and well-being. 

So, today, we give thanks to God for the loving care he shows us by giving us angels to guard us on the Way. And let us thank our guardian angels by heeding their inspirations, entrusting ourselves to them like children for thus we shall enter the kingdom of heaven (cf Mt 18:3).  

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