Ancient kingdoms often had “guardians” placed on the gates of their cities or temples. These took the form of winged beasts, with the head of a bearded sphinx. For believers, angels are “ministering spirits sent to serve, for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation” (Heb 1:14). Angels have participated in the unfolding of salvation history: “They closed the earthly paradise; protected Lot; saved Hagar and her child; stayed Abraham’s hand; communicated the law by their ministry; led the People of God; announced births and callings; and assisted the prophets… announced the births of the Precursor and that of Jesus himself” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 332).
In today’s Gospel, Jesus says that the angels of the “little ones” always look upon the face of the heavenly Father. They watch over the “little ones” and enjoy access to God. Moreover, children and angels have something in common. Angels are not concerned with their status but only with fulfilling the will of God.
The whole of human life, from birth until death, is accompanied, protected, and surrounded by the watchful care and intercession of the guardian angels. St. Basil writes: “Besides each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.”
FIRST READING • Ex 23:20-23
Thus says the Lord: See, I am sending an angelj before you, to guard you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared. Be attentive to him and heed his voice. Do not rebel against him, for he will not forgive your sin. My authority resides in him. If you heed his voice and carry out all I tell you, I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes. “My angel will go before you and bring you to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, and Jebusites; and I will wipe them out.”
GOSPEL • MATTHEW 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.”
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.