In Ephesians 6 St. Paul tells that church to remember that, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12, ESV)
In today’s reading from Revelation we read specifically about the archangel Michael. This is a famous passage about the war in heaven and the ultimate defeat of Satan. We read that, “The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world –and he was thrown down to the earth and his angels were thrown down with him.” (Revelation 12:9, ESV)
In this passage we are reminded of the cosmic reality of the unseen and we get a glimpse of the end of the story.
In Christian tradition the archangel Michael is the leader of angels and the commander of the Army of God. He is mentioned in Scripture several times. In Daniel he assists Daniel and is called the prince and protector of the people. (Dan 12:1, ESV)
In Jude 1:9 Michael is referred to as the contender against the Devil.
As we see in today’s reading from Revelation, Michael is the warrior angel that defeats Satan.
Throughout Christian history Michael is seen as a protector and warrior, particularly against evil. This is why Michael is viewed as the patron to soldiers, police, and firefighters who daily face danger and evil in their line of work. He is also the patron of doctors, who often are faced with the physical results of evil.
Ralph Sarchie was a NY City policeman that, through the course of a number of cases, became convinced that much of what he was fighting in his line of work had a spiritual component. He became a demonologist and exorcist in the Catholic Church and realized he was fighting basically the same evil. A movie was made about his work called, “Deliver Us From Evil”. He said, “Two different types of evil exist: primary evil, which comes from the Devil, and secondary evil, which is the evil that people do.” (Beware the Night).
What can we take away from all this? I suggest 4 things to you.
1.) The reality of spiritual forces. We live in a day and age where we often say that “Unless I see it, I won’t believe it.” A feast day like this reminds us that there are forces at work, for good and evil, that we cannot see.
2.) The reality of the spiritual battle. We know that we battle our sinful nature but we must also not forget that we fight against spiritual forces at work around us. Sometimes their influence is easy to spot; sometimes they are masked. We must depend on the power of the Holy Spirit to help us fight and to give us discernment in our struggles.
3.) Take Comfort that we do not fight alone. Sometimes we may wonder if we are fighting by ourselves. It is good to know that we do not. St. Michael still serves as the protector of the people of God and we can be comforted that our Lord has seen fit to provide us help.
4.) Have Confidence in the Outcome. Remember by the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus the battle has been won. We know the way this war will go. The victory of God is not in question. In a world where there seems to be so much evil, we can have confidence that evil will not have the final word. Remember the words of today’s reading, “The devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that is time is short.” (Revelation 12:12, ESV)
So we can give thanks for St. Michael and all angels and pray for our soldiers, policemen, doctors and all first responders. We can also pray for one another in the midst of the battles we face. Our Lord has not left us alone, but has given us not only help, but the assurance of victory. AMEN+