The holy archangel Gabriel is the herald of the Incarnation of the Son of God. He is one of the seven archangels who stand before the throne of God. He appeared to Zacharias to announce the birth of the Forerunner. Gabriel said of himself: I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God (Luke 1:19). His name Gabriel means “man-God.” The Holy Fathers, in speaking of the Annunciation, comment that an archangel with such a name was sent to signify Who He was, and what He would be like, Who would be born of the All-pure one. He would be the God-man, the mighty and powerful God. Some of the Fathers understood that this same Gabriel appeared to Joachim and Anna concerning the birth of the Virgin Mary, and that Gabriel instructed Moses in the wilderness to write the Book of Genesis. The Holy Fathers say that Gabriel belongs to the first and greatest order of heavenly powers, the Seraphim, since the Seraphim stand closest to God. He is, therefore, one of the seven Seraphim closest to God. The names of the seven are Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Salathiel, Jegudiel, and Barachiel. To this number some add Jeremiel. Each one has his own particular service and all are equal in honor. Why did God not send Michael? Because Michael’s service is to suppress the enemies of the Faith of God, while Gabriel’s is the mission of announcing the salvation of mankind.
O leaders of the heavenly armies, although we are always unworthy, we beseech you that with your prayers you may encircle us with the protection of the wings of your angelic glory. Watch over us as we bow low and earnestly cry out to you: Deliver us from trouble, O princes of the heavenly armies.
O commander of angels, minister of holy glory and messenger of God himself, all-mysterious, and exalted Trinity. Pray that we be delivered from trials and sorrows so that we might sing: Rejoice, for you protect your servants.
Hebrews 9: 11-14
Brothers and sisters: When Christ came as high priest of the good things which have come to be, he entered once for all into the sanctuary, passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation. He entered, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, and achieved eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes can sanctify those who are defiled so that their flesh is cleansed, how much more will the blood of Christ, who though the eternal spirit offered himself up unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God!
Mark 10: 32b-45
At that time, taking the Twelve aside once more, Jesus began to tell them what was going to happen to him. “We are on our way up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes. They will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit at him, flog him, and finally kill him. But three days later he will rise.”
Zebedee’s sons, James and John, approached him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to grant our request.” “What is it?” he asked. They replied, “See to it that we sit, one at your right and the other at your left, when you come into your glory.” Jesus told them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup I shall drink or be baptized in the same bath of pain as I?” “We can,” they told him. Jesus said in response, “From the cup I drink of you shall drink; the bath I am immersed in you shall share. But as for sitting at my right or my left, that is not mine to give; it is for those to whom it has been reserved.” The other ten, on hearing this, became indignant of James and John. Jesus called them together and said to them: “You know how among the Gentiles those who seem to exercise authority lord it over them; their great ones make their importance felt. It cannot be like that with you. Anyone among you who aspires to greatness must serve the rest; whoever wants to rank first among you must serve the needs of all. The Son of Man has not come to be served but to serve–to give his life in ransom for the many.”
Hebrews 2: 2-10
Brothers and sisters: If the word spoken through angels stood unchanged, and all transgressions and disobedience received its due punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore a salvation as great as ours? Announced first by the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who had heard him. God then gave witness to it by signs, miracles, varied acts of power, and distribution of the gifts of the Holy Spirit as he willed.
For he did not make the world to come–that world of which we speak– subject to angels. Somewhere this is testified to, in the passage that says: “What is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man that you should care for him? You made him for a little while a little lower than the angels: you crowned him with glory and honor, and put all things under his feet.” In subjecting all things to him, God left nothing unsubjected. At present we do not see all things thus subject, but we do see Jesus crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death: Jesus, who was made for a little while lower than the angels, that through God’s gracious will he might taste death for the sake of all men. Indeed, it was fitting that when bringing many sons to glory God, for whom and through whom all things exist, should make their leader in the work of salvation perfect through suffering.
Luke 10: 16-22
The Lord said to his disciples: “He who hears you, hears me, He who rejects you, rejects me. And he who rejects me, rejects him who sent me.”
The seventy-two disciples returned jubilation saying, “Master, even the demons are subject to us in your name.” Jesus said in reply: “I watched Satan fall from the sky like lightning. See what I have done; I have given you power to tread on snakes and scorpions and all the forces of the enemy, and nothing shall ever injure you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice so much in the fact that the devils are subject to you as that your names are inscribed in heaven.”
At that moment Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said: “I offer you praise, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because what you have hidden from the learned and the clever you have revealed to your merest children. Yes, Father, you have graciously willed it so.”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Saturday, March 25 –