Jesus has taught us that there is to be a unity between our interior life and our exterior actions; He teaches us today that this unity participates in the very relationship between heaven and earth itself. When we live our faith in such a way as to present Christ authentically to others, Jesus presents us to the angels, who are the messengers of God the Father and the attendants to His throne (Isaiah 6:1-3); it is safe to assume that once the angels hear about us, God Himself will soon hear of it! A great honor indeed, and yet it seems strange that Jesus would say such a thing to His disciples and to us: wouldn’t it be an even greater thing for Him to acknowledge us before God? Clearly there is something else He is trying to tell us.
The word “angel” itself denotes the chief task of these spiritual beings. It comes from the Greek word for “messenger” and it is related to another important word: “evangelize”, meaning “to bring a good message.” When we acknowledge Christ before others, we are doing the work of the angels, to announce God to the world; thus the angels count us among their number, and they claim us as one of their own, rather than identifying us with the angels who denounce God before others: the demons. The key task of the Christian is to evangelize, to preach the Good News in whatever way possible, according to gift and circumstance, to let the inner Light of God shine outward.
Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit Himself will aid us in doing this; we need not worry if we will be smart enough, eloquent enough, and so on. Look at the Apostles: could Jesus have selected a more poorly-qualified bunch of hooligans to be His greatest messengers? Look at the saints! Joan of Arc, the illiterate peasant girl; Ignatius of Loyola, the fiery soldier; Francis of Assisi, poor beggar of stones; Josephine Bakhita, former slave; and these are merely four out of thousands we could consider. You and I are called to be among them, if we have the humility to allow the Spirit to teach us, to help us live our Christian lives to the full.
The Holy Spirit is so key to the Christian life that to reject Him is to lose everything; why is this? It is by the Holy Spirit that you were received as a child of God at Baptism; it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we receive the Eucharist; recall your experience of God’s mercy in the confessional, when the priest says, “God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son, has sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins…” The Holy Spirit, the very Love of God, makes our lives as Christians possible, showing us a way forward when we think there is none, giving us courage when we are afraid, and helping us to live our faith with wholeness and integrity.
Do not be afraid to live out your faith to the full: the love of God is with you!