It's interesting how comic book characters have evolved in the past few decades. Marvel comics was started in 1961 and developed characters that have become household names: Captain America, Spider Man and Iron Man to name a few.
If you go back 2500 years, the ancient Greeks idolized Hercules and Achilles which we can still find on TV today. It seems these superheroes play a universal role in societies across the ages. Some have suggested we all have a basic desire to see good overcome evil. We project our fears and anxieties onto the villains in the stories and enjoy watching the superhero win the battle and give us assurance that the world’s troubles can be overcome.
Today we celebrate the Feast day of the original superheroes: the archangels Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel and Saint Raphael.
As we heard in our 1st reading, St. Michael appears in Daniel’s vision as “the great prince” who defends Israel against its enemies. In the Book of Revelation, he leads God’s armies to final victory over the forces of evil. We are reminded of this every time we recite the Prayer to St. Michael after Mass.
St. Gabriel also makes an appearance in Daniel’s visions but his best-known appearance is the famous conversation with Mary in the Gospel of Luke when he proclaims she is “full of Grace” and announces the Incarnation.
St. Raphael’s history is only recorded in the Old Testament story of Tobit. He guides Tobit’s son Tobiah through an adventure which leads to his marriage to Sarah and the healing of Tobit’s blindness. You may also know that Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli dedicated his parish in Dubuque to St. Raphael for which our cathedral is named.
As we reflect on challenges in our lives this morning, let us ask for the intercessions of St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael to help us overcome any fear and anxieties we have today.
-Deacon Steve Whiteman