Angels: God’s messengers of his redeeming will
1. Today is Easter Monday, traditionally called “Monday of the Angel”, because angels appeared beside the women and the Apostles with a significant role in the extraordinary event of the Resurrection. It was precisely an angel who addressed the first message from the empty tomb to the women who had come to finish the burial arrangements for Jesus’ body. He says to them: “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here” (Mk 16:6).
Angels are discreetly present at all the most important moments of Jesus’ life in addition to the Resurrection. They announce his birth (cf. Mt 1:20; Lk 1:26; 2:9); they guide his flight into Egypt and his return to his native land (cf. Mt 2:13, 19); they are a comfort to him at the end of the temptations in the desert (cf. Mt 4:11) and at the hour of the passion (cf. Lk 22:43); at the end of time, they will stand at his side when he judges history and the world (cf.Mt 13:41).
2. Angels, then, serve God’s designs at the fundamental moments of salvation history. As God’s envoys, they function as messengers of his redeeming will.
Their presence is seen by Scripture and by the Church's uninterrupted faith as the sign of a special intervention of Providence and as the announcement of new realities which bring with them redemption and salvation.
Today’s feast therefore prolongs the intense joy of Easter. The liturgy says over and over: “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!”. The Easter proclamation which the divine messenger addressed to the women is repeated to each of us by our guardian angel: “Do not be afraid! Open your hearts to the risen Christ!”.
3. By putting his angel beside us, the Lord intends to accompany every moment of our lives with his love and protection, so that we can fight the good fight of faith (cf. 1 Tm 6:12), and give fearless and unhesitating testimony of our loyalty to the One who died and rose for our redemption.
Let us invoke the Queen of angels and saints, that she may grant us, supported by our guardian angels, to be authentic witnesses to the Lord's paschal mystery.
Blessed John Paul II
‘Regina Caeli,’ Monday, 31 March 1997