“Don’t shoot the messenger!” That’s our colloquial way of saying that the words we speak to someone come from someone else; they are not our ideas. Most of us have probably said that to someone at some time when giving them bad news.
But that doesn’t work for we who are followers of Christ. Yes, we are messengers. The Greek word for messenger is “angeloi” from which we get our English word, “angel.” Angels are messengers sent by God to communicate something specific to humankind. For example, we’ve seen the archangel Gabriel herald the coming of Christ to a young woman named Mary. A whole host of angels heralded the birth of the Savior to shepherds working in the fields. The letter to the Hebrews tells us not to neglect hospitality, for we may be entertaining angels. And Jesus tells us today, “whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
We are all sent, brothers and sisters in Christ, to be messengers. We have received the Gospel and have been schooled in it through our participation in the Mass and our education in faith. We are not angels, nor do we become angels after we die, because angels are a different species of creation than humankind. But we are in a sense angeloi; we are messengers who are sent by God to bring the Good News, the Gospel, to all those who need to hear it. We have to preach it every day, maybe not by standing on a soapbox, but definitely by our living of the message ourselves.
Just as St. Paul courageously preached the truth in the synagogue in today’s first reading, we have to be ready to courageously share our faith in whatever way God calls us, wherever God puts us, to whoever God gives us. The Psalmist has it right today, as always, when he says, “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord!” We must always sing the praises of God who gives us everything we have and everything we could ever hope for. Singing those praises with our lives makes our message every bit as beautiful as the choirs of angels!
May our guardian angels show us the way to be angeloi for the glory of God!