Sarcasm Chasm

Angel with Joseph (and with you)

Greetings on this the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels
Readings: Rv 12:7-12ab; PS 138:1-2ab, 2cde-3, 4-5; Jn 1:47-51

Am I lazy because I like to quote Franciscan thoughts?


Each of the archangels performs a different mission in Scripture: Michael protects; Gabriel announces; Raphael guides. Earlier belief that inexplicable events were due to the actions of spiritual beings has given way to a scientific world-view and a different sense of cause and effect. Yet believers still experience God’s protection, communication, and guidance in ways which defy description. We cannot dismiss angels too lightly. From:

First reading
For the accuser of our brothers is cast out,
who accuses them before our God day and night.

If we took a moment to wonder what the great accuser would have been saying for such a long period it would give rise to the variety of ways in which to abase another.

Sarcasm – sarcastic comments is the intentional inflicting of pain by deriding, taunting, or ridiculing.

It wouldn’t just be the things they did wrong the great accuser would say.

It would include the discounting and disregarding the divine-human connection as invalid, non-substantial and ineffectual.

Then enters Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael – the Archangels of the Lord.
Defenders, guides and proclaiming the divine-human relationship as real and abiding.

Responsorial Psalm
In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.

Alleluia Verse
Bless the LORD, all you angels,
you ministers, who do his will.

Gospel Portion
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him,

“Here is a true child of Israel.
There is no duplicity in him.”

I have to confess, I thought Jesus was being sarcastic.

Today, when we dialog, sarcasm is a basic conversational tool.
Of course the definition of the word makes one take pause:

Sarcastic implies an intentional inflicting of pain by deriding, taunting, or ridiculing.

A more sober understanding of the word brings a resounding ‘No’ from me. Jesus was not being sarcastic. He would never intentionally inflict pain.

It reminds me of some basic tenets of Trinitarian faith:

  • God, the Father, is unending Love.
  • God, the Son, is unending Friendship.
  • God, the Holy Spirit, is unending Power.

Jesus was expressing the irony of the situation.

Nathanael was eager to meet the Christ who is promised and readily accepted him with the mild prophetic vision of seeing him sitting under a fig tree. “Under a fig tree” is to say someone who is blessed by the Lord and given a good life.

Was Nathanael actually sitting under a fig tree? Maybe, yes, maybe no.
Was Nathanael’s deepest desire was to be so seated? Most assuredly.

Jesus is telling him his prayers are being answered.
This is why Nathanael responds: Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.

Jesus offers him (and you) even more.
And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see heaven opened
and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Your prayers are being answered.

  • By God.
  • By his angels.
  • By his faithful.
  • By his creation.
  • By his miracles.
  • By his visions.

We can proclaim as the psalmist today does:

When I called, you answered me;
you built up strength within me.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

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