Today is the feast of the archangels. It is hard to know what to think about them. They played important roles in Old Testament times, but the stories about them were told to fit in with the false picture of the universe that people had in Old Testament times.
Genesis pictured the sky as a hard dome with the stars hung from it like ornaments on a Christmas tree; and the Old Testament writers thought of God as permanently lodged above that hard sky dome.
Since they believed that God did communicate with us, they presumed he must use messengers. The word angel is just the Greek word for a messenger.
All that changed with the New Testament. St. Paul, speaking of God, wrote, “He is not far from any of us. For in him, we live and move and have our being.” Paul seems to have pensioned off the angels as messengers no longer needed. He gave them all those golden parachutes.
The Church teaches us that the angels and archangels are pure spirits ministering before God, and we honor their greatness. Their names hint that for each of them their greatness is an expression of God’s greatness. The name Michael asks us, “Who is like God?’ Gabriel is “One who is like God.” And Raphael is “God has healed.”