Jacob was a sleazy con man whose life was defined by lying; either he was being cheated, or he was cheating others. Jesus was an honest man whose life was defined by telling the truth even when doing so got him killed. Yet both of them got to see the angels of God, and both got to hear the voice of God announcing their vocations. Maybe their stories are an indication that if we are attentive enough, we can all see God’s angels and we can all hear God’s voice announcing our vocations.
But we have to be careful, because our scripture reading from the Book of Revelation tells us that God is not the only one with angels, and God is not the only one speaking to us. The accuser and deceiver is also trying to get us to listen. When God announces our vocation, that vocation is always to be a blessing to the people around us, and the angels are revolving around God (descending down to us and going back up to God). When Satan announces our vocation, that vocation is always to be a failure, and the angels are revolving around us and our failure (pointing out the bad parts and urging us to cover them up or blame others so things look better than they really are).
Unfortunately, we often listen to Satan rather than God because on the surface it is so much easier to be a failure than to be a blessing. It is easier to give up and blame others for everything than to work to make life better for others and then have that work go unnoticed and unappreciated, but in the end, Satan’s way of blaming others leads to death while God’s way of blessing others leads to life. We know that, but we so easily forget it in our busy and often lonely days. We don’t see the fruit of our work of trying to bless people, so we give up. That is why it is important for us to not ever try to see the fruit of our work, because as we know from the lives of so many saints, the fruit does not appear until they are long gone. Maybe the sweetest fruit takes a long time to ripen. We need to make sure that the motivation behind our work is love, not results. We need to live by faith, not by sight. If we live by what we see, of course we will follow Satan’s way of giving up in despair look how the world is slowly burning up in war and hatred. If we live by faith, we will follow God’s way of blessing make life better for the world around us, because it sure needs some help.
In the end, of course, Satan will be unmasked and his angels will have their fake wings plucked off. The truth of God’s love for each individual will finally be heard over the lies of Satan’s jealousy of us. We can start that process now by living the truth of our God-given vocation of blessing others, as well as by ceasing to spread the lie of other people’s vocations of failure and instead affirming them in their own God-given vocations of blessing us and those around us. We can choose now to whom we will listen, and with whose angels we will work. Do we want to see angels dancing around our shame, or do we want to see angels dancing around God’s love? Will we open our ears to Satan’s announcement of our already failed lives, or to God’s announcement of our lives of hard work bringing joy and peace to the world? Every day and every moment bring us those choices. Every time we choose to listen to God, we open the gate of heaven and enter the house of God. AMEN