the messengers

Dec 19, 2023


When a passage in the scriptures begins “an angel of the Lord appeared…” we’re never too sure what is coming next.

Sometimes there is a correction or a challenge.

In other moments the angel is the bearer of news.

God’s angels are always messengers. Messengers of God.

Any messenger of God is an angel, and while it understandable to be apprehensive, a person who seeks greater maturity of faith will appreciate that a divine message is always the mark of a new adventure of faith.

The Catechism quotes Augustine:

‘Angel’ is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is ‘spirit’; if you seek the name of their office, it is ‘angel’: from what they are, ‘spirit’, from what they do, ‘angel.’  With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God.  Catechism 329 

In today’s gospel Zechariah, the father-to-be of John the Baptist, enters the sanctuary of the Temple. Zechariah knew about angels, that they always brought challenge or a correction so it’s only natural that “the sight disturbed Zechariah and he was overcome with fear”.

But a messenger from God understands human apprehension and almost always (when meeting people) continues “do not be afraid.”

While an angel can be a “who,” a word from God as often for me comes through a circumstance, a “what”, often an unwanted and unwarranted situation with an unwelcome taste of Gethsemane or Golgotha about it.

But when I take a breath, and remember that I am made not for comfort but for adventure, I become excited about my desire to be with Christ wherever he leads, yes even through situations that seem like suffering and death because I know that these challenging pathways lead to Resurrection.

And it’s Resurrection that I’m made for.


Can I ask a favour of FFF readers who have already received FFF – THE BOOK.  Could you send me a sentence or two on your first impressions, perhaps a favourite reflection etc. That way you readers can be my reviewers. I’ll collate your thoughts and use these (with your first name – (or anon if you prefer) to promote the book. Thank you for doing this. Send your thoughts to me by email


 FFF – the book
Order by clicking on the image below.


  1. Thank you John. “I am made not for comfort but for adventure” appeals, and challenges, me in many ways.

    • I am extremely happy to see that you have published a book on your reflections Father John! I’m an avid reader and hard copy is my preference. Promptly purchased and will definitely email you my first impressions that you can use for reviews.

  2. Loved this message today, particularly ‘a person who seeks greater maturity of faith will appreciate that a divine message is always the mark of a new adventure of faith.’ My prayer today is to be a person who always seeks to grow in maturity of faith and is truly open to new adventures on the faith journey, perhaps even hard ones. Thanks John.

  3. Christmas greetings, Father John.
    I spied your book in Sheila’s shop and pounced on it to give as gifts for family members.
    I have dipped into it and like today’s reflection, it speaks and connects to the heart.
    My prayer is it will draw family closer to Christ. Shalom


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