This story makes us ask ourselves about contemporary morality and religious belief. Gabriel García Márquez set this story in a village in his native Colombia, an area that would have been overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. The man with wings is an ambiguous figure. People raised on Christian iconography would immediately wonder if the old man was an angel, but other than in his possessing wings, he is quite dissimilar to angels as they were romanticized in the twentieth century church. He is old and shabby, a downtrodden creature appearing to the poor and destitute as one of their own, just as Jesus was a poor carpenter.
Instead, he is more like the Biblical concept of the angel (a Greek term meaning messenger), something that somehow conveys a message from God to humans. In this case, the message is not a dogma, but rather a reflection; the old man reveals to the people their own nature as cruel and materialistic.
The notion of a flesh and blood angel refers to incarnational theology, i.e. that Jesus was God made flesh. This is the central mystery of Christianity, of how Jesus can be God and man, infinitely great and humble. The old man is similarly a humble physical creature, frail and shabby, not bearing a great proclamation but rather bringing the hidden goodness or badness of people to the surface by the simple fact of his existence.