O Antiphons – December 23

We continue our reflections on the O Antiphons with the Antiphon for this evening…

O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!

pp_emmanuel 23The most famous of the O Antiphons.  So famous, in fact, that most of us didn’t realize its origin.  I didn’t till I entered the Order.

This antiphon, more than any other, encapsulates the mission of Jesus Christ.   That first, Jesus is Emmanuel, God-with-us.  Jesus was not named Emmanuel, as such, but rather, named “God saves”.  Yet both names are still pertinent to who the Second Person of the Trinity is.  He is always with us—as he had promised in Matthew 28:20, “Behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.”  Jesus is always with us, in our midst, saving us and bringing us closer to himself.

The last Sunday of Ordinary Time is Christ the King Sunday, where we reflect that Jesus does rule time and space and all within in it.  Yet, He is not a despot, but rather, is a patient ruler, always encouraging and challenging us to a deeper life of prayer and Christian service.

In His Kingship, He grants us the New Law, the Greatest Commandment.  This is a way of life—to love one with all our being so much that we cannot help love each other—to the point of giving our lives for another.  Such a radical way of living.

Finally, Jesus is our Lord and God.  Here, we harken back to the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry. We remember the story of Doubting Thomas in John 20.  Thomas was not present when Jesus appeared to the ten.  Yet when Jesus appeared—one week later—Jesus invited Thomas to touch His wounds.  Thomas, in seeing the Ressurected Lord, falls to his knees and exclaims, “My Lord and My God!”  Thomas didn’t need to touch Jesus’ wounds, he did not need any other evidence.

Within a few hours, the violet of the altars will be shed for the gold and white of Christmas Season.  Come Lord Jesus!  Tarry not!  Do not delay!

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