O Antiphons, O Key of David

O Antiphons

O Key of David,

opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:

come and free the prisoners of darkness!

Keys hold power. They allow us to enter a house, to start a car, to keep things safe. Keys can also be symbols of authority. The one who has a key can open and can shut. And this is precisely what the bible understands what is meant by a key, and it is precisely what this “O Key of David” is about. In the book of the prophet Isaiah, chapter 22, it is God who will place the key of David as a sign of authority. In the third chapter of the Book of Revelation the key of David is the sign of authority of the Christ as he speaks to the Churches of Philadelphia. And Peter is given the keys to the kingdom by Jesus as the sign that he holds authority in this world.

The theological claim here is that Jesus is the Son of God who opens the gates of the Kingdom. Jesus is not simply one more prophet speaking on behalf of God, Jesus IS GOD! The Key of David is held by the Christ who opens our prison door, freeing us from the prison of sin. We have been living lives of darkness and sin, and the Christ brings us into the light! And this is a cause of great joy indeed.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a list of all the O Antiphons.

Check out these additional resources for Advent.

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