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O Antiphons: O Leader: December 18
December 17 marked a change in the season of Advent. For those who do not pray the liturgy of the hours, it may be something you have never been aware of before. Each antiphon before the Magnificat (the prayer of Mary) begins with the word “O” and provides a rich theology of how we understand the Christ. It has been a tradition in the Church since the 8th century.
From now until December 23, thefriar.org will post a short reflection on these titles. It is an opportunity to pray and reflect on the richness of the Word becoming flesh. Each title used is an image from the Old Testament that foreshadows and prophesies about the coming of the Messiah, Jesus the Christ. As we look to forward to Christmas, these antiphons remind us that we dwell in the fullness of time, the already here and not yet here time of the Kingdom of God.
While none of these titles fully describe God, they remind us of important attributes of the divine we can never completely grasp. The tension of Jesus being fully divine and fully human is a mystery. I can never be fully resolved. There are times when the divinity of Jesus is so emphasized, we lose sight of the fact God’s love is so great he became one of us fully. At other times, the humanity of Jesus is so emphasized, we lost sight that Jesus is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Use these days to deepen your relationship with Jesus and the Church more fully.
O Antiphons: O Leader
O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!
Walk through any bookstore or search online for a book by typing in “leadership” and there will be no shortage of materials, books, and more. In so many ways, societies around the world cry out for leadership. In an age of unprecedented crisis, and a growing inability to discuss disagreements without being disagreeable, it is harder and harder to find leadership, or to find the types of leaders people are able to follow.
Of course, if we seek solutions in political discourse or in arguments about politics, we will fall short. There is an important place for civil leadership and politics. But if we are seeking to be rescued from our sinfulness, then we need more. Today’s “O antiphon” provides the something more. To be rescued requires the perfect leader, and in Jesus we have such a perfect leader. Of course, he sometimes leads us where we might not wish to go, but he always leads us to good. During these uncertain times, pray that Jesus, as God, might rescue us and save us.
For the entire season of Advent we offer homilies, reflections and more. December 17 marks a decided shift in the Advent season, where litrugically we are closer to Christmas and focus more on the tremendous love of God made manifest in the Incarnation. As we celebrate God become man, let us ask the Lord to help us to celebrate the ways in which we are invited to share in the love of God. Emmanuel! God is with us! Think of each of the descriptors of God and rejoice in his loving presence in our world, and most especially in your lives.