O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
Welcome to “Liturgical Notes.”
If you are reading this on December 24th or later: Merry Christmas!
If you are a visitor: Welcome to St. Mary’s!
If you are reading this on the 4th Sunday of Advent: Welcome back!
What follows is the second part of a “Liturgical Note” on the “O” Antiphons. These are the 7 longings contained in the hymn; “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” You can find the hymn at #38 in the purple hymnal located in the pews.
Part one of this note (found at http://brucemauro1.blogspot.com/ included the following commentary:
The Roman Church has been singing the "O" Antiphons since at least the eighth century. They are the antiphons that accompany the Magnificat canticle of Evening Prayer from December 17-23. They are a magnificent theology that uses ancient biblical imagery drawn from the messianic hopes of the Old Testament to proclaim the coming Christ as the fulfillment not only of Old Testament hopes, but present ones as well. Their repeated use of the imperative "Come!" embodies the longing of all for the Divine Messiah.
United States Conference of Bishops (USCB)
Those of you reading this on Christmas might be wondering; “What does a 1300 year old Advent Hymn have to do with Christmas?”
Press on, and I will state my case. My goal is that by the end you will be convinced “It has EVERYTHING to do with Christmas!”
No matter which Mass you attend, you will hear the words of the prophet Isaiah proclaimed in the first reading. Think of the prophets as divinely inspired commentators who spoke/wrote about the state of the world in which they lived. Their words contained seeds of hope for the future, specifically; the hope for a Messiah. (The definition of “Messiah” includes the words: leader, deliverer and savior).
We as Christians believe the fruit of these seeds, what the USCB calls “Old testament hopes“ to be Jesus; whose birth we celebrate at Christmas.
So what about the “present hopes” of which the Bishops speak?
How about a world that is just and fair?
A world where everyone has enough to eat?
A world where all people are respected?
A world free from division, hatred and violence?
Isn’t this the world Isaiah described?
The world that the grown-up Christ-child called the Kingdom of God?
A world you and I would like to wrap up and put under the tree for our children and grand-children to open?
You and I are called to share in the creation of this world. We as the Church are called to continue the work of the Christ-child - The Messiah in leading, delivering and saving our world.
We pray for this world at every Mass and when we say: “Thy Kingdom come; on earth as it is in heaven.”
Now the work of CHRIST-mas begins!
Blessed to be in ministry with you at St. Mary’s,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!
Happy Birthday, Mom!