Tuesday, December 22, 2009


The “O antiphon” for today is:

O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.

The end of the liturgical year is marked by the Solemnity of Christ the King; the end of the pre-Christmas Octave’s “O antiphons” (today and tomorrow) is marked by the image of our Savior as King, the One who preached the Kingdom of God, whose death and resurrection become our safe-conduct to enter that Kingdom. The Preface for Christ the King tells us of the beauty and majesty of what we hope for: “…an eternal and universal kingdom: a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace.” Add to this the thought from the O antiphon itself, that our King is the source and embodiment of true joy. It is, to paraphrase Hamlet, “a consummation devoutly to be wished”!

The 2nd image is that of the Keystone. Building metaphors are used in the New Testament, but two favorite ones are the keystone (or capstone) and the cornerstone (or foundation). Actually, at least in Ephesians 2:20, it is same Greek word, translated as “capstone” (Revised New American Bible) or “cornerstone” (Revised Standard Version)! In one case, the cornerstone is a basis, literally a foundation that allows a proper “corner” (= 90º) to be built, so the building will be stable. The notion of the capstone, on the other hand, is the one that crown the top of an arch and is the stone which, because of the nature of the force vectors of thrust makes the arch solid and stable. Either way, as the force that holds things together or the principle on which things are based, this is our God for whom we long, come to save us and make us living stones in His building, the Church, the Body of Christ, the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

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