As Advent draws to a close, our impatience grows…and we pray:
O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!
Flower of Jesse’s stem,
you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples;
kings stand silent in your presence;
the nations bow down in worship before you.
Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.
Today’s O Antiphon draws on these texts from scripture: Isaiah 11:1, 10; Isaiah 52:15; and Romans 15:12
The O Antiphons are part of a thousand-year-old liturgical tradition, as explained by Felix Just, S.J., in an article on the Roman Catholic Lectionary Website:
Most familiar today from the Advent hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” the seven traditional “O Antiphons” are actually more than a thousand years old. They have long been used at the very end of Advent (Dec. 17-23) in the liturgical prayer of the Church, as Antiphons for the “Magnificat” sung or recited during Vespers (the Evening Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours). Since the Second Vatican Council, they have also been adapted (slightly reworded and rearranged) for the “Alleluia Verse” of the Mass (the short scriptural text or paraphrase that immediately precedes the Gospel reading). Each Antiphon invokes the coming of the Messiah, beginning with a biblical title and closing with a specific petition.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy One.