Our wait nearly over, our hearts are filled with joy as we pray the last of the O Antiphons:
O Emmanuel, our King, and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!
Emmanuel, king and lawgiver,
desire of the nations, Savior of all people:
Come and set us free, Lord our God.
For today’s O Antiphon, we draw on these texts from scripture: Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; 1 Timothy 4:9.
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:
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.