O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of humanity, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.
As the world witnesses elections influenced by fear—fear of the other, fear of the future, fear of change—in which civil officials who campaigned with discriminatory and often offensive language, it can be hard for many people to find any hope. And yet, today’s O Antiphon invites us to pause and consider who is really in charge and to whom we should look for real guidance.
The King of nations we celebrate coming to this world on Christmas day is not the king or savior many people were expecting (or many people would expect today). Instead of a boisterous, loud, forceful, and violent leader who would rally the people who felt downtrodden and overlooked to a military or political victory, the Messiah entered the world as one of the downtrodden and overlooked.
As we read in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, “For a child has been born for us, a son given us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). What we celebrate in faith is not the advent of a military victory, but the coming of the Prince of Peace.
In an age when the nations of our world continue to arm themselves with weapons of incredible destruction, what does it mean for us to claim faith in the Prince of Peace, of whom it is said: “He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4)?
In these last days of Advent, may we renew our faith in the coming of the Prince of Peace who calls us to change our expectations concerning how things are to be in this world. May this shift in perspective allow our hearts to also change so that our words and deed might reflect citizenship in the kingdom of God and not the exclusionary fiefdoms of the powerful and wealthy of this world.