Friday, December 22, 2006

O King of nations

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Latin translation of O Rex Gentium
O King of the nations, and their desire, the cornerstone making both one: Come and save the human race, which you fashioned from clay.

Advent Carol
O come, Desire of nations, bind in one the hearts of all mankind; bid thou our sad divisions cease, and be thyself our King of peace. Rejoice, rejoice. Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

The antiphon today is based upon the Lordship of Christ the King. The acclamation at his entry into Jerusalem is just as applicable to his birth: "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord" (Luke 19:38). It was known that he would be born in Bethlehem, and the wise men sought him out, because he was the anointed heir to the throne of King David. He would be the Prince of peace. Of him, Isaiah prophesied, "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). St Paul noted, "He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet" (1 Corinthians 15:25).

Although he was arrested on the charge of being a blasphemer, Jesus was ultimately sentence under Roman law for treason--for claiming to be the "King of the Jews," as was ordered to be written on the titulus of his cross in Latin, Hebrew, and Greek.

When Pilate questioned him about this charge, Jesus replied, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my followers would have fought that I might not be delivered to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here." Pilate therefore said to him, 'Thou are then a king? " Jesus answered, "Thou sayest it; I am a king. This is why I was born, and why I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice" (John 18:36-37). When he suspected Jesus of being born in Bethlehem (Jesus would no longer speak when interrogated about this), Pilate sought to release him, but instead ordered his execution in fear of the mob.

Our prayer in the antiphon today is that all would listen to his truthful voice and submit to his most gracious rule.


Anonymous said...

Does the double crown symbolize His double nature, being fully human and fully divine?

Fr Timothy Matkin said...

I have no idea. Anyone know?