O Antiphons

Today we address the Lord as King of the Nations. Rex Gentium

Perhaps it’s not intuitive for us today to call the Lord “King,” but the meaning is that Christ will someday override this world political realities. Remember, Christmas is not only about remembering Jesus’ first coming but about preparing for his Second Coming.

We prepare with ardent longing and love, primarily, but also with acts of compassion and care for those who suffer under imperfect, man-made political realities. When the Lord comes, the political, temporal realities of rich/poor, famous/unknown, healthy/sick, dominant/subservient will dissolve. Jesus will be the King of all the Peoples on the face of the earth. What a blessed moment that will be, when each of us becomes aware of just how valued we are by the Lord of the Earth. We are all on the cover of People Magazine in the Lord’s eyes.

Several characteristics of the Rex Gentium stand out for me.

First, he rules with gentleness and humility. He himself told the disciples: the Gentiles lord it over each other, but it must not be so with you. Rather, let the greatest among  you be as the least, and the most important serve the needs of all. This beautiful equality of service and love is the identifying characteristic of the Kingdom of Heaven of which the Lord is Leader and Master.

Second, this King will judge the actions of all, and will reign with a new kind of power unlike what we know in the secular world. The readings from Isaiah prophesy:  For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. (9:5), and He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. (2:4)

The goals of this Ruler are to judge and to usher in a new, everlasting peace. No one shall not train for war again! What could sound sweeter to our ears today, when we hear so much of violence, war and strife? This is what we long for today, as we pray:

Come, King of the Nations, Desire of Human Hearts, save those you’ve fashioned!  The verse in song recaps it perfectly:

O come, Desire of nations, bind in one the hearts of humankind;

O bid our sad divisions cease, and be for us our King of Peace Amen

As we celebrate Christmas this year, let us remember that God desires peace on earth, and so we should pray and work for peace with great hope and longing.

Copyright 2014 by Julie Paavola