Bishop's Reflection on the O Antiphons
"It is good to be with you here tonight and I am grateful to Father Keyes and to the Chorale group that he has assembled.... I hope and pray that [this evening] is not the only time that we do something like this.... [In the future], we could have seven nights of the O Antiphons, which I would love to see as a Cathedral tradition. These Antiphons are a wonderful last seven days of preparation for Christmas, and when we enter into this portion of the Church's liturgical life, what we recognize is that the Church, even in the Mass, has set aside the days from December 17 through the 23rd - a particular set of Masses always the same in these seven days before Christmas, so that we can prepare in a unique and wonderful...way for the coming of Christ at Christmas.
"We are familiar, at least in a vague way, with the O Antiphons because we are familiar with O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. but as we look at the song O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, it really does not fully tell us the story of the O Antiphons which begins on the 17th with Wisdom, O Sapeintia, and then O Adonai, Lord God, the Almighty One. And then, O Root of Jesse, O Radix. Tonight, the Key of David, O Clavis... "Come and lead us out of prison, out of this darkness and the shadow of death. Every O Antipon has that Veni - "Come deliver us," "Come save us", "Come enlighten us", "Come be our guide", - and it continues, O Daystar (O Oriens) bring light to our darkness.... O Rex, King, come be King who is the Son of David and King in Your own right. Come reign in our midst, come reign in our hearts, lead us again out of this darkened world. Lead us again to joy, and hope, and peace, and tranquility.