O Key of David

O Key of David – 20th December 2016

O Key of David and sceptre of Israel, what you open no one else can close again, what you close no one can open, O come and lead the captive from prison; free those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.This ‘O Antiphon’ that the Church sings this evening at the Magnificat, has its roots like all the other Antiphons in sacred scripture, in this case in Isaiah chapter 22 and in Luke chapter I.Our Lord is addressed as Key of David – Jesus is Son of David through his foster father, St Joseph, who was of the house of David.  David was the most beloved and important King in Israel’s history – “a man after the Lord’s own heart” as it says in the Acts of the Apostles.  So Jesus in his human ancestry is truly one of us as he is truly Son of God in his divine nature “conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary by the Holy spirit. (Mt Ch 1)A key is an indispensable instrument for opening and closing a door, so it is a very appropriate symbol with which to address our awaited Saviour. The Babe of Bethlehem, whom we await, did not die because he was born but He was born in order to die – the Crib and the Cross are closely associated.  By His obedience in suffering His Passion, death and Resurrection, Jesus opened the gates of heaven for the whole human race which our first parents had closed by their disobedience.  There is a lovely Icon called ‘the harrowing of hell’ where Jesus on Holy Saturday is seen in His descent into hell and taking  both Adam and Eve by […]

O key of David – 20th December 2015

O key of David and sceptre of Israel, what you open no else can close again; what you close no one can open. O come to lead the captive from prison; free those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.Jesus in his own body has opened the door to salvation. He is the door. He is the way into the Kingdom, into the very heart of the Trinity. “I am the door ; if anyone enters through Me , he will be saved.”It would be difficult to reflect upon this antiphon this advent, without making a connection to the Jubilee Year and the significance of the Holy Door of Mercy being opened in every diocese in the world. Pope Francis in various homilies has this to say: “As Christians we are called to cross the threshold of the door of mercy. We are asked to welcome and experience God’s love which recreates, transforms and renews life. From this experience we must go out and be instruments of mercy. God is anxious to be merciful and to welcome everyone into the tender embrace of reconciliation and forgiveness. “A major aspect of the Holy Year throughout history has been that of a pilgrimage to Rome to make reparation for sin and to renew the conversion of one’s life. As in today’s antiphon the prayer of the pilgrim, and each of us are pilgrims, could be ‘ O come to lead the captive from prison, free those who live in darkness and the shadow of death.’  Show us your mercy O lord, remember your Holy Covenant sealed in the blood of your Son on the Cross . A very important symbolic act performed […]

O Antiphon – 20th December 2014

A reflection given by one of our sisters on today’s Magnificat Antiphon, which invokes Christ as Key of David. (If you prefer to listen, click the ‘play’ button in the box below). For an alternative audio player click here. O Key of David.O come now key of David, come, and open wide our heavenly home, make safe the way that leads on high and close the path to misery. Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel, shall come to you O Israel.                                                                                                                Translation from the Breviary.Reflecting on this fourth ‘O Antiphon’ in the light of the Gospel of today from St. Luke, Chapter one, our hearts  are drawn to concentrate on the Presence of God in our lives, Emmanuel – God is with us.  Earlier on in this first chapter, we are told –the angel Gabriel appeared to Zachary in the Temple and introduced himself in these words:   ‘my name is Gabriel and I stand in the presence of God’ – no wonder the angel Gabriel needed to re-assure Zachary‘do not be afraid’!  When Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, appeared to Mary six months later, St. Luke emphasises into her presence the angel came. Bending low in reverence before her, the angel announced the news of the Incarnation  – Jesus our Saviour, the Key of David, was to be born of her. This most precious scene which St. Luke writes of has been exquisitely portrayed by our well loved brother, Blessed Fra Angelico, O.P. and is worthy of a life-long depth of prayerful contemplation – the angel Gabriel who stands in the presence of God, now bending low in the presence of Mary, as he brings her the news of the Incarnation.As we pray […]