Thursday, December 23, 2010

O EMMANUEL


O Emmanuel, our King and giver of Law: come to save us, Lord our God!

Today’s “O Antiphon,” our final one, comes from Isaiah 7: 14 and is quoted in Matthew 1: 23 where we read: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means God is with us.” On this day before Christmas Eve, we conclude our Advent prayers of petition, calling upon Jesus with words we have already used—King and Law-giver. And we make an act of faith that Jesus is who He said He was: God. Jesus is God with us, God who took flesh when He was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary and was born. Though He suffered and died, rose and ascended into heaven, He is still God with us through the amazing gift of His Body and Blood, the Holy Eucharist. Love hates separation. People in love don’t want to be separated from one another. God loves this way and so remains with us in the Blessed Sacrament. He doesn’t want to be far from us, but close to us.

This is what Christmas is all about. It’s really a Eucharistic feast. Because Jesus took flesh and was born, He could then give us His Body and Blood at the Last Supper and on the Cross. And he could remain with us in our tabernacles and churches. Truly He is God with us, because God is love, and wants to give Himself to us, wants to be one with us always.
We pray that as our own hearts are opened to the reality of God’s love made visible in Jesus—born over two thousand years ago, present on our altars and in our tabernacles—so may the world come to know the true God who was seen and touched because the Son of God became flesh.

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