Praised be Jesus Christ! December 20, another Great Advent Antiphon before us to ponder – let’s hear it performed by Father Thomas Jarosz.
Today’s antiphon – like yesterday’s – sends us back to the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. In chapter 22, we read: “I will put the key of the house of David on his shoulder; when it opens, no one will close, when it closes, no one will open ”. In ancient times, by placing someone on the shoulder of a key of the royal house, the office of the palace administrator was handed over. The key is therefore a symbol of great power. The words used in the context of God’s Messiah become all the more poignant that when He closes, no one will open, and when He does, no one will be able to close. They convey the conviction of God’s irrevocable judgments. At one extreme there is fear of God, horror, a feeling of overwhelming littleness to the Almighty, which can paralyze our life of faith, distort the image of God as a severe judge waiting only, waiting for our mistake, to close the door of salvation for us. On the other hand, we can fall into the thinking that since God’s judgments are irrevocable, there is no point in trying, doing anything with your life – “whatever is going to be, I can’t help it.” In order not to enter either of these two paths, let us look at the second part of today’s antiphon; it answers the question of why the Messiah needs such a powerful power to open and close. His task is to lead a man “plunged in darkness and shadow of death” out of prison. These words bring to mind the words of St. Paul from the Letter to the Romans: “The wages of sin is death.” If you sin, you live in the darkness and shadow of death, because sin locks you up in a prison from which you are unable to free yourself. Probably each of us has such an experience that the more often sins appear in our lives, the more darkness, depression and bad thoughts we have. This state of affairs affects our perception of the world and our relationship with God, with other people and with ourselves. And to this prison in which man becomes entangled, Jesus – the Risen Jesus, who we read about in the Apocalypse, “has the key of David”. It has the power to open and close it, it has the power to open the door of new life to you and to close the door of your sins behind you. it happens in the sacrament of penance and reconciliation. When you hear the words in the confessional, “I forsake your sins in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” the Risen Lord closes your sins and no one is able to open that door – this is God’s irrevocable judgment. Receive the coming Messiah with joy and His gift of forgiveness of sins and eternal life.