A call for the Messiah #7 – O Emmanuel
Praised be Jesus Christ! December 23, the last meditation on the Great Advent Antiphons is ahead of us. First, let’s listen to today’s antiphon, traditionally performed by Father Thomas Jarosz.
This last antiphon refers us to the passage in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. In conversation with King Ahaz, the prophet says these words: “Behold, the Lord himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will conceive and bear a son, and name him Emmanuel.” It is a prophecy made in the context of the attitude of the king, who apparently does not want to ask God for a sign – because he does not want to put God to the test – but is in fact behavior that shows that he believes more in his abilities and political connections. However, God makes a wonderful announcement. Even if a man does not ask Him for help, even if he counts more only on his own strength, He will come out to the man, take His own initiative, reach out His hand, and it is up to the person to take that hand. God confirms that, just as he was present in the history of the chosen people in the past, so he will be with people all the time and will never give up on anyone. This is evidenced by the amazing name that the foretold Messiah will bear: Emmanuel – “God with us.” This announcement is fulfilled in Jesus, born of Mary. Jesus is “God with us”, he fulfills the announcement that God is close to man. As a man, Jesus was like us in all except sin; as God brought God’s wisdom into the world. He saved us, died for us, rose again and did something more for us: he stayed with us in the Eucharist, in his sacraments. He is really present with us today and will be present, as He announced, all the days, until the end of the world. At the end of our meditations, we must say about one more important issue in the context of the Great Advent Antiphons. For the last seven days we have talked about them, we have pondered them, we have looked at who the Messiah is, we have considered the next aspects of His mission, His activities. These antiphons – the Great Advent Antiphons – express the cry of the Church for the coming of the Messiah. Each of them tells us some aspect of Jesus’ mission, some fragment of the whole picture – an image that tells us who the Messiah of God is. Seven Calls – fullness. These antiphons sung, spoken, shouted from the depths of the human heart also contain God’s answer. In order to hear it, we must refer to the Latin original. Over the past few days, we have invoked Jesus using seven messianic titles. Wisdom – Sapientia, Adonai, Jesse Root – Radix, Key – Clavis, Dayspring – Oriens, King – Rex, and finally Emmanuel. When we take the first letters of these Latin words and read them backwards, we get the sentence: “Ero cras” which means “Tomorrow I will come”. God responds to our call, gives assurance that he will fulfill everything as He has announced. Jesus came 2,000 years ago. Tomorrow, celebrating Christmas, commemorating it, we will not only remember this event, but also participate in it. May this certainty accompany us that God’s promises have been fulfilled and will continue to be fulfilled until the end of time in Jesus Christ of Nazareth, our Messiah.