O Key of David and scepter of the House of Israel; you open and no one can shut; you shut and no one can open: Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house, those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
Keys and Scepters are symbols of power and authority: Christ IS the Power; Christ IS the Authority.
As Isaiah prophesied about the Messiah:
“I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open” Isaiah 22:22
This verse also hearkens to Christ’s handing over his authority to his Church through St Peter (Matthew 16:19) and the Apostles (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 10-16, 22; John 20:23). Our Lord’s presence continues in the world through his Church to this day, therefore, so does his power and authority.
Yet, the Almighty Father handed all power over to Christ; not all power and authority was handed on to the Apostles. Christ alone has power and authority over Death and Hell.
Thus, today’s antiphon also hearkens to Christ’s Second Coming.
It is important for us to recall during this season, we reflect and pray about Christ’s coming to be with us, and he is with us, as he promised, always until the end of time.
Advent is also a season for cherishing the ways in which Christ remains with us: through his Church, in the his Holy Word, in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. These special antiphons we pray as Advent draws to a close are key reminders of those ways in which Christ – Emmanuel – is always with us.
Advent is also a time to watch and pray as we exercise our faith and hope for when he comes again to bring us with him to the Father and rest in his presence forever in his everlasting Kingdom.
“His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore.” Isaiah 9:7
As with all 7 “O Antiphons,” today’s antiphon invites us to reflect and ponder on our Lord’s long foretold coming and his Incarnation in Mary’s womb. For a brief explanation of the 7 “O Antiphons,” please see our Post on the Christmas Novena, and visit our other posts on the O Antiphons this week: