Sunday, December 21, 2014

Oh! Come and Save

Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent

I prayed for this child, and the LORD granted my request.  Now I, in turn, give him to the LORD; as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the LORD.”  She left Samuel there.  1 Samuel 1:27-28

The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.  His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.  He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.  He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly.  The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.  Luke 1:49-53

O King of all nations and keystone of the Church; come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!  (December 22: O Rex Gentium)  

In these final seven (now three) days before Christmas, our liturgy includes the “O” antiphons.  The seven "O Antiphons" (also called the "Greater Antiphons" or "Major Antiphons") are prayers that come from the Breviary's Vespers during the Octave before Christmas Eve, a time of this pregnant season also called the "Golden Nights."  (Did you know that the O Antiphons are the source of the lyrics of the Advent song "Veni, veni Emmanuel" ("Come, O come Emmanuel")? 

Today’s antiphon helps us to remember the prophetic verses of Isaiah when talking about the coming of the King:  He shall judge between the nations, and set terms for many peoples.  They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.  (Isaiah 2:4)

This “king” is a boy grown up – alluded to in our readings in the person of Samuel who was left with Elijah and the baby boy dwelling and growing inside Mary.  

Oh, what shall we make of this holiday almost upon us?  Are we ready for the challenges it brings to our daily, distracted life? 

What are we “O”verdoing this season with our spending and credit limits?
What are we Overeating at the endless holiday parties at work, at home and in our neighborhoods?

Where are we Overrun by crazy shoppers and drivers rushing to the mall, the theatres and the parties?

Are we Overdue to slow down and get off our feet and rest?

Are we guilty of Overuse of our credit limit in trying to meet the expectation of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and the three shopping days left until Christmas?

Have we Overbid for that gift we want on our favorite auction site or for that car that allegedly promises to make this month the December to remember?

What sins of omission make the clouds of our pride Overcast the Holy Spirit coming upon us this season?

Look Overhead for the star in the East.
Be Overcome with awe.
Let the Spirit of the Lord Overshadow your desires.
Like Mary, sing out with the sense of Overall joy at the message and the reality of this season.
Set out, like the shepherds and kings – trekking Overland so you can get a glimpse of the child.
In this little baby, see how God has sent a tiny person who will grow up to fulfill an Oversized task and redeem us from our sins.

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