In our reflection on the O Antiphons once again we are reminded of Israel’s longing for an ideal king in the Antiphon O Rex Gentium:
O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.
Israel’s experience with kings was not a happy one. It began with her desire to have a king, like other nations (1 Samuel 8:6). God gave them a king (Saul) with a caveat about abuse of royal power. Saul was a disaster and his anointed successor, David, did fine until he spotted Bathsheba,. Their son Solomon was wise but his wisdom did not extend to choosing pagan wives. After Solomon, amidst a crumbling monarchy, through Isaiah, the Lord promised salvation under a new Davidic King.
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; upon his shoulder dominion rests? They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, upon David’s throne, and over his kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by his judgment and justice, both now and forever.“(Isaiah 9:5-6)
Jeremiah announced that this Davidic monarch would not only rule over Israel but the world: “No one is like you, Lord,, you are great, great and mighty is your name. Who would not fear you, King of the nations, for it is your due! Among all the wisest of the nations, and in all their domains there is none like you.” (Jeremiah 10:6-7)
But Israel’s longing for an ideal king would not be fulfilled by a mighty warrior king who would use his power to smite their enemies but by the Prince of Peace whose reign would bring peace, justice and reconciliation
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh.” (Ephesians 2:13-14)
Israel’s long wait was nearing an end.
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