O Oriens (21st December)

Zephaniah 3.14-18; Psalm 32; Luke 1.39-45

“O Morning star, radiance of eternal light, sun of justice, come and enlighten those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death.”  The antiphons of Advent move in a theologically precise sequence, from the Wisdom present in the creation of the world; through the Master, the Law-giver, who draws creation into relationship with him by teaching Torah, that is, the pathway to freedom [cf Psalm 118(119).45]; through the Monarchy, given by God to his people to unite them and their energies [Judges 21.25], and the hope for the monarchy’s restoration after the Babylonian invasion ended it; and finally the hopes of the prophetic writings for Messiah, the Anointed One, who is God himself alive and active in the midst of his people. [cf Apocalypse 21.3]

The Morning Star is the astronomical name for the planet Venus when it appears in the east before sunrise.  In the hymnody of Eastern Orthodoxy St John Baptist is called by this name, for he appears as forerunner and harbinger of Christ. [Luke 1.76]; in the Litany of Loretto, the title is given to Our Lady, the “Holy Light on earth’s horizon” of Fr Edward Caswall’s hymn.

But though we give thanks for those predecessors [II Peter 1.19] who made possible the coming into the world of the Light that shines through the darkness [John 1.5], the Morning Star, in the end, must be Our Lord himself.  [Apocalypse 22.16] We look to the east to see his coming [Baruch 5.5], a coming that will bring light to our beclouded eyes [John 9.39] and renew us in his love.

Posted in Daily Reflection.