The O Antiphons: 22 December

O Rex Gentium

LATIN: O Rex gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.

ENGLISH: O King of the gentiles and their desired One, the cornerstone that makes both one: come, and deliver man, whom you formed out of the dust of the earth.

Listen to this chant from the Liber Usualis: mp3

Scripture Reference:

Revelation 15:3
Psalm 118:22
Isaiah 28:16
Matthew 21:42
Mark 12:10
Luke 20:17
Acts 4:11
Ephesians 2:20
I Peter 2:6

Relevant verse of  Veni, Veni Emmanuel:

O come, Desire of nations, bind,
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of peace.

The version from the Dominican antiphonarium:


(ENGLISH: O King of Nations and their longed for one, O cornerstone, who makest one thing from two: come, and save man, whom Thou hast formed from the mire.) 

One of the reasons why Christ was so angry with the people who had set up shop in the Temple, whose tables he overturned and whom he drove out, was not just because they were doing business in the sacred place, but they had taken over the Courtyard of the Gentiles. It was where Gentiles could enter and even pray to the One God. It had been prophesied that when the Gentiles came to worship the God, that would be the hour when the Messiah would manifest. But, with the place filled with tables, the Gentiles had no place. When in John 20, Gentiles approach an Apostle with a Greek, not Jewish, name, Philip, and the Lord hears from him that they want to see Him, the Lord’s response is solemn (vv. 23-32):

“The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor him. “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify thy name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing by heard it and said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”

In the Gospel of John and in the writings of Paul, Christ is the one to bring the Gentiles, the Nations, into a single thing with the Jews. He did this through the Incarnation, whereby He took our humanity into an indestructible bond with His divinity. He took our humanity, our body formed from the mire, from the Latin limus and mortared together the two groups in Himself as the connection point (Is 28:16). Above the King of the Nations (Jer 10:7), on the royal Vexilla of the Cross, what shall we read on Good Friday? That the King of the Nations is "King of the Jews". He tore down the wall between them so as to build them anew into one.