December 13, 2020

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13 December
Third Sunday of Advent

You may have noticed that St. John the Baptist has been the major figure in the Second and Third Sundays of Advent. With the lighting of the rose candle on the Advent wreath we are not only nearing the end. We are turning a corner. The eight days before Christmas Eve focus on the days leading up to the birth of Jesus. The Gospels on those days, except for that day which falls on the Fourth Sunday of Advent follow this sequence:

Dec 17 Matthew 1,1-17
Dec 18 Matthew 1,18-25
Dec 19 Luke 1,5-25
Dec 20 Luke 1,26-38
Dec 21 Luke 1,39-45
Dec 22 Luke 1,46-56
Dec 23 Luke 1,57-66
Dec 24 Luke 1,67-79

In the Extraordinary Form, similar Gospel readings take place on Wednesday (Lk 1,26-38) and Friday (Lk 1,39-47) of Ember Week and on Christmas Eve (Mt 1,18-21). The Alleluia Verses on the seven days before Christmas Eve have a special characteristic. Each of them is taken from that day’s Magnificat Antiphon in Evening Prayer or “Vespers”. Each antiphon addresses Our Lord with one of his titles from the Old Testament. Those titles for Christ are:

Dec 17 O Sapientia Wisdom Isaiah 11,2-3; 28,29
Dec 18 O Adonai Lord of Israel Isaiah 33,22; 63,11-12
Dec 19 O Radix Jesse Root of Jesse Isaiah 1,10; 52,15
Dec 20 O Clavis David Key of David Isaiah 22,22
Dec 21 O Oriens Radiant Dawn Isaiah 9,1; 58, 60,18-20
Dec 22 O Rex Gentium King of Nations Isaiah 2,4; 11,10
Dec 23 O Emmanuel God with us Isaiah 7,14

When their first initials are read backwards, they form the Latin words "ero cras" which means “Tomorrow I come.” To see the complete Magnificat antiphons and Alleluia verses along with the related Bible texts, visit: https://catholicresources. org/Lectionary/Advent-O-Antiphons.htm Fisheaters provides additional helpful explanation: https:// www.fisheaters.com/customsadvent10.html

These seven “O Antiphons”, also called the “Greater Antiphons” or “Major Antiphons”, are the same in the traditional Breviary and monastic Divine Office. As early as the 8th or 9th century, these antiphons inspired the lyrics of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”, the one Advent hymn that everyone knows.

Come Lord Jesus!