O Antiphons

Not only do the readings for the daily Masses just before Christmas include the beginnings of the Gospel infancy narratives (Matthew 1 on Dec. 17-18; Luke 1 on Dec. 19-24), but we again get to hear the traditional “O Antiphons,” at Mass. Most of us were introduced to the antiphons via the popular hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” Yet the “O Antiphons” are more than a thousand years old.  Curiously, the first verse of the familiar hymn is actually the last of the traditional “O Antiphons” while the other verses of the hymn (in the order printed in most hymnals) correspond to the Antiphons for Dec. 17 to 22: Continue reading

Not Just Another Genealogy

Today’s gospel is taken from the opening verses in Matthew’s gospel. Apart from the argument of which gospel is the first or the oldest, the placement of the Gospel of Matthew as the first book encountered in the New Testament is brilliant. The opening verses “connect” the story of Jesus to the whole of the Old Testament through the genealogy. We know the biblical VIPs: “the son of David, the son of Abraham” and we know a few more: Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and Jesse and Joseph…but most are hard pressed to know many more on the list. Continue reading