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Today’s O Antiphon speaks of the Messiah as the Key of the House of David. Isaiah writes of the authority given to the leader of the House of David, the one who has the power to open or to shut without anyone taking that power away. The authority of this powerful leader of God’s kingdom “shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and forever more.” (Isaiah 9:7)

How do we understand this power? How did Jesus come in order that this prophecy would be fulfilled? Clearly his power was not the might by which earthly monarchs of earlier days manifested their authority. St. Paul speaks of the humility of the Christ (Messiah) who “emptied himself” of power in order that a new age be initiated, a new way of being triumphant.

What was the key to that new way? It could only be fueled by love. Pouring himself out in love was the example provided for us. We need only to search the gospels to find all the doors unlocked with that key of love. “Love one another as I have loved you,” Jesus said in word and deed. But we cannot only depend on the one who governs for that kind of success. Our participation is demanded. Love others as your very self. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, take care of those less fortunate…You know the terms. The freedom that comes with loving unconditionally will be the salvation of the world. Are we willing?

O Key of David and scepter of the House of Israel, you open and no one can shut; you shut and no one can open: Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house, those that dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.