ADVENT, Week 4: Thursday (23 December) — O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver,
desire of the nations, Savior of all people,
come and set us free, Lord our God.

“Now I am sending my messenger — he will prepare the way before me; and the lord whom you seek will come suddenly to his temple; the messenger of the covenant whom you desire — see, he is coming! says the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1.)

Origen of Alexandria (part 2 of Pope Benedict’s reflections on Origen) comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“Someone else will appeal to the text, “Let us make man according to our image and likeness,” and maintain that whatever is made according to God’s image and likeness is man. To support this, numberless instances are adduced to show that in Scripture “man” and “angel” are used indifferently and that the same subject is called both angel and man. This is true of the three who were entertained by Abraham and of the two who came to Sodom. In the whole course of Scripture, persons are styled sometimes men, sometimes angels. Those who hold this view will say that since persons are styled angels who are manifestly men, as when Zechariah says, “The messenger of the Lord, I am with you, says the Lord almighty,” and as it is written of John the Baptist, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face,” the angels (messengers) of God are so called on account of their nature. Scripture confirms this view that the names applied to higher powers are not those of species of living beings but those of the orders, assigned by God to this and to that reasonable being.” (Commentary on the Gospel of John, 2.)

Almighty ever-living God,
as we see how the Nativity of your Son
according to the flesh draws near,
we pray that to us, your unworthy servants,
mercy may flow from your Word,
who chose to become flesh of the Virgin Mary
and establish among us his dwelling,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen