O King of the nations, and their desire,

the cornerstone making both one:

Come and save the human race,

which you fashioned from clay.

On December 22, 2020, the sixth O Antiphon addresses the longed-for Messiah as King of the Nations, as drawn from Isaiah 2:4; 9:7; 28: 16-17; 69:8; and Ps 118:22.

A composite of metaphors constitutes the next short prayer. The Israelites’ King would be like none other. Associated with this image were magic and supernatural powers, supreme consciousness, the virtues of sound judgment and self-control, and the ability to govern. All peoples would welcome his influence and corresponding harmony and prosperity.

The King would also become their cornerstone, an image of solidarity, of configuration upon which the structure depended; without its precise placement among the other stones, it would crumble. It also reflected the King’s strength and resiliency of character to counter the resurgence of evil.

The petition in the Antiphon suggests the Israelites’ desperation over repeated failure—as if only a new creation could bring about the desired changes needed to restore their identity as the Chosen Ones of Yahweh. Just as the Genesis story narrated Yahweh fashioning Adam from the slime of the earth, so the Israelites expressed willingness to be molded anew.

And not only is the imperative Come repeated, but the plea for salvation, as well—it has become my own.