O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel; qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
O key of David and sceptre of Israel, what you open no one can close again; what you close no one can open. O come to lead the captive from prison; free those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.
O Key of David, the one who opens and closes. The handing over of keys denotes the conferral of supreme authority, the one who holds the keys is the one who has the power to bind and loose, to open and close. This is a prophetic image from Isaiah 22 when the Royal steward Shebna, in the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah, was deposed because of his pride and the keys removed from him and given to a more faithful steward.
Jesus is the true heir of the House of David and so the keys belong to him by right and the sceptre of the kingdom reveals his power. He is the chief steward of the blessings of salvation and after his resurrection he openly declared that “all authority in heaven and on earth is given to me” and so he entrusted this power of binding and loosing to his church and particularly to Peter.
The petition of this antiphon is clear, that the prophecy of Isaiah, declared at the beginning of his ministry to give good news and loose those in any form of bondage will become a reality as captive humanity is freed from its own bondage to sin to live in the light of the Lord.