“O Root of Jesse
who stand for a sign for the people;
before whom kings are silent;
whom the nations bessech:
Come to deliver us, no longer delay.”
The image of Christ as the ‘Root of Jesse’ – a sign for the peoples; before whom kings fall silent and whom the peoples acclaim – evokes a variety of ideas and there is much that can be gleaned, so to speak, when this title is attributed to Him.
What does it mean for us to think of JESUS, to acknowledge Him, as the ‘root of Jesse’ and a ‘sign for the peoples’?
As a sign, He demands to be noticed – our eyes are drawn to gaze upon Him, so as to see ... ... ... something.
Why do kings fall silent?
Is it that before this sign and in this sign, they are bound in truth to acknowledge His majesty above the fleeting power by which they mistakenly identify themselves?
He alone is our King, after all.
And why or how is it that the peoples acclaim Him?
Is it that they are free of any illusions of their own self-importance, and have discovered, or can see in Him, their freedom and their peace?
Attributing to Him the title ‘root’ or ‘stock’ seems to indicate something solid and immovable, something dependable and wholly trustworthy.
“He guides me along the right path,
He is true to His Name.” (Ps 22)
In a confused and rootless world, the sign of JESUS – the sign dare it be said so close to His Nativity – of the Cross, is the one sure sign of truth, that gives direction and meaning and value to our lives, and to every life conceived.
And by our being rooted there – in Him – we are enabled, like Mary and Elizabeth, to be so deeply rooted in the freedom for which we long, that we can be completely reconciled to the life and vocation entrusted to us.
In Mary, because of her rootedness in Christ – who was rooted in her – we have a model of perfect reconciliation; perfect peace; perfect docility; and perfect joy.
May she obtain for us the grace of a deeper, more trusting faith and greater, truer love.
If you would like to hear us singing this 'O Antiphon', please click here.
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