O Radix Iesse

O Radix Iesse

 The symbol of the root of Jesse forms the context for the antiphon O Radix. In the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, in Isaiah 11:1 we read that a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and that from his roots a bud shall blossom. Further on, Isaiah 11:10 states that on that day the root of Jesse set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.  Finally, Isaiah 52:15 reveals that because of him kings shall stand speechless. Both the lowliness and the glory of the kingdom are present here. The Davidic kingdom was dethroned with the Babylonian exile, but the stump of Jesse, the father of David, will again spring forth and serve as a banner for the nations. The Incarnation begins in this world in lowliness and poverty, but for those with the eyes of faith, the dwelling of the Lord in the womb of the Virgin Mary is nothing if not glorious. In the Advent mystery, the growth of the Kingdom becomes apparent. From humble and unimpressive beginnings, the Kingdom becomes a unifying banner around which people of every race and tongue gather, as the hymn for Evening Prayer for the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross states: Vexilla regis prodeunt/The royal banners forward go. We pray that our Lord come (veni) and not delay and free us from all those things that keep the Kingdom from truly blossoming in our lives—or as we pray more directly in the Our Fatherthy Kingdom come.

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