O Radix Jesse

O stock of Jesse, you stand as a signal for the nations;
kings fall silent before you whom the people acclaim.
O come to deliver us, and do not delay.

Today we address our awaited Saviour with the title ‘stock of Jesse’ – as Isaias foretold:
“A root shall grow from the stock of Jesse,
and a branch shall spring from his roots
and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him”.

Jesse was the father of King David from whose royal line the future Messiah would be born. When we read the genealogy of Jesus most of the characters mentioned were not very praise worthy according to human standards. Yet God’s infinite, all powerful wisdom, compassion and merciful love were at work throughout salvation history not allowing human failure, sin, malice nor indifference to interfere or thwart His divine plan. The promised Messiah will indeed come from David’s line – but in a manner which will leave us in no doubt that it is wholly God’s work. Joseph, the just man, comes from David’s line but he remains the silent spectator of God’s marvellous power. Mary’s role too is passive – receiving, cherishing, pondering the Word which is made flesh in her womb, through the power of the Holy Spirit, without any human intervention.

The Child, the fruit of her womb, will be a sign to the nations – a ‘sign of contradiction’ as Simeon prophesied. Kings fall silent before Him – they remain powerless. At his Passion, the intention of his enemies was to “destroy the tree in its strength” (Jer 11:19). What they, in fact, accomplished was to raise aloft the ‘Tree of Life’ whose leaves will have power to heal the nations (cf Rev 22:1) – the unique sign of God’s power at work in human weakness and fulfilling Jesus own prediction:

“when I am lifted up from the earth
I will draw all things to myself”

God’s power is always at work in human weakness. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, let us take heart and remain steadfast in our faith and trust in the power of God who today is at work in the apparent catastrophes and contradictions of human life, bringing to fulfilment His divine, all-wise plan.

O stock of Jesse, you stand as a signal for the nations;
kings fall silent before you whom the people acclaim.
O come to deliver us, and do not delay.