19th December - O Radix Jesse

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19th December - O Radix Jesse

Dominican Nuns Ireland
Published by Dominican Nuns Ireland in Reflections (Other) · 19 December 2023
Tags: Advent
O Root of Jesse,
you stand as a signal for the nations; kings fall silent before you
whom the peoples acclaim.
O come to deliver us and do not delay.

Tonight we sing to the Lord and address Him as the ‘Root of Jesse’ who stands as a signal for the nations, and the question could arise as to how a root can be said to stand so that it is visible to our sight.  But Isaiah also prophesied, ‘a shoot shall spring from the stock of Jesse.’  

Thus Christ is both root and fruit of Jesse.  He is the One source and foundation of existence which is impregnable, indestructible, unchanging and therefore utterly dependable.  We all need somebody to lean on, and as we make our way through our lives in this valley of tears, we encounter many people who choose different ways: some are admirable; some are enviable; some are noble; and some give the impression of being fulfilled, of having all their heart’s desire.  But none endure, not in the way that the root of Jesse is enduring.  We are after all, all of us, seekers and our rootedness can only be secure if we are rooted in Him and accept His invitation.

St Irenaeus wrote of Christ that He “... came to invite man to become like Himself, commissioning him to imitate God, placing him under obedience to the Father so as to see God, giving him the power to apprehend the Father.”  

He invites us to lean on Him, now and at all times, throughout our lives, as we sang in the psalm this morning:
“It is you, O Lord, who are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, since my youth.
On you I have leaned from my birth,
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.”

We entrust ourselves to very many people in our lifetime, some for a time and others’ friendship is enriching and enables us to flourish; yet, the Lord alone is with us from even before our birth and will be waiting to receive us and hopefully welcome us home to Himself when we come to die; He alone knows us at the depth of our existence, for it is in Him that we are rooted.  He came to bear the weight of our lives with us and for us, and to support us as we go and to help us see how to imitate Him.

We say, because we believe that God is Love.  At His Nativity, there were indeed some kings who fell silent before Him.  They had followed a star at the prompting of an angel and had come to worship Him: maybe on seeing Him, they beheld love and their worship was a silent adoration.

We seem to be living in a time when what present-day ‘kings’ and rulers want, is to silence the message that He brought, rather than acknowledge that He is the way of truth – and that the Truth that He is, is the only way to life.

As we think about and anticipate the Lord’s coming, may we be open to understanding its meaning; and as we participate in the Eucharist, may our reception of His Body and Blood enable us to cleave ever more longingly to Him, that we may at last see Him for ever in heaven.


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