O Root of Jesse Third O Antiphon

O Radix Jesse: O Root Of Jesse 

 O flower of Jesse's stem,
you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples;
kings stand silent in your presence;
the nations bow down in worship before you.
Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid."

 Starter Prayer: O Root of Jesse, let my life spring from your Life.

Jesse was the father of King David, and Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David and be born in David’s city, Bethlehem.

Again today, we have a rather unusual name, metaphor, and invocation for the coming Incarnation. Radix Jesse, literally, “Root of Jesse,” which could be rightly translated stem, stump, shoot, heritage, or even “genitals!” The point being that the rather unknown father of King David, Jesse, has again come alive in Jesus, after the promise made to David has lain dormant and forgotten for over 600 years. It is an old lineage, a deferred promise, a dead dynasty, that miraculously springs forth from an unexpected place—just as pure grace always does.

A subtle and telling metaphor like this surely shows that some old monks were praying in the monasteries, and finding new, but true, images for what is always happening. Jesus is here identified with his father, Joseph, who apparently was from Bethlehem, the city of David, and of his lineage. Out of “nowhere” God remembers and fulfills ancient promises that we have forgotten. But God never does! In the divine economy it is not a matter of if, but only when. There will be a “when” and from an unexpected place! Just wait.

~ Richard Rohr, December 2011

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