|Sr. Ansgar Holmberg, CSJ|
O RADIX JESSE: “O Root of Jesse, 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.”
The image of the Root of Jesse comes from Isaiah (11:1) where he says, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of His root". “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. And He shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord.” (Is 11:2-3).
Isaiah goes on to say, “On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of Him.” The Root of Jesse is given, not only to Israel, but as a signal to the nations, a standard around which all peoples will rally. In fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, Jesus says of himself, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (Jn 12:32). Today’s O Antiphon opens onto the paschal mystery: the Root of Jesse announces that the advent of the Son is ordered to the mission of redemption that He will accomplish on the Tree of the Cross.