O Radix, O Root of Jesse

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples; before you kings will shut their mouths, to you the nations will make their prayer: Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.

On the third Sunday of Advent, we heard the story of how David wanted to build a house, a temple, to house the Ark of the Covenant. Instead, God promised to build a dynasty for David, promising that one of his descendants would always sit on the throne of Israel. The antiphon for December 19 remembers that promise and identifies Jesus as one of the descendants of David. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, was of the house of David. When Caesar declared a census, Joseph took Mary to Bethlehem to be counted. There she gave birth to the Son of God who inherited the throne of David and is now declared the King of the Universe, before whom all other kings will bow down in worship.

Identifying Jesus as our King is more than just a symbolic nod to the divinity of Jesus. Those who name Jesus as King are also swear allegiance to him and model their lives on his fidelity to Father. We are his servants; He, our liege Lord. The antiphon repeats the Advent cry: come and deliver us. Do not delay.

Waiting may be one of the most onerous burdens of all human activities. If you have ever stood on the corner waiting for a bus or found yourself waiting for an expected visit, you know how it tests our patience. Yet waiting can be a statement of faith. No one waits for a bus unless they truly expect it to come. The psalmists and the prophets cry out, "How long?" It is the cry of someone who lives in expectation and faith in the eventual return of Jesus who comes with our salvation.

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