Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator
The "O" Antiphon for December 19 is:
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.
Jesse appears in the first group of fourteen generations in the genealogy of Jesus as recorded by St. Matthew: Obed became the father of Jesse, Jesse the father of David the king (Matthew 1:5b-6A). Two of the Hebrew prophets recorded that the Messiah would come from the House of David; the first was Isaiah: A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots (Isaiah 11:1). A little later we read: On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious (Isaiah 11:10). The Prophet Micah had stated that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David and would be born in Bethlehem, the city of David (see Micah 5:2).
St. Matthew wrote the genealogy of Jesus to illustrate not only that Jesus was of the House of David, but that he was also like any other human being, from a lineage that included both the good and the bad. In Jesus we see the fulfillment of the prophecy that stated that an heir of David would occupy the throne of Israel for all ages.