O Radix Jesse

Daily Reading for December 18

O Root of Jesse, you stand as an ensign to the peoples; before you kings will shut their mouths and nations will bow in worship: Come and deliver us, and do not tarry.

As Adonai is our lord and leader, it is the Root of Jesse that delivers us into love for each other—not a love that molds another into our own image, but a love that sees each one through the eyes of God. It is because Christ comes as a sign for all creation that king and servant are equal, Jew and gentile are alike in their search; everyone is holy.

Queen, prince, street person, priest—everyone is holy. And it is Christ himself who not only leads us into mutual concern and compassion, but also reminds us just how holy each one is. Charles deFoucauld summarized this truth, “I do not think there is a gospel phrase which has made a deeper impression on me and transformed my life more than this one: ‘Insofar as you did this to one of the least of these. . . you did it to me.’ One has only to think that these words were spoken by the uncreated Truth, who also said, ‘This is my body . . . This is my blood.’”

It is with the coming of Christ that the groundwork for our union with God is begun, but we will only be able to grow in this union when we are in communion and in community with others. Christ comes as the sign that all are welcome.

O Root of Jesse

The nations—all the nations—seek you.

And kings—even kings and rulers, prophets and seers—

even kings and queens,

who usually understand and make pronouncements—

even kings stand speechless,


witness to something

they cannot begin to imagine: God!

God, himself, a sign of the people—

the average, ordinary, everyday, all people.

God himself a sign

that the people are holy . . .

wholly wrapped in the Spirit

of wisdom and insight,

of counsel and power,

of knowledge and awe,

of godliness, itself—

all the people are holy.

O Root of Jesse

stand as a signal,

as a sign to the people

of the holiness of God,

of the holiness of us all.

From Hasten the Kingdom: Praying the O Antiphons of Advent by Mary Winifred, C.A. (Liturgical Press, 1996).

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