O BRANCH OF JESSE

The “Great O” antiphon for December 19 is “O Branch of Jesse” (or O Root).
(See an explanation of the Great O’s in the blog post for December 16.)

From Isaiah 11: 1 – 4a

A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;

BRANCH OF JESSE – “Now the green blade rises from the buried grain.”  We often feel like we are outside, but we are never outside of God’s love.  O branch of Jesse — the promise of salvation and hope for all peoples.  Always a faithful God confronts our faithlessness and loves us back to life.  There is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again and that the tender branch will bud and become a shoot that will not cease.  Though the root grows old in the earth, and its stump dies in the ground, yet at the scent of water, it will bud, and put forth branches like a young plant (The Book of Job).  Out of the old root there is a new greening, a new birth.  Will we welcome the Word and carry it to the world, so that God might be born in our hearts and in our world also.  This tiny Branch will break down walls and barriers.  This is the first day, the first antiphon in which we add some special urgency to our daily plea of “come!”  We add the words,  “and do not delay.”  The most casual glance at the world’s leaders and the state of things today will reveal that the fullness of the Messiah’s role as a rallying point for all, before Whom all rulers shall be silent, is not just around the corner.  We affirm that by our urgency, by begging God to hurry!  O come and free us and do not make us wait. (Sr. Doreen McGuff)

From “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”:

O come, O Rod of Jesse’s stem
from every foe deliver them
that trust your mighty power to save,
and give them victory o’er the grave.
Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel.

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