Theme:Jesus is the Flower of Jesse
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
2 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.
3 His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
Isaiah’s prophecies about the Messiah-to-come are beautiful. We read them throughout the liturgical year, depending on which part of Jesus’ life we are focusing on at Mass. During Lent, we focus on the Suffering Servant, but this time of year, we focus on the prophecies around the coming of the Messiah – His advent!
By the time Isaiah was writing, the Israelites were in exile. For centuries, they lived in Babylon and did their best to follow the Lord’s commands (though many fell into idolatry, and it was the intermarrying that happened during exile that caused the disappearance of some tribes). Even before that, the Kingdom of Israel was divided between north and south. God’s promise that David’s line would rule forever must have seemed to be broken. All that was left of Jesse’s lineage was a stump.
The stump of Jesse must have seemed to be dead. David’s line was no longer on the throne: Rome had appointed Herod King of Israel. But God is not stopped by human circumstances, and a flower was, indeed, born of Jesse’s lineage. As Isaiah foretold, a Virgin was found with Child, and Jesus would be the shoot from Jesse’s stump that would reign forever.
O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!
Meditation text and images © Christine Johnson