O Radix Jesse

O Root of Jesse

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign to the people;
before whom kings shall shut their mouths,
and whom the nations shall seek:
Come and deliver us, and do not delay.

In my childhood home, we celebrated Advent in fine form, hand-dipping Advent candles from paraffin and old crayons and gathering nightly for family liturgy. From Creation through the Holy Family, small symbols of our Christian story were gradually placed on a felt Jesse Tree. As I was quite convinced that this tree was mine, I took special care to learn each story well. Fundamentally, this tradition gave me my roots in faith and taught me reverence for scripture, for holy story, and for the actions we take stemming from it.

The O Antiphons refer us to parts of Jesus’ own tradition; it is the root of Jesse that calls forth the righteous and peaceable kingdom in Isaiah. The O Radix Jesse antiphon marks a political response to the coming of Christ. In today’s antiphon, we recall that vision of lions and lambs lying together, of a people ruled by wise leadership. We yearn for He who is the sign to His people, for the message that silences kings. A nation turned towards Christ would care for the least among us, love those who hate us, and be based upon a Holy story.

As we chant (or speak or consider or sing) today’s antiphon, may we seek the ways Christ’s Kingdom delivers us. Do not delay!

–Jessica Abell (’12)