O Radix Jesse
19/December/2007 Filed in: Jottings
By tradition, the O antiphons are usually sung by the most senior members of the community/certain officials for whom the imagery — roots, keys, and so on — seems peculiarly appropriate. O Radix Jesse naturally falls to the gardener: O Root of Jesse, who stand as an ensign for the people, before whom kings will fall silent, and whom the Gentiles will seek, come and deliver us — do not delay! Such a wealth of scriptural allusion is packed into these words, from Isaiah 11 to Revelation 5. The flower that arises from the root of Jesse is an image that poets and songwriters have delighted in. It conveys an idea of the simultaneous fragility and perfection of the birth of Christ:
A winter rose shall flower
On Jesse's ancient stem:
The word of God unfolding
Before the eyes of men.
(To listen to today's antiphon, go to the Prayer Box on the Vocation page and use the drop-down menu. Recording by courtesy of Fr Jim Tucker and the North American College.)