Archive for December 19th, 2019

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Oh, come, Thou Branch of Jesse’s tree,
Free them from Satan’s tyranny,
That trust your mighty pow’r to save;
Bring them in vict’ry through the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!
(LSB #357)

Isaiah had prophesied, “But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.” (11:1), and on that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.” (11:10). Remember also that Jesse was the father of King David, and Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David and be born in David’s city, Bethlehem (Micah 5:1).

Reflection:  Our word “radical” is from the Latin “radix”, “root”, as in the Root of Jesse.  C. S. Lewis pointed out that forgiving sin is like a long addition equation and when the sum is wrong, you have to go back to where it went wrong. This is what Christ Mass is about:  the Lord going back to where it went wrong.  He became flesh, in the appearance  of the Old Adam, to fix the humanly unfixable problem, sin,  in the tender mercies of our God. It is fitting that today happens to be the Commemoration of Adam and Eve, who knew both the judgment of God and His grace in the seed of the woman, the coming Messiah..  We have knowledge of salvation in the forgiveness of our sins (Luke 1: 77)The Incarnation was radical and  still is and so He is Emmanuel.  First, He is God against us, His alien work of judgment of sinners.  Then He is God for us and our salvation and by faith Emmanuel, God with us.

This O Antiphon reminds us also of the Lord’s genealogy and it’s importance in the Gospels:  St. Matthew 1: 1-7 and St. Luke 3: 23-28. The first multi-part mini-series that was a mega hit was “Roots”, the story of Kunta Kinte and his family from West Africa.  They were captured by slavers and Kinte became a slave in the United States.  The mini-series was about his family and his descendants.  Commentators at the time noted that the “Roots” popularity had to do with rootless American society.  Few grow up and stay in the place they were born.  We forget who we are. Genealogical studies and websites are very popular.  Baseball’s whole goal is to go home.  Worse, we forget Who’s we are.  Christ Jesus has roots deep into in Israel and creation as the genealogies in Matthew and Luke testify.  Unto us a Son is born.  He made us part of the genealogy of Israel, adopted as the Lord’s sons and daughters, grafted into the olive tree of Israel (cf. Romans 11:  16-18).  The true King rooted Himself in Israel and His creation for us wandering and lost.  Here is an excellent article on St. Matthew’s Genealogy at Brothers of John the Steadfast.

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