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Sunday, Fourth week of Advent, O Root of Jesse

December 19, 2010

Blessed Sunday!

I found a couple more pages with fun ideas for celebrating the O Antiphons here
(those fig newton Bibles are so clever!) and here!

O Root of Jesse
Who stands as a sign for the people,
Before Whom kings silence their mouths,
With Whom all nations shall plead
Come to set us free without delay

Isaiah 11:10:
In 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.

Jesse was the father of King David (see Ruth 4:17, among others), the “root”, of David’s dynasty, which God promised would last forever (I Chronicles 17:11-14). Since the world will come to an end, only Jesus could fulfill this promise; Jesus, the Son of David who is King forever. (see also Isaiah 11:1, Micah 5:1, Romans 15:12, Revelation 5:5 & 22:16)

Symbols: flower (especially a rose), root with flowering stem
Suggested foods: root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, turnips, etc), root beer or edible flowers (yes, cauliflower & broccoli count too!), or flower-shaped garnishes
Suggested activity: make some sort of flower craft (this could be turned into a centerpiece or gift topper), read the legend of the poinsettia, coloring page

Lord, fill our hearts with Your Love,
and as You revealed to us by an angel
the coming of Your Son as Man,
so lead us through His suffering and death
to the glory of His resurrection,
for He lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen
(Opening Prayer from today’s Mass)

Readings:
Isaiah 7:10-14 (the virgin shall bear a son and name him Emmanuel)
Psalm 24: 1-6 “Let the Lord enter; He is King of Glory”
Romans 1:1-7 (Jesus is Son of David and Son of God)
+ Matthew 1:18-24 (an angel tells Joseph to take Mary as his wife and he obeys)

“God, You promised!”

This prayer, echoed throughout salvation history in one version or another,
(Exodus 32:13, Psalm 74:20, Daniel 3:34, Jeremiah 14:21, Micah 7:20, etc.),
warms the depths of God’s passionate heart
because it expresses the dispositions He most needs in us
in order to make us happy.

People God can bless believe in His promises, count on His promises, live on His promises–
who know that they can’t handle everything on their own
and that God will if only they’ll trust Him enough to cooperate.

In our natural state, we’re not nearly as eager to receive God’s promises as He is to make them.
King Ahaz demonstrates this all too well as he brushes off God’s offer
in favor of an alliance with Assyria (see 2 kings 16:2-9).
His pious-sounding excuse only thinly veils his profound lack of faith.

God can’t do anything with him…but He promises just the same.
Ahaz isn’t the only soul on the planet.
There will be others to take up the promise and set their hearts on its fulfillment;
others who, accepting the call to holiness,
will keep their hands sinless, their hearts clean,
ascending the mountain of the Lord to stand in His holy place (see Psalm 24:3-4).

Such a man was St. Joseph, King David’s righteous descendant (Ahaz’ too, by the way!),
whose prompt obedience provided a holy home for our Savior.
Without so much as a question,
he welcomed God’s promise into his home, into the midst of the rest of his life,
and gave Him His Name.

God isn’t done with His promises.
He’s still looking for people with sinless hands and clean hearts
to ascend His mountain and stand in His holy place.
He’s still looking for people
whose prompt obedience will provide a holy home for Him
and make His Name known.
He wants to make His home in our hearts through the Holy Eucharist
(that’s how He lives up to the Name “Emmanuel”, “God with us”)
and in our houses…forever.

Jesus is coming to your house for Christmas.
No, despite your best efforts, you can’t really be worthy of Him.
St. Joseph knew he wasn’t (which may be why he had decided to divorce Mary quietly).
But He wants to come anyway.
Will you, like St. Joseph, welcome Him?
What sorts of things can you do now to help Him feel at home?

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