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Wednesday, Third week of Advent (O Root of Jesse)

December 19, 2012

Blessed Ember Wednesday!

You can read more about the Ember Days here and here.

The traditional Mass for Advent’s Ember Wednesday is also called the “Golden Mass”.
In medieval times, the first letters of this Mass were written in gold
–sometimes the entire Mass–
and golden vestments were worn,
because the focus was on the golden mystery of our faith:
the Annunciation, when God first became Man in Mary’s womb.
The Golden Mass was held in early morning darkness,
lit by the golden glow of candlelight,
as we celebrated the entrance of the Light of the World into our darkness.
When the lectionary was revised,
this Gospel was transferred to the 4th Sunday of Advent for Year B–
(we’re in Year C this year, so we’ll hear the story of the Mary’s Visitation to Elizabeth).
Today’s first reading, however, does hearken back to the Introit of the Golden Mass.

May your prayer and sacrifices during these Ember Days
bless and sanctify the winter season for you and for the whole world.


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)

Entrance Antiphon:
He Who is to come will come and will not delay,
and now there will be no fear within our land, for He is our Savior.

O God, who through the child-bearing of the holy Virgin
graciously revealed the radiance of Your glory to the world,
grant, we pray,
that we may venerate with integrity of faith
the mystery of so wondrous an Incarnation
and always celebrate it with due reverence.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Judges 13:2-7, 24-25 (announcement of the conception of Samson)
Psalm 71:3-6, 16-17 “Fill me with Your praise and I will sing Your glory!”
Luke 1:5-25 (announcement of the conception of St. John the Baptist)

The root is long dried up
in dusty earth,
life long abandoned.

But wood hath hope!

For a tree there is hope,
if it be cut down, that it will sprout again
and that its tender shoots will not cease.
Even though its roots grow old in the earth
and its stump die in the dust,
yet at the first whiff of water it may flourish again
and put forth branches like a young plant
-Job 14:7-9

This is God’s promise.

In His time
His water falls…

Though you are barren and have had no children,
yet you will conceive and bear a son…
-Judges 13:3

Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son
-Luke 1:13

Two barren wombs are quickened,
to be filled with holy sons…

be careful to take no wine or strong drink and to eat nothing unclean.
As for the son you will conceive and bear,
no razor is to touch his head,
for this boy is to be consecrated to God from the womb.
Judges 13:4-5

He will never drink wine or strong drink,
and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb.
-Luke 1:15

…to save a stricken land.

The Israelites again offended the Lord,
Who therefore delivered them into the power of the Philistines
for forty years…
the son you will conceive…
will begin the deliverance of Israel.
-Judges 13:1, 3, 5

Many of the sons of Israel
will he bring back to the Lord their God
-Luke 1:16

God’s on the move!

His plan of old unfolding

You’re in it too!

Though you may feel forgotten,
cast away and long abandoned,
God still has His hand on you.

Be confident in Him!
His plan will far surpass
your wildest dreams!

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