O radix Iesse!
O radix Iesse,
qui stas in signum populórum,
super quem continébunt reges os suum,
quem gentes deprecabúntur:
veni ad liberándum nos, iam noli tardáre.
“O stock of Jesse, who stand as a sign for the nations; before whom kings fall silent; whom the peoples acclaim – come come to deliver us, do not delay any more.”
Born into humble circumstances, Jesus is nevertheless a descendant of David and his father Jesse. The family has long lost its royal glory in the eyes of the world, but still it stands as the hinge of salvation history.
As Isaiah says: “A shoot springs from the stock of Jesse, a scion thrusts from his roots. That day, the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples. It will be sought out by the nations and its home will be glorious.”
This is the third of the seven ancient antiphons at Vespers that count down the days to Christmas. Nothing stands in the way of these antiphons: compared to them, even Sundays have no antiphon of their own.