O Root of Jesse, you stand as a signal for the nations; kings fall silent before you whom the peoples acclaim. O come to deliver us, and do not delay.
I’m embarrassed to admit it took me a minute to remember who Jesse was when I was praying with this one. (He’s David’s father. But you knew that.) Tomorrow we hear about David in the vespers antiphon. It strikes me how far back these references stretch, how they remind us that Jesus’ family had very deep roots.
I find our era to be hostile to recognizing our roots. Some would have us believe that the only way to be “tolerant” or “open-minded” is to not have an identity. My experience has been the opposite. Only by knowing who I am have I ever been able to accept the uniqueness of another, who has a firm and abiding identity as surely as I do.
Part of that identity is our where we come from, who our people are. It’s comforting that Jesus, in his humanity, had a history as surely as we do. Also, we know that he is part of our identity, part of our roots, just as God our Creator has been with our people from the beginning.