A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots, a bud shall blossom. (Isaiah 11:1)
Three days into the new church year and the season of Advent, we hear one of the great messianic prophecies of Isaiah. The opening words stir our hearts, “. . . A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots, a bud shall blossom.” We ask, what wonders await us? What will God achieve in this year of grace, in this season of hope?
Decades ago, my father cut down beautiful shade trees in our backyard, many of them elms infested by ravenous beetles that robbed the trees of their vitality. Only the decaying stumps were left. I was mesmerized to see that tiny shoots soon sprouted from these stumps, a promise of new life.
Isaiah’s prophecy speaks of the “rise of a new Davidic king who will embody the ancient ideals of Davidic kingship” (Revised New America Bible). He will be the “son of David,” a messianic title. From the stump of David’s line, as good as dead will come forth, one who will rule in justice and holiness. This is the promise of Advent.
This year has brought pain, darkness, death, and we are still grappling with a cruel enemy that strikes young and old, rich and poor, believer, and non-believer. Amid all of this, what signs of new life do your eyes behold? The self-giving of dedicated caregivers? The resilience of families finding new ways of being together when they must be apart? The humble prayer of a Church which suffers with all people?
Let us pray:
Lord, help us “enter into the spirit of the holy Church, a spirit of penance, prayer, of longing for Jesus, in order that he may be born in our souls by his love and virtues.” (Based on a quote of Saint Peter Julian Eymard)
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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