The Lord is at hand: come, let us adore him.
Year: A(II). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: Violet.
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.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
|Second Reading: St Irenaeus (130 - 202)|
Irenaeus was born in Smyrna, in Asia Minor (now Izmir in Turkey) and emigrated to Lyons, in France, where he eventually became the bishop. It is not known for certain whether he was martyred or died a natural death.
Whenever we take up a Bible we touch Irenaeus’s work, for he played a decisive role in fixing the canon of the New Testament. It is easy for people nowadays to think of Scripture – and the New Testament in particular – as the basis of the Church, but harder to remember that it was the Church itself that had to agree, early on, about what was scriptural and what was not. Before Irenaeus, there was vague general agreement on what scripture was, but a system based on this kind of common consent was too weak. As dissensions and heresies arose, reference to scripture was the obvious way of trying to settle what the truth really was, but in the absence of an agreed canon of scripture it was all too easy to attack one’s opponent’s arguments by saying that his texts were corrupt or unscriptural; and easy, too, to do a little fine-tuning of texts on one’s own behalf. Irenaeus not only established a canon which is almost identical to our present one, but also gave reasoned arguments for each inclusion and exclusion.
Irenaeus also wrote a major work, Against the Heresies, which in the course of denying what the Christian faith is not, effectively asserts what it is. The majority of this work was lost for many centuries and only rediscovered in a monastery on Mount Athos in 1842. Many passages from it are used in the Office of Readings.
|Liturgical colour: violet|
Violet is a dark colour, ‘the gloomy cast of the mortified, denoting affliction and melancholy’. Liturgically, it is the colour of Advent and Lent, the seasons of penance and preparation.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||(Isaiah 10:20-21) ©|
That day, the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the House of Jacob will truly rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.
|Noon reading (Sext)||(Isaiah 10:24,27) ©|
The Lord of Hosts says this: My people who live in Zion, do not be afraid. On that day the burden will fall from your shoulder and the yoke will cease to weigh on your neck.
|Afternoon reading (None)||(Isaiah 13:22-14:1) ©|
Its time is almost up, its days will not last long. Yes, the Lord will have pity on Jacob, and Israel will be saved.