A Shoot from the Stump of Jesse

Among the reasons I love Advent is that we get to hear so many Mass readings from the Book of Isaiah, a book of such promise.

Today’s first reading promises us that “a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,” and that the “Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him.”

What will be the result of his coming? Isaiah promises that “he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.”

And Isiah then, in a passage I love, gives us a beautiful image of the “peaceable kingdom” we shall experience:

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.

It is a beautiful promise that gives us hope during this Advent season.

Come, Lord Jesus, come!


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