On that day,
A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him:
a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
A Spirit of counsel and of strength,
a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord,
and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord. (Is 11:1-3a)
My father taught me many things. He taught me how to repair cars (before the day of all the computerized gizmos). He taught me how to do plumbing. He taught me how to install electrical wiring and components. He taught me how to install and repair our phone lines. He also taught me how to garden.
In the area of gardening, my dad reigned supreme. He had a green thumb. He could grow anything. He could mend anything. He could nurse anything to health. (He was the polar opposite of my mother who claimed to have a black thumb. Anything living that she touched was sure to die. But that is a story for another time and place!)
Dad taught us that roots were important. He instructed us on how to care for a plant, how to separate it, how to thin it out, how to transplant it. The roots were crucial. If we damaged the roots, he would tell us, we would lose the plant or the tree.
Isaiah traces our roots to the stock of Jesse. From Jesse’s roots, Isaiah claimed, a shoot would sprout and we would be made whole. That image is applied to Jesus. He is the shoot from which wonderful things would blossom: wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, and fear of the Lord. Those fruits from that root would be enough to restore the world.
Jesus is the realization of the promise God made to His people after original sin entered the world. God promised to send us a redeemer. Jesus fulfilled that promise. The root is still strong. God’s love will ever endure.
Draw your sustenance from that root this day.
FAITH ACTION: Tend to your roots: prayer, meditation, reflection, corporal and spiritual works of mercy. These are the things that make us who we are.