The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

Saint Agnes School | Contact Us

3rd Week of Advent

Date: 
Tue, 12/19/2017
Author: 
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

Plants in the holy land, in the areas around Jerusalem, Palestine, Bethlehem
and the Middle East in general,  plants in this geographical area, 
are often threatened by heat and drought.
Attention, therefore,  is focused on and directed toward the root as the means of survival.
It’s the part of the plant which guarantees the existence of the whole.
The root gives purchase in the soil….gives stability to the stem and branches.
The plant grows out of the root as its origin.
 
This observation and this reality
was used as a metaphor in the Old Testament regarding the coming of the Messiah.
The prophets foretold his coming.
They reminded the people of God’s promise to send a messiah
and addressed the issues hopelessness and unfaithfulness.
They said “this is who you are to look for; this is who the Messiah will be;
this is how you will know him: by his roots, by his historical origins.
This is how you will verify his authenticity.”
 
In the Old Testament it was also recognized
that the root of a fallen tree could renew itself and put forth fresh shoots. 
In this way, the root is seen as the hope for a new beginning. 
 
It was the prophet Isaiah who proclaimed “a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom. 
On that day, the root of Jesse shall be set up as a signal for the peoples. 
On that day the nations will seek him out.”
Isaiah is speaking of the promised Messiah.
From the pitiable remnant of the house of Jesse (who is the Father of King David)
there will come forth, as from the remaining stump of a tree, a new shoot
which will establish a kingdom of peace and righteousness.
It will be a new starting point for a glorious future in God.
 
Who is Jesus Christ whose birth we will soon celebrate?
He is the root of Jesse.  He comes forth as a shoot, a branch of Jesse’s family tree.
He comes forth from the part of Jesse’s family tree that has remained faithful to the covenant
over the long years of waiting.
 
This image of Jesus as being the “Root of Jesse” still holds value for Christians in the 21st century.
How can Christmas 2017 be for us a new beginning?
What areas of personal faithfulness need regeneration and renewal?
What Christian attitudes, qualities and practices need to be reborn is us?
How do we need to be lifted up out of hopelessness and despair?
Are we satisfied with merely surviving with regards to a Christian life?
What needs to be added to our living that will see to our thriving and fruitfulness?
Likewise, what needs to be removed from our living as far as being detrimental to our Christian life?
 
It is also brought to our attention, as we dip into the Old Testament scriptures
so as to acquire a greater understanding of the mystery of our salvation,
that God works within the history of our world as well as within our personal history.
Our faith at times becomes threatened by too much focus on worldly and material reality
and by the absence of life-giving spiritual necessities.
Within ourselves and within others we need to remember:  where there’s life, there’s hope.
God will never stop working to bring Salvation.
 
Today’s prayer:  “O Lord, may Your Son Jesus Christ be reborn in our hearts and minds this Christmas.  Bless us with new ways of knowing Him. Amen!”