Wednesday after Populus Sion, The Second Sunday in Advent
Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-10 (NKJV)
1 “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. 3 His delight is in the fear of the Lord, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; 4 But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist.
6 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. 7 The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. 9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
10 “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious.”
Having just mentioned in chapter 7 the Virgin who would bear a Son to redeem Israel, Isaiah again in chapter 11 mentions both the Virgin and the Son. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the “Rod from the stem of Jesse” and our Lord Jesus Christ is the “Branch” that shall grow out of Jesse’s roots. As St. Ambrose says, “The root of Jesse the patriarch is the family of the Jews, Mary is the rod, Christ the flower of Mary, who, about to spread the good odor of faith throughout the whole world, budded forth from a virgin womb.”
The imagery that Isaiah is invoking is the image of the almond branch of Aaron the high priest, whose branch blossomed and fruited with almonds at the will of God, to establish him and all his descendants as the true priests of God. This imagery is used by Isaiah to point us to one of the vocations of our Lord Jesus. He is our High Priest. He offers the sacrifice of the Lamb, and is the Lamb of sacrifice Which redeems all mankind from sin, death, and the devil.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, our Messiah, the Anointed One of God, Who stands as our High Priest, and born of the Virgin Mary, stands as a banner to the people. He is the One to whom all those who repent of their sins cling in faith. He is the One Who all those who believe on go to and receive forgiveness of sins. For as Aaron’s staff budded with fragrant and sweet smelling almonds, our Lord’s grace and mercy is a sweet smelling aroma of salvation, which also the Gentiles seek and in which they find a resting place from their sins.