The Antiphon for today addresses Christ as the Radix or Root of Jesse. Jesse was the father of King David, and it was on David’s royal line that the hopes of Israel were based in the Old Testament. The restoration of the Davidic Kingship came to be a byword for the ushering in of a golden age. So Isaiah can write:
“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse … And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him.” (Isaiah 11:1-2)
The Antiphon identifies Christ as the Messiah, the hope of the Hebrew people, who will come to rule the earth with justice and peace. But it also reminds us that Christ shall stand as a sign to the gentes, the non-Hebrew peoples of the world. So Christ, the true Vine, is rooted in Israel and spreads his branches out to every person on earth, of every ethnicity and background. Good news for all people indeed.
O Root of Jesse,
who stands as a sign for the people,
at whom kings shall shut their mouths,
to whom the Gentiles plead:
Come to liberate us, and do not delay.