Saturday, December 19, 2009

Deacon Dulas: "O Radix Iesse"

Here's the 3rd in the series on the "O" Antiphons by Deacon Jerry Dulas.

Listen to today's antiphon at


Today's "O" antiphon brings us the beautiful image of the bud that springs from Jesse's root --

O radix Iesse,
qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem gentes deprecabuntur:
Veni, ad liberandum nos, iam noli tardare

O Root of Jesse,
Who standest as an ensign of the people;
before Whom kings open not their mouths;
to whom the nations pray:
Come, and deliver us, make no tarrying.
translation: Edward Traill Horn, III

-- The Root of Jesse is the Old Testament Messianic name, and the blessing promised is the deliverance of the Nations, the Gentiles, that is, all of us who were not born out of the house of Israel, from sin and evil.

In these first three antiphons we have progressed from the birth of God in the flesh, to His death on the cross for our salvation, to this salvation being proclaimed to the Gentiles; to you and me. Although not a direct quote from Scripture, the weight of this "O" antiphon is taken from the Prophet Isaiah (11:1, 10 and 52:15). There are several images that are used in this antiphon, they are: an ensign, a root, and kings.

From Isaiah we learn that the Root of Jesse, the Messiah, would become an ensign, that is, a banner, to the whole world. One cannot help but call to mind the insignia that was placed above our Lord Jesus Christ's head on the cross: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. This proclamation was written in four languages, and through those four languages, the message would go out into the whole world, and would convert all the Nations who heard. These Nations now seek Him; pray to Him, as their own Lord and Savior and He delivers them from their sins.

Our Lord Jesus is the true Root of David, Jesse's son. Although the tree of the kingdom of David was destroyed by his offspring's disobedience and neglect of God's Law, and were carried off into exile where the royal lineage no longer held the earthly throne, God still maintained that lineage, a root that would not be destroyed. And from that root, a bud, our dear Lord Christ, would spring forth. Here again, one cannot help but see in the image of the root, the image of a tree. Our Lord Jesus is not only the Tree of Life, which buds forth from the stump of Jesse's dead tree full of sin, but He was also hung on a tree of death full of sin. Now, this tree of death has become for all an ensign, a banner of God's salvation and deliverance.

The third image is of kings, who are unable to open their mouths before the Root of Jesse. Our Lord is the King of Kings. The banner that was placed over His head on Calvary proclaimed Him to be the King of the Jews. He replaces the evil and sinful kings of Judah, as the perfect and holy King, who rules with righteousness and truth. This King of the Jews, though born in a lowly cattle stall, and placed in a manger in swaddling cloths, became the King of all Nations. One can also see in these words of the antiphon an allusion to the arrival of the magi, who are often termed "kings," who came to our dear Lord Jesus in Bethlehem, and worshipped Him. Already their arrival on Epiphany is being prepared for.

Our Lord Jesus Christ delivers them and all nations from their sins. However, the world is still full of sin and evil, so the banner, the cross of our Lord Christ, must ever continue to be put forth to all the nations and peoples and tongues, so that He might deliver them from their sins and trespasses. The Word must continue to be preached to all nations, so that they might repent, and humble themselves just like the Magi from the east. We, as the Church, pray for those who are lost in their trespasses and sins, that His Kingdom might come to them as well, that His will might be done among them, that He might deliver the nations, and us, from all evil. So the Church prays, "Come, Lord Jesus, deliver us, do not delay."


Deacon Dulas also provides this setting from Liber Usualis.  It is a different psalm tone than the one you'll here on Time Out.


Deacon Dulas is ordained into the pastorate and member of the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America (  In his own words, "My call is to serve as deacon and missionary-at-large to MN and WI at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Tony, WI.  We are starting a mission here in Mayer, MN, and the surrounding area called St. Matthew Ev. Luth. Mission."


  1. I must correct a typo in the paragraph that begins "The third image is of kings." The fourth sentence should read: "He replaces the evil and sinful kings of Judah, AS the perfect and holy King, who rules with righteousness and truth."--Deacon Dulas

  2. No problem. Posts can easily be edited! Let me know if there are any other typos. --Iggy


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