SOME OLD TESTAMENT BACKGROUND
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
In that day the root of Jesse shall stand as an ensign to the peoples; him shall the nations seek, and his dwellings shall be glorious.
Now you are walled about with a wall; siege is laid against us; with a rod they strike upon the cheek the ruler of Israel.
AND THE FULFILMENT:
I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, "Therefore I will praise thee among the Gentiles, and sing to thy name"; and again it is said, "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people"; and again, "Praise the Lord, all Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him"; and further Isaiah says, "The root of Jesse shall come, he who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles hope." May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals; and I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?" And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I wept much that no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. Then one of the elders said to me, "Weep not; lo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.")
This is the old chant for "O Root of Jesse". You can listen to it HERE.
Isaiah 7:10-14; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-24
HIS DYNASTY WILL LAST FOREVER
The prophet Isaiah spoke words of hope in a hopeless situation for Israel. The Davidic dynasty had become corrupt and unfit for a Messianic King. Apostates like King Ahaz (2 Kings 16) and weaklings like Zedekiah (Jeremiah 38) occupied the throne of David. When God offered King Ahaz a sign, the king refused. God, nonetheless, gave Israel a sign to assure his people that he would indeed raise up a righteous King who would rule forever over the house of David.
We understand the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy and the unfolding of God's plan of redemption to begin with the conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. This child to be born is the fulfillment of all God's promises.
As today's Gospel indicates, those who were to be used by God to bring his plan to pass required faith and trust in his promises, as well as considerable risk-taking. Mary and Joseph, therefore, are examples of faith for us.
We need to grow to the point of really believing the promises of God, especially when we are faced with perplexing circumstances and seemingly insurmountable problems. God has not left us alone; he has brought us his only begotten Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Let us draw near with faith and take him at his word.