The birth of John can cause one to think of all that led up to the birth of Jesus. John was the forerunner of Christ, they are linked by family and through Mary’s visitation of Johns mother Elizabeth. Both Jesus conception and Johns was announced by an angel. In some ways I think that John possibly started paving the way for the Lord before he became known as the Baptist.
His father Zechariah was a priest, and at birth they were linked through a common religion. It was Elizabeth that exclaimed Blessed thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. She then said And why is it, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? Elizabeth recognized Mary’s special role in salvation.
For John to carry out his mission of preparing the way for the Lord, the conditions for change had to be right. For John to prepare for the Lord, someone had to prepare the way for John, and that would have been his parents. John’s name Yohanan means graced by God. Jesus name Emmanuel means God is with us.
O King of the gentiles and their desired One, the cornerstone that makes both one: come, and deliver man, whom you formed out of the dust of the earth.
O Rex Gentium (O King of the Gentiles) is the companion of O Key of David. Key of David is Jesus’s rightful place on the throne of David, and the role as Messiah that title speaks of. O King of the gentiles is the other half that places him a universal King. Universal is Catholic. It is that Kingship that unites all that has been divided, and that which brings peace to the world. It allows people to sing Joy to the world, the Lord has come. An undivided kingdom is one that allows for peace. It is a kingdom united under God and obedient to Gods laws, and not mans whims.
O root of Jesse is the foundation of the throne of David as Jesse is David’s Father. David’s kingdom was that kingdom all in the people wished to return to, it was the undivided and prosperous kingdom. From the memory of that kingdom springs the kingdom of God that Jesus preaches. The root of Jesse is the kingdom toppled, but also undefeated. From the root springs the nourishment needed for new growth, from that root springs the cross of salvation that is Jesus Christ. It is to that root of Jesse that we cry out to, that we might be freed from all that enslaves us and tears us down, and brought back to that Kingdom of God and that God that is the source of life for all mankind.
Today’s Antiphon, O Adoni translates Lord. It is the word used to replace YHWH, as the Word represented by those four letters is too sacred to speak. Lord implies ruler, King, and authority. It demands respect, and it demands obedience. Today’s gospel is that where an angel appears to Joseph and commands him not to be afraid and to take Mary as is wife, who has conceived through the holy spirit, and name the child Jesus. That command was contrary to Joseph’s intent; he had planned to quietly divorce her. Joseph though was obedient to his Lord. He placed the will of God above his own desires. He was open to, and a willing participant in God’s plan for salvation. That obedience, even if at a personal cost, is perhaps one of the lessons of Saint Joseph. He learns the way to fatherhood through listening to the Father of all Creation. Both Mary and Joseph were visited by an Angel. With Mary, there is an unwavering obedience. With Joseph, his visit by an angel comes after his doubts about the Mother of God. One highlights the Immaculate Mary, the other the human Joseph. Joseph, human but open and receptive to that message from God. His is the ability to bend to Gods will, always listening and obedient at any cost.