“The root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations.”

Today’s reading from the prophets again brings us the great Isaiah (11:1-10).  While the beginning of this chapter is most famous for giving us the classic Gifts of the Holy Spirit (or at least six of the seven — see verse 2), I wish to focus on the line that occurs in the last verse (in the headline) of the passage read this day.

What a “signal” this descendant of Jesse’s son David was and is!  Even the description of what this long-awaited messiah would be blessed with — wisdom, counsel, understanding, strength (fortitude), knowledge, and fear of the Lord — should be attractive to anyone.  And of course, the entire Gospel message of the New Testament should be compelling to anyone open to it.  So why is it that the world seems to be moving away from Christ?  Certainly one factor must be that the “signal” coming in is distorted for some and is entirely lost for others.

A “noisy” culture tries to do everything it can to distract us from what is most important.  The explosion of media over the last century has mainly worked to block out the message of Jesus or distract us from it (acknowledging that there have been many good efforts to use these media to spread the Gospel).  Conveniences of all kinds have not lessened the busyness of our lives; they have just provided more diversions or allowed us to pursue more activities that pull us away from time to quietly pray and contemplate.

Let not a storm of “interference” cause us to dampen Jesus’ signal or lose it altogether.  Rather, let us keep our “antenna” extended and in good working order so as to continually be “attuned” to Christ and His will and mission for us.


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