Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest

“But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.” (Isaiah 11:1.)

Saint Jerome offers the following insight on this verses from today’s First Reading:

“Until the beginning of the vision, or the burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amos saw, his entire prophecy was about Christ, a prophecy that we want to explain piecemeal lest the ideas and discussions thereof together confuse the reader’s memory. The Jews interpreted the branch and the flower from the root of Jesse to be the Lord himself because the power of his governance is demonstrated in the branch and his beauty in the flower. But we understand the branch from the root of Jesse to be the holy Virgin Mary, who had no shoot connatural to herself. About her we read above: “Behold, a virgin will conceive and bear a son.” And the flower is the Lord our Savior, who said in the Song of Songs, “I am the flower of the field and the lily of the valleys.” In place of “root,” which only the Septuagint translated, the Hebrew text has geza, which Aquila and Symmachus and Theodotus interpret as kormon, that is, “stem.” And they translated “flower,” which the Hebrew text calls nēṣer, as “bud” to show that after a long time in Babylonian captivity, no longer possessing any glory from the sprout of the old kingdom of David, Christ would rise from Mary as though from her stem. The educated of the Hebrews believe that what all the ecclesiastics sought in the Gospel of Matthew but could not find, where it was written “Because he will be called a Nazarene,” was taken from this place. But it should be noted that nēṣer was written here with the [Hebrew] letter ṣade [צ], the peculiar sound of which —somewhere between z and s—the Latin language does not express.” (Commentary on Isaiah, 4.)

O God,
Who through the preaching of
Saint Francis Xavier
won many peoples to Yourself,
grant that the hearts of the faithful
may burn with the same zeal for the faith
and that Holy Church may everywhere rejoice
in an abundance of offspring.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen