During the last eight days of Advent, it is useful to reflect on the different titles given to the Lord who is to come. The titles are Old Testament titles, here conferred on Jesus, showing he is the promised Messiah.
St. Paul tells us that God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom. He is saying that it is hard to imagine the Wisdom of God, who knows all things, because God has created all things. This title of God reminds us especially of the Book of Wisdom in the Old Testament - a beautiful hymn in which wisdom is personified, and is active in the world.
A name for the Most High God, whose true name could not be uttered, and of whom it was said that no-one could gaze on the face of God and live. Adonai is the Lord of armies, who will march out to save the people in battle.
Stock of Jesse
Jesse was the father of King David, and Jesus is a descendent of David. >From David comes the association of Jesus as royal, of David's line. Jesus inherits the throne of David, re-defining his role as King of the Jews.
Key of David
Jesus is not simply a ruler descended from David, but a liberator, a redeemer. This name echoes the mission of Jesus to bind and to loose, a mission Jesus passes on to his disciples.
The sun is a sign of God's creation, God's endurance, and a sign of God's glory. God's glory outshines the sun, and will endure after the sun and moon have failed. Psalm 84 describes God as the sun:
"For the LORD God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the LORD withhold from those who walk uprightly." (Psalm 84:11 NRSV)
God is the king above all kings, and the prophet Samuel is reluctant to anoint a king for the Israelites as this will seem like a rejection of God's rule. Pilate asks Jesus if he is a king; Jesus answers indirectly, because his kingship does not accord with the expectations of the Romans, the Jewish authorities, or even his followers.
The prophecy of Isaiah foretells a sign to be given by God: a virgin will conceive and give birth to a son whom she will call Emmanuel: a name which means God is with us. Jesus is the word made flesh, God in the midst of the people.
© Liguori Publications Excerpt from Advent - A Quality Storecupboard The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer