The O Antiphons: 18 December – O Adonai
LATIN: O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.
ENGLISH: O Lord and Ruler the house of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: come, and redeem us with outstretched arms.
Relevant verse of Veni, Veni Emmanuel:
O come, O come, thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times didst give the law
In cloud and majesty, and awe.
“Adonai” is “LORD.” It was the Hebrew word that the Jews used when they found the four-lettered word for God’s name which they held to be too sacred to pronounce aloud. The four letter word for God’s Name, the Tetragrammaton, is still venerated by us to the point that Holy Church asks us not to use it in liturgical song.
Christ is Lord, Lord of Creation. We sang this yesterday in the antiphon “O Sapientia“. Christ is also Lord of the Covenant with the People He chose.
The Lord made covenants with Noah, Abraham, and Moses. He guided them and all the People. He gave them Law. He protected and feed them. The Lord delivered them from bondage to Pharaoh and unending slavery. He went before them with arm outstretched.
This was all a pre-figuring of the great work of redemption that Christ would work on the Cross. He redeemed us His People from Satan and the eternal damnation of hell.
He once appeared clothed in the burning bush that was not consumed by fire.
He is about to appear again clothed in flesh in our liturgical celebration of Christmas.
He will appear again one day in the future to judge the living and the dead.
He appears to us each day in the person of our neighbor.
What amazing contrasts we find in our Lord! He came in thunder and lightening to give the Law on Mt. Sinai. He comes now in swaddling clothes. He will come again in glory. He comes humbly in the appearance of Bread and Wine.
He still goes before us with outstretched arm and our foes are put to flight at the sight of His banner!