O Adonai, O Lord and Master

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.

This antiphon identifies the Messiah with the God of the Sinai Covenant. The name "Adonai" was used as a substitute for "Yahweh" as devout Jews would not vocalize the name of God for fear of desecrating its holiness. "Adonai" is a plural noun that is best translated as "Lord, Lord. . ." You might recall that the Gospel recalls that Jesus warned that heaven was not promised to those who called out "Lord, Lord. . ."

The Law Giver is the Righteous One. As I have written before, one who is righteous is one who is in right relationship. This antiphon illustrates that by reminding us that we are the subjects, God is the Master. The antiphon also recalls the many times that God has intervened to save the Israelites. In these instances, the Scriptures usually refer to the mighty and outstretched arm of God as the instrument of their salvation.

We also celebrate the fourth and final Sunday of Advent today. The Gospel holds up for us an example of one whose relationship with God was so perfect that she was chosen to be the Mother of the Incarnate Son of God. Her example illustrates one who lived out the covenantal relationship to its fullest extent.

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