December 18: O Adonai


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.


O Adonai and Ruler of the House of Israel, you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and on Mount Sinai gave him your law. Come, and with outstretched arm redeem us.

Today’s O Antiphon makes use of an ancient Hebrew title for God: Adonai, which means Lord or Master. It was used in place of the name of the Lord God (“YHWH”). The antiphon moves us from the creation of the world, seen in yesterday’s antiphon, to God’s role as head of the people of Israel. The antiphon makes reference to Exodus 3:2, “And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and lo, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.” It also makes reference to Exodus 6:6, in which God gives the law to Moses, “Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment.” The antiphon helps us to see Moses as a prefigurement of Christ, who comes to deliver his people from the bondage of slavery to sin and death.

Let us pray:

Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that we, who are weighed down from of old
by slavery beneath the yoke of sin,
may be set free by the newness
of the long-awaited Nativity
of your Only Begotten Son.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.1

(1) See: Roman Missal, Collect December 18.