O Adonai, and Leader of the House of Israel, who appearedst in the bush to Moses in a flame of fire,
and gavest him the Law in Sinai: come and deliver us with an outstretched arm.
Divine Worship: The Missal
‘The Lord made himself known to Moses by telling him his name. For a Semite, to tell another your name is to give him power over you. It is clear, of course, that the God of Israel cannot hand himself over to the power of men like a pagan god whose devotees invoke him with the idea that they can coerce him by magical practices and will therefore be heard. But the name “Yahweh” will always remind Israel of the great deeds God has done for her deliverance.
This antiphon puts us in the context of the paschal mystery, since the coming of the Son is directly related to his redemptive mission.
The last part of the antiphon contains a profound thought to which we rarely attend. The words “come… [and deliver us]” express, of course, the purpose of the incarnation and are a short statement of the theology of the incarnation that was current at the end of the sixth century. The rest of the words, however, namely [“an outstretched arm”], say something more, at least if we translate the Latin words literally: “come to redeem us with outstretched arm.” The phrase “with outstretched arm” is scriptural and occurs, for example in Exodus 6.6. The Hebrew root… means “to sow, to pour out or spread, to make fruitful.”
… He who is to come is the “shoot from the stump of Jesse” (Is. 11.1); he is the Messiah; he is also the one who comes in order to restore life to his people; he is power, support, and help. We must, of course, avoid pushing these juxtapositions too far, but it is at least worth noting that several times in his work Against the Heresies St Irenaeus uses the expression: “He stretched out his hand when he suffered [his Passion]”. This phrasing is rarely found elsewhere, but it does occur in the Eucharistic Prayer in St Hippolytus’s Traditio Apostolica (beginning of the third century): “He stretched out his hands when he suffered in order to deliver from suffering those who believed in him.”
Here, then, we call on Christ, and we expect him to continue his work of redemption in our world until the end of time’.
from The Liturgical Year, 1977, by Adrien Nocent OSB, 1913-1996
Fr Lee Kenyon