O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!
A longer version of this antiphon is as follows:
O Lord 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 an outstretched arm redeem us.
This antiphon seeks to strongly and undisputably connect Jesus with God’s action in the Old Testament. Jesus is clearly the Lord and Ruler of the House of Israel – He is the head of the family. This means it is right and proper to say that Jesus appeared to Moses in the burning bush and on Mt. Sinai when Moses received the 10 Commandments.
I would like to hone in on the call for “an outstretched arm.” This is a very specific Old Testament phrase and is most often linked with the deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt.
- Therefore, say to the Israelites: I am the LORD. I will free you from the burdens of the Egyptians and will deliver you from their slavery. I will redeem you by my outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment (Exodus 6:6).
- Then the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and outstretched arm, with terrifying power, with signs and wonders, and brought us to this place, and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey (Deuteronomy 26:8).
This antiphon emphasizes that Jesus, who in a specific time in history becomes the Paschal Lamb (through the gift of His Body and Blood as instituted at the Last Supper/Passover), not only participated but orchestrated the original Passover. Jesus was active in the Old Testament just as much as He is present in the New Testament.
This is incredible news for us. It reassures us and inspires us to hold fast to not just the promises of the Old Testament but also the promises Jesus makes in the New Testament. Some of the promises of Jesus comfort us – “Amen I say to you today you shall be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43 – said to the Good Thief who repents of his sins). Others are meant to challenge us to commit ourselves more fully to the Gospel – “Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil falsely against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven (Matthew 5:10-12a).
We can trust in Jesus. He has a good track record.
*** Please feel free to share your experience, thoughts and offer support to one another in the comments, on Twitter with the #DailyGraces or on the Facebook page.