18 December 2009

O Lord and Leader!

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 Lord, and Leader of the house of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the red fire of flame and gave him the law on Sinai: Come and redeem us with outstretched arm.

This antiphon refers to two accounts, in the book of Exodus, where God reveals Himself to Moses. The second encounter, when God gave the Law to Moses, is a very poignant encounter. The old covenant is ratified and the exchange between God and man is filled with imagery of fire and light. The fire which the Israelites saw atop the mountain was but an indication of the light that was to come in Christ.

The second part of the antiphon, "come and redeem us with outstretched arm," is an echo of Yahweh's promise to Moses that "I will free you from the burdens which the Egyptians lay on you. I will release you from slavery to them, and with my arm outstretched and my strokes of power I will deliver you" (Ex 6:6). The promise made to the people of Israel in the Old Testament is seen in its fullness when it is considered in light of Christ's redemptive death. As the people of Israel awaited freedom from their captors, so the Church awaits the birth of the Messiah.

What are some of the ways in which we can be held captive today? When we lose focus and replace Christ as the center of our work, our family, our ministry, etc., we are at risk of becoming a prisoner. Even something which is very good in itself, can cause us to lose focus. We can become so involved in one aspect of our life that it affects our relationships, our families, our ability to maintain balance and moderation, etc. Even a "good work" can be dangerous to our freedom if we do not keep Christ at the center all that we do. Whether we are students or teachers, parents or children, caregivers, social workers or soldiers ... we are free as long as we keep Christ at the center of all our actions.

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