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Burning Bush

SUNDAY 18TH DECEMBER – O ADONAI

Adonai is the Old Testament’s way of writing the name of God. Via its Greek equivalent, Kyrios, it is best translated into English as Lord. That same title includes the connotation of Israel’s Lawgiver and Leader. Israel’s Lord manifested His presence to Moses on Mount Sinai. Moses perceived the divine presence as something which suggested the likeness of a burning bush. This was a likeness, not a photograph.

In the novena leading to Christmas eve the liturgy uses the title Adonai to address the Son of God within the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in expectation of His nativity: not a photograph, but a real Person.

O Adonai, and Leader of the house of Israel,
who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush,
who gave him the holy law on mount Sinai:
Come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free. 

To address the Infant God in utero as Adonai reminds us that the birth of Jesus of Nazareth is the complete fulfilment of the Old Testament. The God Who became incarnate in Christ is the one Who had revealed Himself to Israel throughout many centuries in shadows and images. Jesus of Nazareth is the true fulfilment of everything that Israel had hoped for in the coming of Messiah: Wisdom, Lawgiver, Root of Jesse, Key of David, Rising Sun, King of the Gentiles, Emmanuel.

Of all the saints and scholars who have pondered the clarity of this fulfilment, is not St Paul the clearest? After St Paul’s conversion, his own theological elucidation of his new faith demonstrates with unambiguous clarity that the Old Testament, rightly understood, points to Christ Jesus and leads to Him. For Paul, conversion to the (then) new religion was the only possible outcome of his God-given clarity.

Are we still clear? Alas not always. Various theological contortionists and a toxic dose of secular political correctness have together muddied the waters.

Such obfuscations might well tempt us to exasperation or even to anger. That temptation must be stoutly resisted. If error provokes us to anger, then the Devil gains a double victory. Our proper and charitable response to the confused and the purblind must always be to offer up prayer and sacrifice for their enlightenment and salvation, and our own.

We must implore the Wisdom from on high to come and set us right. We need a restored theological coherence if we are to fulfil our mandate from Jesus Christ the Son of God: to bring all mankind to the light and joy of His Gospel – the Christian Gospel.

The Christian Gospel.  All mankind.