O Adonai, Ruler of the house of Israel, who gave the Law to Moses on Sinai
come to save us with out-stretched arm, Alleluia.

This is a prayer made from a truly humble and trusting heart, that knows its need of our heavenly Father to save us.

The theme of God’s out stretched arm to help his people is found frequently in Scripture and must surely touch us deeply.  For example in Psalm 97 ‘His right hand and his holy arm have brought salvation’.

There is something so comforting in arms outstretched towards us, we feel needed and loved and this gives us an inner security.  One often sees a loving mother or father stretch out their arms to save their child from some danger or simply to swoop the child up in a loving hug.

When returning home after a long absence, it’s a wonderful experience to be met by a loved one with outstretched arms.   It cannot be less so with our heavenly father, he is always and everywhere stretching out his arms to welcome us, no matter how we may have strayed,

We have only to reflect on the parable of the Prodigal son in St. Luke’s Gospel (Ch.15).  Who could fail to be touched, as in our mind’s eye we watch that loving father run with outstretched arms to welcome and embrace his wayward son?  The Gospels are full of occasions where Jesus stretches out his arms and hands to bring healing and salvation by his divine touch.

During this Advent Season as we prepare to celebrate once again, the birth of Christ among us, and as we immerse ourselves in this very special Year of Mercy given to the Church  so magnanimously by Pope Francis ,  we are surely filled anew with wonder at the depth of love and mercy that led our heavenly father, with his outstretched arms to send his only Son as our Redeemer – that Son who some 30 years later, stretched out his arms on the Cross in an immense act of love and mercy, and died for our salvation.

Such unconditional love and mercy means God is summoning us forth with the loudest of calls, stirring up our hidden being, pleading with us to return love for love, mercy for mercy.  ‘I have loved you’ he tells us,  ‘with an everlasting love, therefore I have drawn you to myself’.  This is surely the great desire of Pope Francis, that deep in our hearts we would entrust ourselves one hundred per cent into the loving outstretched arms of God’s unfathomable love and mercy.

O Ruler of the house of Israel, come and save us with outstretched arm.