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Circumcision of the Lord

On January 1, coinciding with the observance of the civil New Year, the Church fes- lively observes the Feast of the Circumcision   of the Lord. According to the ritual of the Mosaic Law, the newly-born Child Jesus was   circumcised eight days after His birth, andHe was given the name Jesus. The name Jesus in the English language is derived from the Greek and Latin forms of the name which were ultimately taken from the Aramaic   :

Jeshu and the Hebrew Jehoshuah - the actual name assigned to Him by the Archangel Gabriel before He was conceived.

IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, the ritual of -circumcision had a sacramental character attached to it. It was the first legal observ­ance that was required by God of all the descendants of Abraham. It was actually the sacrament of initiation into the community of Israel - the chosen people of God.

In commemorating the Feast of the Cir­cumcision, the Church sees the newly-born Messiah, Jesus Christ, giving us an example of obedience to the law. He teaches us humility, and He reveals to us His infinite mercy. For, although the Lord Jesus was above the requirements of the Mosaic Law and indeed abrogated its observance through His victory over death, yet He was born under this law and He submitted Himself to it.

In solemnly celebrating this feast, the sentiments of the Byzantine Catholic Church are aptly conveyed through this sticheron taken from the Divine Office of Great Vespers for this Holy Day: The all-good God did not disdain to be circumcised by the circumcision sama-of the flesh, but offered Himself as a Sign and .an Exemplar of salvation to all. For the Maker of the law fulfills its precepts, and the preaching of the prophets concerning Him. Therefore, 0 Lord, Who maintains everything within Your grasp and Who was wrapped in swaddling clothes, glory be to You

Likewise, the sentiments of this feast are aptly brought forth in this sidalen from the Matins: The Maker of all and the Master of the world, Who is on high together with the Father and the Spirit, is circumcised on earth as a Child of eight days. Your works are indeed divine and marvelous! You, 0 Master, were circumcised for our sake, since You are the Fulfillment of the Law.



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