More often than not, I completely overlook the Minor Feasts of the Lord and lose sight of their depth or significance. So today I wanted to collect some contemplations regarding the Feast of Circumcision and I hope you find them edifying.
St. Athanasius teaches us that everything our Lord Christ did, He did as an example to us (i.e. He prayed so we can pray like Him, He fasted so we can fast like Him, He rose from the dead so we may be raised with Him, etc). Similarly our Lord was circumcised so we can follow in His footsteps… not necessarily in the literal sense, but through circumcision men separated themselves to God. Its in that sense that we can and must follow in the footsteps of the Lord… we must separate ourselves from carnal desires, lusts, corruption, selfish ambition, slothfulness and consciously be part of God’s Chosen People. As it is written in Jeremiah “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, circumcise your hearts…” (Jeremiah 4:4)
“Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, And take away the foreskins of your hearts, You men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Lest My fury come forth like fire, And burn so that no one can quench it, Because of the evil of your doings.”” [Jeremiah 4:4]
But when we again ask ourselves “Why was our Lord circumcised?” there is a much simpler but more significant answer… The Lord was circumcised so we can call Him by His name. According to Jewish tradition, it is during the ceremony of circumcision (Luke 2:21) that our Lord took His name, Jesus, that wonderful name by which we are comforted (Sunday Theotokia), the name by which all we ask for is granted (John 14:13-14, 15:7), the name by which we are given life (John 20:31), the name by which we are saved (Acts 4:12).
“And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.” [Luke 2:21]
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” [John 14:13-14]
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” [John 15:7]
“but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” [John 20:31]
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” [Acts 4:12]
How blessed are we that we are given this gift? Even the patriarchs were not given this knowledge “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name I was not known to them.” (Exodus 6:3) Today we share in the blessings of Moses the Archprophet to whom God revealed his name in the Burning Bush (Exodus 3:13-15).
I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord I was not known to them. [Exodus 6:3]
“Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’” [Exodus 3:13-15]
I think today would be a great day to concentrate on praying the Jesus Prayer.