Circumcision of Our Lord
And the boy was circumcised.
It is not a frequent subject of our meditations, the mystery of this day, not one which is much spoken of in homilies, or written about in books. And yet, it is part of the mystery of our salvation that the Word Incarnate, eight days after his birth of the Immaculate Virgin, submitted Himself to the humbling ritual which was imposed upon the chosen people in order to efface original sin. He had no sin, and therefore was not required to undergo the law, but just as He will one day bear the sins of the world on the Cross, today He bears them in His infant flesh.
The ritual was a painful one. The Child sheds the first drops of His Precious Blood, and this would have been enough to save us. Mary and Joseph are both aware of who this Child is. They both know how painful it will be to Him and, because of this, to them. But for them, it can only be a matter of embracing the Divine Command. They do not allow their tender feelings to prevail, but they step on their feelings, and obey God. They obey God! How often we allow ourselves to drift into the mentality of hirelings who are happy to work for a wage and do what they are told as long as it doesn’t involve anything unpleasant. They obeyed God. When God commands, there can be no delay. As St Benedict says, between the order given and its execution there should be no delay. Both are promptly accomplished at the same time out of love for God.
On the side of the Child Jesus, let us also consider that, unlike other children, He had the full use of reason, and therefore suffered intensely from the circumcision. He too, however, like Mary and Joseph, will have no compromises when it comes to the Father’s will. Thou hast formed for me a body, O Father, I have come to do Thy Will, and I will accomplish it to the end. For Thy will is my food.
As we embark upon a new year of grace, let us look to the examples given us on this day by the Holy Family. Let us resolve to trample underfoot our feelings, to obey God, to accomplish His most holy will, at whatever cost. May the blood of the Infant God give us the grace to be strong throughout the coming year, so that God may not have reason to be unhappy with us, but may truly pour forth His blessings upon souls dear to Him, who have shown Him by their deeds that they are serious when they say to Him: I love you.