The Catholic Defender: Luke 2:21 and it's importance! Happy New Year Everyone!
"And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb." The 8th day was 1 January, today celebrated as "New Year's Day".
Pope Paul VI at the Second Vatican Council renamed the Feast celebrated 1 January from “Feast of the Circumcision” to “Mary, Mother of God”, which is relatively recent in our history.
It was at this point that the name given to the Christ Child was Jesus as the Angel Gabriel had commanded:
"In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. Luke 1:26-31
This event begins the changes that the New Testament takes center stage in all human history.
It is also important to St. Luke that Jesus was circumcised according to the Old Testament law:
"When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly." Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, "Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. And I will give to you, and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." And God said to Abraham, "As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your descendants after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. He that is eight days old among you shall be circumcised; every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house, or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring,13 both he that is born in your house and he that is bought with your money, shall be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant." Genesis 17: 1-13
"At a lodging place on the way the LORD met him and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son's foreskin, and touched Moses' feet with it, and said, "Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!" So he let him alone. Then it was that she said, "You are a bridegroom of blood," because of the circumcision." Exodus 4:24-25
"Say to the people of Israel, If a woman conceives, and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days; as at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean.3 And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised." Leviticus 12:2-3
The true Messiah would come out from the shadow of the Old Testament shadows that pointed to the Light of the world:
"Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath. These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ." Colossians 2:16-17
The naming of Jesus and his undergoing the Covenant of circumcision was important identifying who Jesus is. We know that Jesus followed the Law perfectly because He is God the Son. This totally fits in the Christmas narrative as 1 January is the 8th day.
Pope Paul VI really ties the importance of this event with the Virgin Mary. Mary, as "Mother of God" ensured that Jesus would share in the Law, Jesus is the author of it:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:1-5
The Christmas Season is a season of Joy, in this life there will be pain, but because Jesus, who is God, came in the person of Jesus beginning in the Womb of the Virgin Mary, Jesus brings hope for all who seek it.
Here at Deepertruth, we want to wish everyone a happy New Year and that 2017 will continue to usher in this hope that will pierce the darkness.
God, thank you for a new year. May everyone in our family be willing to begin anew with a clean slate. We know that you are always ready to forgive us. Help us to be willing to forgive ourselves and to forgive one another. As we begin a new year, remind us of our truest values and our deepest desires. Help us to live in the goodness that comes from doing what you want us to do. Help us to put aside anxiety about the future and the past, so that we might live in peace with you now, one day at a time.