Feast of the Circumcision

Christ shows us that He obeys the law and came to fulfill it, not to abolish it

The Feast of the Holy Nativity,  the Feast of the Circumcision, and the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple,  are three consecutive events that marked the beginning of Christ’s life and ministry on this earth, and we celebrate those feasts one after the other, just like it happened 2,021 years ago.

According to the law of Moses, “Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised (Genesis 17:10-12).”

As a Jew, Jesus Christ had to be circumcised just like every 8-day-old boy. It is after the ritual of circumcision that the Priest was supposed to give the child a name. Christ was not an exception – he was named Jesus (which means ‘God our Saviour’). In the Gospel of St Luke, Archangel Gabriel declared to the Holy Virgin, “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus (Luke 1:31).”

We live in the New Testament, which was established by Christ. This means that we do not need to follow the Old Testament laws and rituals, as we Christians live in the New Testament. Since Jesus made the ultimate Sacrifice on the cross, we do not practice sacrifice now, even though it was required before Christ was born.

In submitting Himself to being circumcised, Christ shows us that He obeys the law and came to fulfill it, not to abolish it (Matthew 5:17). As well, God shows to us that Jesus is in fact fully God and fully human, so He has to be circumcised just like every other human being.

We Orthodox Christians see the ritual of Circumcision was the Old Testament way of being baptized, because circumcision was the sign of the covenant between God and His people and required a sacrifice of flesh. Now, Christians are born anew of water and Spirit. God’s Sacrifice canceled the sacrifice of flesh, which is why we do not practice it anymore.

The Lord’s Circumcision reminds us that we have entered into a New Covenant with God. As it is stated in the New Testament, “In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ (Colossians 2:11).”

With love and blessings,
Abbot Tryphon

Thursday January 14, 2021 / January 1, 2021
32nd Week after Pentecost. Tone six.
Fast-free
The Circumcision of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
St. Basil the Great, archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia (379).
New Hieromartyr Jeremiah (1918).
New Hieromartyrs Platon, bishop of Revel, Estonia and Priests Michael and Nicholas (1919).
New Hieromartyrs Alexander archbishop of Samara and with him John, Alexander, John, Alexander, Trophime, Viacheslav, Basil and James priests (1938).
St. Athanasius of Poltava, wonderworker (1801).
Martyr Basil of Ancyra (ca. 362).
St. Emelia, mother of Sts. Macrina, Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa (375).
St. Gregory, bishop of Nazianzus (374) and father of St. Gregory the Theologian.
Martyr Theodotos.
Venerable Theodosius of Tryglia, abbot.
St. Fulgentius, bishop of Ruspe in North Africa (533) (North Africa).
New Martyr Peter of the Peloponnesus (1776) (Greek).
St. Eugendus, abbot of Condatin the Jura Mountains (510).
St. Clarus of Vienne (ca. 660) (Gaul).
St. Fanchea of Killeany (ca. 520) (Celtic & British).

The Scripture Readings

John 10:9-16

9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a[a]hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

Colossians 2:8-12

8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

Not Legalism but Christ

11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

Luke 2:20-21

20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Circumcision of Jesus

21 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 2:40-52

40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

The Boy Jesus Amazes the Scholars

41 His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. 43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; 44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. 46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. 48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”

49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” 50 But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.

Jesus Advances in Wisdom and Favor

51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was [c]subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Hebrews 7:26-28

26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, [a]harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.

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Footnotes

Hebrews 7:26 innocent

Hebrews 8:1-2
New King James Version

The New Priestly Service

8 Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a Minister of the [a]sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.

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Footnotes

Hebrews 8:2 Lit. holies

Luke 6:17-23
New King James Version

Jesus Heals a Great Multitude

17 And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, 18 as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. 19 And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.

The Beatitudes

20 Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said:

“Blessed are you poor,
For yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
For you shall be filled.[a]
Blessed are you who weep now,
For you shall laugh.
22 Blessed are you when men hate you,
And when they exclude you,
And revile you, and cast out your name as evil,
For the Son of Man’s sake.
23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
For indeed your reward is great in heaven,
For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.

Abbot Tryphon

About Abbot Tryphon

The Very. Rev. Abbot Tryphon is Igumen of All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Washington. Situated in the heart of a beautiful forest, surrounded by the Salish Sea, the monastery is reached by ferry from either Seattle, or Tacoma, Washington.

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