Today marks the beginning of a New Year. Many people are using this day to turn over a new leaf, by losing some of that extra weight that they have gained over the last couple of months, quitting a filthy habit, or a slew of other ways to improve their quality of life. It is admirable for people to begin anew and try to get rid of the things in their life that do not help them to grow into better people. People are always looking for a fresh start.
As Catholics, we begin this year as we have for the last 46 years, by celebrating the Solemnity Feast of Mary, the Mother of God, but it wasn’t always so. Before this current feast, we would celebrate the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus. But, I have to wonder why we no longer celebrate Jesus’ circumcision.
I know, people don’t want to think of Jesus that way, it’s gross. But instead of putting ourselves in a position in which we are not open to Church teaching and thank God that we are no longer celebrating this older feast, I think it’s important that we look into why we celebrated it in the first place.
In Jewish law, baby boys were circumcised on the 8th day of their birth. Notice it is the 8th day of their birth, not eight days later. Jesus, being born on Christmas, would count as day one. January 1, even though it is only seven days later, qualifies as the 8th day. It is similar to how the 1st day of Christmas is Christmas itself; we are currently on the 8th day of Christmas. Mary would eventually have also presented herself to the temple regardless of the sex of her child because, in Judaism, women are considered “unclean” after they gave birth.
Mary, being a faithful and devout Jewish girl, along with her husband Joseph, would have brought Jesus to the temple to have him circumcised. In fact, we read this in the Gospel of Luke:
And they came with haste; and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. And seeing, they understood of the word that had been spoken to them concerning this child. And all that heard, wondered; and at those things that were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God, for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. And after eight days were accomplished, that the child should be circumcised, his name was called JESUS, which was called by the angel, before he was conceived in the womb. And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord: As it is written in the law of the Lord: Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord: And to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. Luke 2:16-24
I have a suspicion as to why the feast of Jesus’ Circumcision was removed from the calendar and replaced with the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. As has been evidenced in other books and blog posts, many enemies within the Church took advantage of the Second Vatican Council, as well as Pope St. John XXIII, and abused the opportunity to damage the faith. These Modernists removed and replaced many feasts from the calendar.
As Catholics, we learn a lot about our faith through the Liturgy, at least, that is how Catholics learned for many years. The removal of the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus, I believe, was done intentionally to undermine Jesus’ obeying of the valid Jewish law that God enacted before He walked this Earth. By removing this feast, it allowed for the question as to whether or not Jesus was circumcised, regardless to what the Gospel of Luke says. The removal of this feast set the stage for all enemies of the faith to begin to question everything Jesus and the Church have done.
If Jesus wasn’t circumcised, then that means that Jesus didn’t follow the laws of Judaism. If Jesus didn’t follow the laws of Judaism, then that means that laws can be ignored. If laws can be ignored, then the laws of Jesus and the Catholic Church can be ignored.
The logic above sets the stage for those who dislike the Church to brandish those who love the laws of the Church and Jesus Christ, as “Pharisees“. After all, Jesus did not like the Pharisees and rebuked them throughout the Gospels. Though, the Pharisees were not those who obeyed the Jewish law to the tee, but rather, those who would enact new laws not rooted in Judaic law, and instead prevented the people from reaching God, all while not observing these laws themselves.
While I love and adore Mary, as I have written throughout this blog, I firmly believe that this replacement feast to honor Mary was established to snuff out the authority of Jesus Christ. After all, what better cover to hinder Jesus’ authority than by praising Mary? No one would dare question a feast of Mary, as Catholics love her so much. While we can still venerate Mary on this feast day, I suggest we also venerate Our Lord Jesus Christ, as this day marks the anniversary of the first time in which He shed His blood.