On the eighth day Christ was circumcised

December 31, 2015
Source: District of the USA

Eight days after Our Lord's birth, Jesus was circumcised according to the law of the Old Covenant, an event that is commemorated on January 1st.

In the Missale Romanum, January 1st is entitled In Octava Nativitatis Domini—or as rendered in English: "the Octave (Eighth) Day of the Nativity." Not only does this day complete the Nativity Octave, but it also commemorates an important event in Christ's infancy, His circumcision, as we read in the Gospel of St. Luke sung during the Mass:

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."

This is also why the octave day is known as the Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord.

We also read in the Gospel account that during Our Lord's circumcision, the name He was given to the Blessed Virgin Mary during the Annunciation, JESUS (meaning, "Yahweh saves") was formally bestowed upon Him. However, the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus is not celebrated until the first Sunday after the Nativity Octave, which this year falls on January 3rd.

To commemorate the Octave Day in the Nativity of Our Lord—which also starts the secular calendar year—we offer some citations from Sacred Scripture about circumcision in the Old Covenant and a poem reflecting on this event in the redemptive life of Our Savior, Jesus Christ.

What does New Year's Day mean for Catholics?>

The Old Covenant of Circumcision in Holy Writ

Again God said to Abraham: And thou therefore shalt keep my covenant, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant which you shall observe, between me and you, and thy seed after thee: All the male kind of you shall be circumcised: And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, that it may be for a sign of the covenant between me and you. An infant of eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations: he that is born in the house, as well as the bought servant shall be circumcised, and whosoever is not of your stock: And my covenant shall be in your flesh for a perpetual covenant. Genesis 17:9-13

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying ...If a woman having received seed shall bear a man child ...on the eighth day the infant shall be circumcised. Leviticus 12:1-3

On the eighth day Christ was circumcised

on the eighth day,[1]
His meek parents
humbly obey
the law of Moses,[2]
the rite of Abraham,[3]
who rejoiced
to see His day,[4]
Infant King
does humbly subject
(He does not object);
for, after all,
He the King of kings
wrote the law,
which He came
not to abolish,
but to fulfill,[5]
He the Fullness,[6]
the Lamb of God,[7]
Son of Righteousness,
Whom the self-righteous
unrighteously did kill,[8]
the Good Shepherd,[9]
Who came
to seek and save
the lost,[10]
would on the eighth day,
His Precious Blood shed,
the price,
the cost,
the recompense
paid in full
for the guilty...
by His Innocence...

Like Abraham,
who in humble obedience,
took his son Isaac
and raised the knife
in order to offer
the sacrifice
to God the Father,[11]
Saint Joseph,
son of David,[12]
Juda’s great King,
wields the knife
to his Divine Offspring;
though, in this case,
his hand
is not stayed,
and so,
the innocent Flesh
of the Word
is flayed;
the first dew drops
of our salvation
do lovingly pour
from the meek,
little Lamb, Who
just eight days before
from the virginal ewe
in the fullness of time,[13]
came into the world,
in coldness of clime;
sweet, little Babe,
Lamb without stain,
sheds His Pure Blood,
for the descendants
of Cain;
He, Who was born
to His own in disdain,[14]
outcast in animals’ stable,
offers His Blood,
despising the pain,
as did His ancestor Abel[15]

And so...
we remember
our Savior’s first wound,
which He did willfully suffer,
just eight days from leaving,
the Immaculate womb
of His most blessed mother;
meek Lamb,
so pure and undefiled,
tiny, sweet Innocent Child,
at the breast still,
for us, He did spill,
His Most Precious Blood...
Fount of our Redemption

And so...
let us
O the pain!
the price,
the cost
of the Lamb,
Who came
to save His lost
who did wander,
so far away...
our transgressions
cast into derision
and utter humiliation
the Son of God,
the Word Made Flesh,
the Virgin’s Pure Babe,
Whose Blood was shed
by Him, the Incarnation,
our innocent Infant King...
in His Circumcision.


1 Luke 2:21.

2 Leviticus 12:3; John 7:22.

3 Genesis 17:10-12.

4 John 8:56.

5 Matthew 5:17.

6 Colossians 1:19.

7 John 1:29, 36.

8 John 11:49-53.

9 John 10:11, 14.

10 Luke 19:10.

11 Genesis 22:1-13.

12 Luke 2:4.

13 Galatians 4:4.

14 John 1:11.

15 Genesis 4:1-10.