On January, eight days after the Holy Nativity of our Lord, we celebrate His Circumcision, one of the Feasts of the Lord, on which—in accordance with Hebrew tradition—He received the name "Jesus": "And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the Child, His name was called Jesus, which was so named of the Angel before He was conceived in the womb" (St. Luke 2:21).
“The Lord of all endures circumcision, and He circumcises man’s sins, for He is good.” This is the meaning of today’s Church feast. The Circumcision was established by God and commanded through Abraham to all the chosen people of the Jews. It was a sign of entering into the Covenant with God, the seal of the promise to be always in Obedience to Him from childhood, to be faithful to Him unto the shedding of blood.
According to the Law of Moses, the law given by the Lord Himself to Abraham, anyone who wanted to be a member of the Israelite nation, the chosen people of God, had to subject himself to a particularly bloody operation. This applied to anyone of the male sex. They were given what was called circumcision. This sign of circumcision remained with them for the rest of their lives. It was a reminder that this man is a member of the Israelite nation. But almost everything that took place in the Old Testament was but a shadow prefiguring the subject that was just about to come.
Saint Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, “belongs not to the Church of Caesarea alone, nor merely to his own time, nor was he of benefit only to his own kinsmen, but rather to all lands and cities worldwide, and to all people he brought and still brings benefit, and for Christians he always was and will be a most salvific teacher.” Thus spoke St Basil’s contemporary, St Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium.
Many things are said and written about the great Cappodocian Father of the 4th century St. Basil the Great of Caesarea. In Basil the Great, we find the consummate theologian, liturgical scholar, ascetic and evangelist of the Faith. Too often, however, one more aspect of Basil is left overlooked and that is Basil as the first great Christian philanthropist.
As a theologian St. Basil is distinguished as a luminous visionary of the dogma of creation. His Hexaemeron, or commentary on the six days of creation, delivered as a series of nine sermons during Lent sometime around 370 AD, has stood the test of time to become the Church’s most authoritative text on the matter.
Before us is an unknown future. Scientists try to ignore the development of events, futurologists describe a distant future, but no one really knows what it will be like, because our Lord is the Lord of history. This historical process is in His hands, and each one of us is a participant.