Complying with the Law|
Feast of the Circumcision
Comprehensive Catholic Commentary
Fr. George Leo Haydock
Editor's Note: This special feature, provided by John Gregory with the Haydock Commentary found at the bottom of each page of the Douay-Rheims Bible, With the type so small in most bibles, we publish it here in larger type in conjunction with the Epistle and Gospel for the Sunday Mass provided by John Gregory with the cogent comprehensive Catholic Commentary penned by Father George Leo Haydock on the Douay-Rheims version of the New Testament. The commentary for the Double of the Second Class Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord is very brief, repeating the Epistle of the First Mass on Christmas at midnight and only one verse in the Gospel of St. Luke, but it is in that very commentary that we understand the wisdom of why Our Lady obeyed the Jewish Law and why God allowed it.
Epistle: Titus 2: 11-15
For the grace of God our Savior hath appeared to all men;
Commentary on Verse l1 For the grace of God, our Savior, hath appeared to all men. In the Greek: For the saving grace of God, & c. (Wi.)
Instructing us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly, and justly, and godly in this world,
Commentary on Verse 12 We should live soberly, justly, and piously. Saint Jerome puts (as in other places for the same Greek word) chastely, justly, and piously. The words comprehend man’s duty to himself, to his neighbour, and towards God. (Wi.)
Looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ,
Commentary on Verse 13 Waiting for the blessed hope; for the happiness of the blessed in Heaven, promised and hoped for. – And coming of the glory of the great God, and our Savior Jesus Christ. The title of great God, says Dr. Wells, is here referred to our Savior Jesus Christ, by Clement of Alexandria in protreptico, chapter 6. He might have added, and by the general consent of the Greek and Latin Fathers. Saint Chrysostom cries out: “where are now they who say that the Son is less than the Father?” Saint Jerome in like manner: “where is the serpent Arius? Where is the snake Eunomius?” And that this title of great God is here given to Jesus Christ, may be shewn from the text itself, especially in the Greek; for the glorious coming, and appearance, in other places of Saint Paul, is always used to signify Christ’s coming to judge the world. Secondly, inasmuch as one and the same Greek article falls upon the great God, and our Savior Christ; so that even M. Simon, in a note on these words, says the construction is, and the coming of Jesus Christ, the great God, our Savior, and blames Erasmus and Grotius for pretending that this place is not a confutation of the Arians. (Wi.)
Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and might cleanse to Himself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works.
Commentary on Verse 14 A people, particularly acceptable. Saint Jerome translates an egregious or eminent people. He says in the Septuagint it corresponds to segula, which signifies a man’s proper possessions, which he has purchased or chosen for himself. Budeus says it signifies what is rare and uncommon; and it is well translated by the Protestants, a particular people. (Wi.)
These things speak and exhort: in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Gospel: St. Luke 2: 21
At that time, 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.
Commentary on Verse 1 Should be circumcised; which might be done not only in the temple, or in a synagogue, but in any house. (Witham) – Many reasons may be alleged why our Savior submitted to the painful and humbling knife of circumcision: 1. to manifest to the whole world the reality of His human nature, and the difference between His divinity and humanity: 2. to show He approved of circumcision, which He had instituted; 3. to prove that He was of the seed of Abraham; 4. to teach us humility and obedience, by observing a law to which He was not bound; 5. that by receiving the burthen of the law, He might free those that were under the law, (Galatians 3); and lastly, that the Jews might have no excuse for rejecting Him, because He was uncircumcised. (Saint Epiphanius and Nicholas of Lyra)