The Octave of the Nativity of Jesus (The Circumcision of Our Lord)

This is the day on which Jesus first shed His Precious Blood. It is the day on which Jesus was given His Holy Name. Mary, the virginal Mother of Jesus, held her Divine Child in her arms while His Precious Blood was being shed for the first time. This was in the rite of circumcision, a required religious observance of the Jews. It was the purpose of Jesus to fulfill perfectly all the requirements of the Old Law until the Old Law was abolished and the New Law established in its place. Because of the sacredness of the body of Jesus, and because he was liturgically allowed to do so as head of the family, Saint Joseph circumcised Mary’s Child in the cave where He was born. Saint Joseph gave Jesus His Holy Name. This he was told to do by the Angel Gabriel. Circumcision was a rite of the Old Law, but by virtue of shedding the blood of the Lamb of God in this rite, Saint Joseph participated in the priesthood of the New Law.

The feast of the Circumcision was a sorrow to Our Lady, but it was a sorrow mingled with joy. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, knew that all true Christians would see, in the circumcision of Jesus, how incarnate God had become when He could shed blood. One month of the year, the month of July, is wholly dedicated to the Precious Blood of Jesus by the Catholic Church. A special remembrance of the Precious Blood of Jesus occurs on three days of the year: on January 1, the day on which the Precious Blood was first shed; on July 1, the permanent feast of the Precious Blood; and on the fifth Friday of Lent, in a movable feast.

See also:

Giovanni Bellini, Circumcision of Christ