(Colossians 2:6-15; Luke 6:12-19)
The Coptic Christians in Egypt are said to be tattooed in childhood with the sign of the cross. The mark not only brands them for Christ among the Muslim majority, it also reminds them of their salvation.
The reading from the Letter to the Colossians today charts the dimensions of that salvation. Our selfish desires are buried through our participation in the cross by means of Baptism. Its power also raises us up to live in the world as free men and women attracting others to Christ. Any debt that we owed because of past sins the cross of Jesus pays in full through the blood of the cross. Finally, it subdues the powers of evil that might allure us from the path of righteousness.
We may not want to be tattooed, but we are wise to keep an image of the cross before us. Could anyone claim that a Christian who lays a crucifix on her desk at work is imposing her religion on others? Could not a cross or crucifix be found to accommodate any decor or style of household furnishings? Of course, the concern of somehow offending others or even good taste is hardly what keeps us from retaining a cross before us. The real issue is whether or not we want to be dominated by the one we call “Lord” who hung upon the cross.