“I bear the brand marks of Jesus in my body.” –Galatians 6:17
Livestock are branded so that others can tell who owns them. St. Paul bore the brand marks of Jesus on his body, so all could determine that Jesus owned him. Paul’s brand marks were scars and bruises from the beatings, stonings, and other sufferings he endured for Jesus (see Acts 14:19; 16:22ff; 2 Cor 11:23ff). Other saints, like Francis of Assisi and Padre Pio, have borne the stigmata, the wounds of Christ, in their hands and feet.
Could someone tell by looking at your body that you belong to Christ? Here are the brand marks of some Christians I know:
- circles under the eyes denoting lack of sleep in parents who had more children in loving obedience to the Lord,
- extra pounds on a parent who, in selflessly caring for children, couldn’t find time to work out,
- marked loss of weight during Lent from devoted fasting,
- radiant smiles and glowing faces stemming from overflowing joy in being owned by Jesus (cf Ex 34:30),
- eyes which reflect a peace that passes all understanding (Phil 4:7) in the midst of incredible personal suffering,
- shaved hair on the heads of males in two families as a sign of empathy to a loved one suffering from cancer, and
- a permanent, skin-white colored “band” on the wrist of a priest who vowed to wear a thick pro-life bracelet until legalized abortion is overturned in the USA.
Be crucified to the world (Gal 6:14). Be branded for Jesus, and “glorify God in your body” (1 Cor 6:20).
PRAYER: Jesus, receive my body as a living sacrifice (Rm 12:1).
PROMISE: “As a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you.” –Is 66:13
PRAISE: Praise You, Lord, “blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Tm 6:15). Alleluia!