Reflections on the Lectionary: Mark 6:1-13
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Reflections on the Lectionary: Mark 6:1-13
(July 5, 2009)

This section includes Jesus telling his disciples, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kind, and in his own house.” I see several reasons this is true. What it means to “belong” to a family or a community includes accepting the beliefs and practices of those groups. However, being a prophet requires rejecting certain beliefs or practices and offering new ways of seeing and behaving in the world. Therefore, prophets invariably alienate family and community.
Second, personal histories make it difficult to be regarded as a prophet. In families, long-standing rivalries and resentments can color everything that is said and done. The same holds true in communities – it is hard for people to separate the message from their past interactions with the messenger.
Finally, Jesus’ observation was particularly true of his ministry and his prophetic witness. Family and community are defined by which individuals are “in” and which are “out.” But Jesus sought communities in which everyone was “in,” and he said we should love our neighbors as ourselves. Many people regard the boundaries of family and community as sacred, and they generally see members of the “in” group as more important (and often “superior”) to members of the “out” group. Those who challenge such boundaries are generally ignored or even rejected by family and friends.
Many animal advocates have been frustrated by their inability to “convert” their family to a plant-based diet or to convince family members to refrain from other forms of animal exploitation and abuse. However, our prophetic message is often easier to hear among those who are not members of our families or immediate communities, and we should not let our domestic frustrations discourage us from expressing our prophetic witness to the larger world community. 

Go on to: Reflections on the Lectionary: Amos 7:7-15
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