Lenten Prayer with St Cuthbert – Day 35

“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Teacher, rebuke your disciples”

“I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

Indeed they would. The very fabric of creation shudders at the presence of her creator. This is the most explicit claim Jesus allows to be made of his real identity, hidden for so long . Perhaps he allows it, knowing that it will so upset the religious elite that it will precipitate his arrest and execution. In any case, the king of his parables returns home and weeps over his people. His pain is tangible. The spiritual desensitisation of God’s chosen people happens while still thinking they are God’s chosen people, as they split hairs over the meaning of ‘the law’. So they think its okay to sell Temple money (at a profit) in the Temple to use for buying the animals acceptable for sacrificing in the Temple, exploiting the poor in the process – in the very place where the poor should be safest. No wonder he is angry. But where do the poor and destitute come today?

Cuthbert continues his final rounds of the diocese. He has come down river to the mouth of the Tyne, likely to the monastery at South Shields, just downstream of the Jarrow monastery (where Bede lived when he wrote this Vita). It was probably the previous monks of this monastery for whom Cuthbert prayed as a young lad when they got into trouble floating their logs back down the river, before he entered the religious life (Day 3). Abess Verca, who governed the monastery, also gave Cuthbert the shroud, which he kept, and in which he was wrapped after he died. This story of water into the most exquisite wine is clearly intended to remind us of Jesus’ similar miracle, although not quite on the same scale. Nevertheless, here, as in John’s Gospel, it is also a story of preparation for the forthcoming wedding feast (his death).

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