As a young lad, Cuthbert was a hill shepherd. Like David in the days of King Saul, the Judean hill shepherds in Palestine on the night Jesus was born, and the Transylvanian hill shepherds of today, that meant staying with the sheep at night out on the hills to protect them from lions (in Palestine) and wolves (in Europe). It was dangerous work.
While Cuthbert keeps vigil as the other shepherds sleep, probably in the Lammermuir Hills, he sees a sight that will change his life for ever – angels carrying the soul, as he was later to discover, of the great Aidan, bishop of Holy Island, bringer of Christianity to the northern Saxons.
In the gospel, Jesus, as a young lad, but now in the first year of his Jewish manhood, exercises his new adult independence, and perplexes his parents in the process – three days in the Temple in Jerusalem, a foreshadowing of the three days in the womb of the Earth. Then we move on to “the voice of one crying in the wilderness”, where we, in our Lenten walk, are now metaphorically venturing.