Lenten Prayer with St Cuthbert – Day 5

Researching family trees has become a widespread pastime in recent decades, as folk seek to discover the characters behind their ancestral past. We never read Jesus’ family tree in the liturgical calendar – its considered too tedious and of little more than academic interest. Yet two Gospel writers thought it important enough to include the two versions. Today we listen to the names of each of Jesus’ forebears in Luke’s list who have lived, all the way back into the mists of time. Most of them had not a clue that they would ever be remembered, let alone be counted in the lineage of the God-man, the Christ, himself. Perhaps there’s something just in that fact for us.

In our story of Cuthbert, we have Bede feeling the need to explain why some people fast on Fridays – the day of the Crucifixion. And this sets the scene for an extraordinary Eucharistic story with the breaking of the bread. This provides the first of our insights, not just into Cuthbert’s sensitivity to the animal kingdom, but of his understanding that they are co-recipients with us of God’s grace and blessing, and are to be treated with corresponding dignity. Perhaps another lesson we could learn…

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