Lenten Prayer with St Cuthbert – Day 9

On Boisil’s death, Cuthbert takes over as head of the monastery at Melrose. Bede spends a lot of time describing Cuthbert’s ministry, not just within the cloister, but more significantly, without it. He is driven by genuine compassion to seek out those that no-one else will visit because of their remoteness and poverty. This description of his life is so important to Bede that he repeats this entire chapter, word-for-word, in ‘Ecclesiastical History of the English People’, his most famous and widely read work. It says as much about Bede as it does about Cuthbert.

Jesus continues his sermon on the Mount – wonderful in its colour, its pithy stories and amusing analogies. At one moment, encouraging; the next, scathing. But although they are often binary in their presentation (good/bad, wise/foolish), yet their content is subtle – hearing or listening; observing others or observing self, teaching or learning.

Then we move on to two extraordinary healing stories. The first with the centurion, remarkable because he is the first recorded Gentile to approach Jesus for healing, but also because of the insight he draws from watching Jesus’ ministry – clearly, if someone can heal, they are validated by God, working under his authority. The second at Nain, because Jesus touches an unclean (dead) body, and remains (ritually) clean, uncontaminated by it, bringing the boy back to life. But only the Temple has the power to cleanse. So what does that make Jesus? It is not lost on those who are observing…

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