Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne

20 March -- Lesser Festival -- Missionary -- White

Cuthbert was probably born in the Scottish lowlands around the year 640. At the age of eight a prophetic remark from a playmate turned his mind to sober and godly thoughts, and his upbringing as a shepherd gave him ample time for prayer. One night he saw in the sky a dazzling light and angels carrying a soul up to heaven, and resolved to dedicate his life to God. Some years later Cuthbert came to Melrose Abbey asking to be admitted as a monk. It was from here that he began his missionary work, which he continued from Lindisfarne when he became abbot there. Consecrated bishop in 685 he remained an indefatigable traveller and preacher, walking all over his diocese, and spending time as a hermit on Farne Island in between. After only a year however, he felt his end coming and resigned his office, dying on Farne in the company of a few of his monks.


Almighty God,
who called your servant Cuthbert from following the flock
to follow your Son and to be a shepherd of your people:
in your mercy, grant that we, following his example,
may bring those who are lost home to your fold;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the prophecy of Ezekiel.

Thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.

This is the word of the Lord.         Ezekiel 34. 11-16

Responsorial Psalm

RI myself will search for my sheep
[and I will seek them out].
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures
and leads me beside still waters. R

The Lord revives my soul
and guides me along right pathways
for his own name's sake. R

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I shall fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me. R

You spread a table before me
in the presence of those who trouble me;
you have anointed my head with oil,
and my cup is running over. R

Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in your house,
the house of the Lord for ever. R         Psalm 23

A reading from the Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians.

As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, "At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you." See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!

We are putting no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honour and dishonour, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see -- we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

This is the word of the Lord.         2 Corinthians 6. 1-10

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

Jesus said to his disciples: What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.

This is the gospel of Christ.         Matthew 18. 12-14

Post Communion

Holy Father,
who gathered us here around the table of your Son
to share this meal with the whole household of God:
in that new world where you reveal
   the fullness of your peace,
gather people of every race and language
to share with your servant Cuthbert and all your saints
in the eternal banquet of Jesus Christ our Lord.