Feast of St. Matthias


May 14th is the Feast of St.Matthias, chosen by lot to take the place of Judas. He brings the number of apostles back to twelve, symbolic of the twelve tribes of Israel who await the promises of God. The Spirit comes after Matthias is selected in Luke’s account. j

The qualifications for a new apostle seem simple enough. Peter says it should be someone “who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us. He joins us as a witness to his resurrection.”

Two have those qualifications. Joseph called Barsabbas and Matthias.

Then, they pray:
“You, Lord, who know the hearts of all,
show which one of these two you have chosen.”
Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias,
and he was counted with the Eleven Apostles.” (Acts 1,15-17, 20-25)

Yet, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. For Matthias to be a witness to Jesus it wasn’t enough to get all the details right about what Jesus did or said, as a reporter or witness at a trial might do it.

In John’s gospel read for Matthias’ feast, Jesus describes a disciple as one who abides in him, who remains in him– a friend committed to him. So, a disciple cannot be just an on-looker, but one who enters the mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection. He’s one who weathers doubts and uncertainties as the disciples listening to Jesus’ Farewell Discourse did. He’s like Thomas who sees the wounds in the Lord’s hands and side and learns to trust and believe through them.

Rembrandt’s wonderful portrayal of Jesus showing his wounds to Thomas (above) presents Thomas, not as a lonely skeptic, but someone representing all the disciples. All the disciples must come before Jesus’ wounds.

Pope Francis in a homily  spoke of the importance of the wounds of Christ for a disciple of Jesus. We’re on an exodus beyond ourselves, he said, and there are two ways open for us. “one to the wounds of Jesus, the other to the wounds of our brothers and sisters.”

“If we are not able to move out of ourselves and toward our brothers and sisters in need, to the sick, the ignorant, the poor, the exploited – if we are not able to accomplish this exodus from ourselves, and towards those wounds, we shall never learn that freedom, which carries us through that other exodus from ourselves, and toward the wounds of Jesus.”

The wounds of Christ and the wounds of our brothers and sisters– we learn from both to see victory of death and to trust in the passion of Jesus.

Like Matthias, we’re called to be witnesses..

4 thoughts on “Feast of St. Matthias

  1. Gloria

    I read the account of Matthias’ selection earlier this morning. It seemed
    casual, as you said, so I appreciate your comments that added so much
    to those brief vss. from Acts. Thank you, Fr. Victor.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Natalie

    My son took Matthias as his Confirmation name. He was required to write a report about the Apostle. The brave follower of Jesus Christ actually preached to cannibals. A true witness to the faith!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Berta

    To become one of the 12! What a gift! Yet there was Barsabbas. He had been there from the beginning! He had known, eaten, slept, and learned from our Lord Jesus while He was here on this earth. Was Barsabbas disappointed? Did he have any resentments? I don’t think so. I believe he learned from Jesus about love and friendship. I believe he continued working for our Lord. I believe he witnessed to others all he had seen and learned. And I believe that Barsabbas received the Holy Spirit along with the others in the Upper Room that Pentecost day.
    We who have the love of Jesus in our hearts and souls are like Barsabbas. Maybe not one of the chosen, but one that believes and spreads the Word! I may not have been a devout Christian Catholic all my life, but I am now! And I like Barsabbas and all the others touched by the Holy Spirit of God, will witness to others about God’s love! A Love that died for us on that Cross! A Love that was given to us by Jesus when He died on that Cross and made us worthy to be called the adopted children of the Father.
    Thank You, my Triune God! It is through You that I live! Glory and Honor to You, my God forever!!!! I do love You! And I love your children all over the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Liz Forest

    We are each called by the Love of God. Callings are individualized by the One who knows us better than we know ourselves. Thanks be to God.

    Liked by 1 person

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