Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle
Scripture Readings: Acts 1:15-17, 20-26; Jn 15:9-17
The vocation of St. Matthias as an apostle is unique. He was not called by Jesus like the other apostles. Instead, he was chosen when the whole assembly cast lots between him and Joseph Barsabbas. Matthias wins, and we never hear of Joseph Barsabbas again. Of course, we never hear of Matthias again, either. Yet, he was elevated to a leadership position with the eleven apostles.
He is like the hundreds of disciples who are never named in the Gospels. Many had followed Christ from the beginning. Some went on to martyrdom during the persecutions of the early Church. Others brought Christianity only to their loved ones and neighbors as they quietly lived out their ordinary lives. They are a reminder that we are like these unnamed followers of Christ—historically insignificant, who are not recorded in history books but whose lives as Christians were more important than anything else they could do. Matthias simply accepted the burden and the honor given to him under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
He must have known that the possibility for suffering would greatly increase by accepting his calling. And that’s what happened when he was beheaded. May we be like these early disciples, called to a hidden greatness by following Christ and accepting what is asked of us no matter what the consequences may be.1
- Helena Romano https://www.catholicapostolatecenter.org/blog/saint-matthias-the-additional-apostle
Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle
[Scripture Readings: Acts 1:15-17, 20-26; Jn. 15: 9-17 ]
When we think of learning most of us probably think in terms of an orderly progression from one concept to another. By and large this is the way our educational system teaches us to think, and it is a valuable and powerful way to learn. Still, it can obscure the fact that it is not the only way we learn. Sometimes we grow in understanding by combining concepts in a non-logical way. We may call in musing, pondering, wondering or even daydreaming. In any case we allow the logic to emerge rather than have it come as the conclusion to a process of linear reasoning. Temperamentally some of us are more disposed to one of the approaches, some to the other. It is not a question of one being better than the other; they are different. Depending on the situation one approach may be more appropriate than the other. In either case learning is seldom complete without the experience of putting our understanding into practice; and in some cases learning is never complete. There is an ongoing movement between thinking and experience.
This morning’s gospel presents concepts that I do not immediately associate with one another. Keeping commandments is not the first thing that comes to mind when I think of love, nor do I immediately associate joy with sacrifice. Reflection on our experience can help. We seek to please those we love, although that seems to come more from a spontaneous feeling than from a command. It is usually only after the experience of sacrificing for someone we love that we learn that sacrifice and joy are not incompatible. In the process we have probably deepened our understanding of joy from being a passing emotion to a more profound, almost intangible sense of the rightness of what we are doing. Love too has passed from a subjective feeling to a deep desire to seek the good of someone other than ourselves.
Jesus calls us to an even deeper understanding of love and joy. He calls us to lay down our lives for one another, or as he says elsewhere in the gospels to take up our cross and follow him. Many have said and still say, “That just doesn’t make sense.” And as long as we try to make it a conclusion to a logical process, it won’t. We need to turn the words of Jesus over and over in our minds, and sooner or later we need to step out in faith and start doing the gospels. Even then our understanding won’t be complete, but we will be headed in the right direction.
We know little about St. Matthias beyond a few verses in the Book of Acts. We know he was chosen to be counted among the friends of Jesus, and to witness to God’s love for the world, a world that often refuses to return his love. Most of us are not called to be evangelists or preachers, but we are all called to be witnesses to God’s love. The words of the evangelists and preachers will make little to no sense to a skeptical world unless men and women can see living examples of their words. You and I are called to be those examples. We are free, but God’s call is not optional. This is Jesus’ command to us.