Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Saint Matthias

Saint Matthias
One hundred and twenty people were gathered for prayer and reflection in the upper room, when Peter stood up to propose the way to make the choice for a replacement for Judas, who had betrayed Jesus and hung himself. Peter had one criterion, that, like Andrew, James, John, and himself, the new apostle be someone who had been a disciple from the very beginning, from his baptism by John until the Ascension.
Two men fit this description -- Matthias and Joseph called Barsabbas. They knew that both these men had been with them and with Jesus through his whole ministry. But which one had the heart to become a witness to his resurrection? The apostles knew that only the Lord could know what was in the heart of each. They cast lots in order to discover God's will and Matthias was chosen. He was the twelfth apostle and the group was whole again as they waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Unlike the other 12 who were hand-picked by Jesus, warts and all, Matthias was chosen from among 120 others. So there must have been something special about him - his credentials must have been quite impressive, even though we know so little about him.
That's the first we hear of Matthias in Scripture, and the last. Legends like the Acts of Andrew and Matthias testify to Matthias' enthusiastic embrace of all that being an apostle meant including evangelization, persecution, and death in the service of the Lord.
Clement of Alexandria says that Matthias, like all the other apostles, was not chosen by Jesus for what he already was, but for what Jesus foresaw he would become. He was elected not because he was worthy but because he would become worthy. Jesus chooses all of us in the same way.
Have you ever felt like an afterthought, a latecomer? Or have you ever resented someone new who was added to your group? It is not our prerogative to decide who belongs and who doesn’t belong within our church. God chooses people He deems fit to serve him. The same goes with vocations. We are all called for specific roles, sometimes unknown to us, until we realize our gifts and talents. So let us welcome any newcomers to your parish, work, or family community as someone chosen by God, as the apostles welcomed St Matthias.

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