“And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.” (Acts 1:26)
Judas Iscariot was chosen by Jesus but he betrayed Jesus and took his own life. The saying goes that God who made you and without your permission will not save you without your cooperation.
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus says: “You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.” (John 15:16). We have all been chosen; chosen to bear fruits that will last, and to do this, we must love one another.
Nevertheless, if we fail to fulfil the purpose of our election by God, we would be replaced. This is what plays out in the election of St. Matthias whose feast we celebrate today. His election teaches us a crucial lesson: no matter how good you think we are, there would always be someone who can take your place. Avoid pride.
Another lesson we learn from this election is to always consult God in prayer. “And they prayed and said, ‘Lord who knows the hearts of all men, show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from Judas turned aside, to go to his own place” (Acts 1:24-25). They prayed; they were not carried away by mere politics.
The third lesson we learn from the election of Mathias is the importance of building the right relationships. Both Mathias and Joseph Justus were friends to the Apostles. As Peter noted: “So one of the men who has accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us – one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection” (Acts 1:21-22). The kind of friends you keep could determine your future.
According to Wikipedia, St. Matthias planted the faith in Cappadocia and on the coasts of the Caspian Sea, residing chiefly near the port Issus. The Synopsis of Dorotheus contains this tradition: “Matthias preached the Gospel to barbarians and meat-eaters in the interior of Ethiopia, where the sea harbour of Hyssus is, at the mouth of the river Phasis. He died at Sebastopolis, and was buried there, near the Temple of the Sun.” Another tradition maintains that Matthias was stoned in Jerusalem by the Jews, and then beheaded.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, like St. Mathias may I use my gifts and opportunities in life according to your good pleasure. Amen.
Bible Study: Acts 1:15-26, Psalm 113 and John 15:9-17).