“And they prayed and said, ‘Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two thou hast chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside, to go to his own place.’ And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was enrolled with the eleven apostles.” (Acts 1:24-26)
God who made you and chose you without your permission will not save you without your cooperation. In today’s gospel passage, Jesus reminds us that we have been chosen; chosen to keep his commandments, chosen to bear fruits – fruits that will last. If we fail to live up to the expectations of our calling, God will raise up others to bear the expected fruits.
In Matthew 3:9, Jesus warns: “Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘we have Abraham as our ancestor’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.” In other words, the fact that we are descendants of Abraham, Christians or ministers of God is not an automatic qualification for heaven. Even if we fail like Judas Iscariot, we must make efforts to seek God’s forgiveness like Peter did after he denied Jesus. Avoid the sin of despair; never think that there is any sin God cannot forgive.
The election of Saint Mathias whose feast we celebrate today teaches us that no matter how good we are, there would always be someone who can take our place. We have been chosen by God but our election does not mean we have become indispensable. The will of God must be done and the work of God has to continue. If you serve in any capacity in God’s house, avoid pride; be good to people, never think that without you, everything will end.
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 dirty politics.
Again, 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 determine your future. Matthias was elected based on his association with Jesus and the twelve apostles. Be mindful of the company you keep. If you do not associate with those going the same direction with you, you could lose your destined place in life.
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 at 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 1:15-17,20-26, Ps. 113:1-8, John 15:9-17)
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu