“It was not you who chose Me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.” (John 15:16)
Reflections on the readings for the Feast of St. Matthias (May 14, 2022): ACTS 1:15-17,20-26; PS 113:1-2,3-4,5-6,7-8; JN 15:9-17
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
In the Acts of the Apostles we find St. Peter gathered with 120 believers, Apostles and disciples of our Lord. And the first major activity in which the new community of faith engages is the choosing of a new Apostle.
The events described in today’s first reading follow the Ascension of Christ into heaven and precede the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. In the Acts of the Apostles we find St. Peter gathered with 120 believers, Apostles and disciples of our Lord. And the first major activity in which the new community of faith engages is the choosing of a new Apostle. St. Peter leads them in finding someone to take the place of Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus and who has since died. Peter calls for someone who was a witness to Christ from the time of His baptism, throughout the years of His ministry when He preached, healed the suffering, and performed other miracles; then on through His passion, Crucifixion, and Resurrection. St. Mathias was one of two men who were considered appropriate to be candidates for this important task. “Then they prayed, ‘You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.’ Then they gave lots to them, and the lot upon Matthias, and he was counted with the Eleven Apostles” (Acts 1:24-26). It was soon after this that the Apostles, including Mathias, as well as other followers of Christ were together for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
Nothing definite is known about Mathias’ later life, although is generally believed that he preached the message of salvation that Christ offered in the countries that are now Turkey and Georgia. And he is also thought to have martyred there, possibly by crucifixion or beheading. Pope Benedict XVI said about St. Mathias: “To the greatness of his fidelity was later added the divine call to take the place of Judas, almost compensating for his betrayal. We draw from this a final lesson: While there is no lack of unworthy and traitorous Christians in the Church, it is up to each of us to counterbalance the evil done by them with our clear witness to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.” Each of us needs to remember that we are meant to do good and show the mercy of our Lord through our day-to-day lives.
Suggested missionary action: Let us ask St. Matthias to guide us in following Christ in faith, hope, and love wherever He takes us. Let us ask him to dedicate ourselves to whatever mission our Lord has entrusted to us.