St. Matthias, the chosen replacement

Today Holy Mother Church celebrates the feast of St. Matthias, the man chosen to take over Judas’ spot as one of the apostles.

We learn that Judas’ spot had to be filled because there had to be twelve apostles. Why? Well, the Holy Spirit had instructed King David that there had to twelve. And Judas had died.

So here, in the Upper Room, Peter shares the qualifications needed of the new apostle: he had to have been a follower of Jesus since his baptism at the Jordan until his ascension. And he had to have witnessed Jesus’ resurrection. Logical enough, because the new apostle needed to be able to spread the news of Christ and His resurrection. Those who saw it were better equipped for such a mission.

And so there were two candidates that met these qualifications: Joseph (known as Barsabbas and Justus), and Matthias.

Fr. Don shared that it’s interesting that they didn’t just put it to a vote. Rather, they drew lots to figure it out, after praying. It’s as if we are trying to figure out the next course of action, and we simply open the Bible to a random page and put our finger down to a random passage.

Two things Fr. Don’s homily today was concerned with:

  1. Most likely, Matthias worried that perhaps he would “mess up” in the same way that Judas had, if not to such a great degree. What a gift that God’s grace works, in spite of the flawed individuals who are the leaders–and members–of his Church on earth. It’s something to celebrate indeed.
  2. The Gospel (Jn 15:9-17) reminds us that Matthias was chosen: “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you.” It must have been interesting for him, and earlier for the other apostles, who thought they had chosen him; after all, there were other groups that were trying to gather followers, and in spite of them, the early Christians chose Jesus. They must have been awfully proud of themselves. But here God tells them that nope, it’s the other way around. The same lesson is true for us.

He is the patron saint of alcoholism and carpenters, and no one knows why.

St. Matthias: Pray for us!