SAINT MATTHIAS, Apostles – Feast: 14 May
The Acts of the Apostles is the only reliable source of information about Saint Matthias. From the time of the Lord’s Baptism, Matthias accompanied Him until His ascension. Shortly after the Ascension, Saint Peter spoke to the gathering of the faithful about the need of choosing a worthy person to join the ranks of the Apostles to fill the vacancy left by Judas the traitor. They should be twelve, the symbol of universality and fullness. The eleven Apostles consulted the community made up of 120 persons, and they proposed Joseph called Barsabas and Matthias. The assembly prayed to God to show whom He had chosen, and then cast lots, The lot felt on Matthias and he was numbered with the eleven Apostles (Acts 1:21-26).
The feast of Apostle Matthias is placed in one of the days that separate the Ascension and the Pentecost because his election took place between these two great events.
In the light of Acts 1:21-22, it is clear that Matthias had been one of the disciples of Jesus. Saint Clement of Alexandria, Eusebius and Saint Jerome assure us that Saint Matthias was one of the seventy-two (or seventy) disciples (Luke 10:1-12). According to the Greek source, Saint Matthias brought the Christian faith to Capadocia and was crucified at Colchis. It is said that his body was kept in Jerusalem and Saint Helen later transferred it to Rome.
Today’s feast invites us to reflect on the meaning of the apostolicity of the Church. The Lord chose the Apostles for a specific service, to continue His ministry. The conditions required to be Apostles are explained by Peter; they should be chosen from those who were in the company of Jesus during His public life that began with his baptism, and have met the Risen Lord. The Apostle should be witness of the earthly life and the Resurrection of the Lord. An added but necessary condition is the election: the Apostle must be chosen in view of the mission that Jesus entrusts him. It was therefore not enough to elect just any person, but to recognize the one whom the Lord had chosen. This the assembly did through recourse to prayer for God’s help (Acts 1:24-25).
The number twelve, on the background of the twelve tribes of Israel, signifies the new gathering of the messianic people around the Messiah, the Son of the living God.
Prayer: Lord God, You chose Saint Matthias to complete the number of the twelve apostles. By his prayer, include us among Your chosen ones, since we rejoice to see that the lot marked out for us is Your love. We pray this in the most precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Jakarta, 14 May 2018
A Christian Pilgrim