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Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle

Scriptural Readings: Acts 1:15-17, 20-26; Psalms 113:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8; John 15:9-17

My dear encountered couples:

The apostles had an election. There was an open seat at the table of twelve and it needed filling. Two men were nominated - Joseph and Matthias. The apostles prayed, then drew lots. Not exactly our way of voting, but it served the purpose. What is to be noted, and remembered, is that they prayed. They prayed to God to pick for them the best man for the job.

“O Lord, you read the hearts of men,” they prayed. “Make known to us which of these two you choose for this apostolic ministry, replacing Judas, who deserted the cause and went the way he was destined to go.” The choice fell to Matthias.

The New Testament tells no more about Matthias, but there is no doubt that, as one who had been following Jesus from the beginning, his sense of himself and his purpose matched that address of Jesus in today’s gospel: “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”

Jesus is addressing not just the original Twelve but all disciples, which includes you and me. The mission is simple: bear fruit! And the means: Love one another and continue the mission!

In the midst of our global experience of the COVID-19 virus, I am moved to pray: Gracious God, as we celebrate the feast of St. Matthias, we are thrown off-balance by the current pandemic and cry out for help. Give us the gift of solidarity with all the victims of this disease. And just as Matthias was surprised by the call of Peter and the first 12 members of the church, give us the generosity and courage to respond to his fresh call to follow your Son in the new ways you call us to live the apostolic mission of your renewed People. Teach us to imitate Jesus’ profound trust in you. Help us bear fruit by dying to sin and the fear of death and by leaning on the power and promise of his resurrection.

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