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. Jul 2021 .
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Doctrines & Morals

The Feast of St Mathias the Apostle

Acts 1:15-17.20-26, Jn 15:9-17. After Judas abandoned Jesus, the team of Twelve Apostles was reduced to eleven. It was important to revive the full team and fill the vacancy, because the number twelve was very significant. Israel consisted of twelve tribes and the twelve selected by Jesus were the nucleus of the new Israel, the revived people of God that would consist of Jews and non-Jews. Matthias was the one chosen to replace Judas and restore the integrity of the original twelve. Whereas the original twelve were chosen by Jesus, it was up to the Apostles to choose a replacement for Judas. They understood that it would need to be someone who witnessed the public ministry of Jesus from the time of his baptism up to the ascension. Having nominated two suitable people from among the larger body of disciples they prayed asking the Lord to show them which of the two He had chosen. This is an interesting mixture of human judgement and submission to divine guidance. Those early disciples used their judgement and discernment but they also realised that they needed to ask for enlightenment from God.

In our own lives we also need discernment and enlightenment. We have to use our judgment and experience to see what steps to take; and entrust ourselves to the Lord in prayer. What is striking about the selection of Matthias is the method by which the Apostles sought to discover the divine will; they cast lots, a traditional form used by the Jews. Casting lots was well established in the Old Testament: the Promised Land was divided up by lot among the various tribes and families; the choosing of Saul as the king was also determined by lot. Joseph, called Barsabbas-the son of Sabbas-as unknown to us as Matthias, was placed in the first place with the honourable Roman surname Justus – from the Latin, “the righteous, or upright, one.” Matthias stayed with Jesus even when other disciples “turned back and no longer went about with him” (Jn 6:66). He may have heard Jesus say that one of the Twelve would betray Him, but while he persevered, listened and believed, he could not foresee that he would be the one to replace the traitorous Judas.

May the Lord enlighten and guide us through our trials and keep us away from sin! Amen!! Good morning and have a glorious day!!!

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