Eucharistic Readings for Saint Matthias; February 24
“Then they prayed and said, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.’ And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.” (Acts 1: 24 to 26)
I ponder much about this Gospel account and our Church response to it. First of all The Gospel gives us twelve Apostles, perhaps only to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. However, in recorded calling from scripture we only have Jesus to invite maybe seven to be Apostles: Simon and Andrew (Matthew 4:18 – 20); John and James (Matthew 4: 21 – 22); Matthew (AKA Levi) (Matthew 9:9); Philip (John 1:43); and Nathaniel (John 1: 50 – 51). There is also one who rejected Jesus’ call: the Rich young man: Mark 10:21 -22. Too bad, we could have had his name as an apostle. To all those who accepted his invitation to “follow me,” we have these five or seven depending on how we interpret the translation.
So Matthias (among others) were added to the eleven to make it twelve, even though twelve was assumed. But even in the selection of Matthias it might have been a premature move on the part of Peter. God will select Paul later to be an Apostle. Perhaps it is God’s will that Paul fills the vacant spot.
I like to ponder these things because no one, not even the original Apostles knew the actual mind of God. And even among the apostles, Simon Peter, John and James seem to be the chosen three who went with Jesus in the deepest sense of his work: the healing of Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:51), the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1): and his passion prayer on the night he was arrested (Matthew 26:37). Maybe we should not get too caught up in the numbers game. The calling of Matthias was more the Church calling than Jesus calling although we fully recognize Matthias as a full disciple of Christ as we who are believers should be. To be a disciple is to be a student of Christ. Like faithful Mathias, we too don’t have to have a detailed history of teachings and miracles. We just need to follow Christ and do what He tells us.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John