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Acts of the Apostles 1:15-17, 20-26

One day Peter stood up to speak to the brothers - there were about a hundred and twenty persons in the congregation: “Brothers, the passage of scripture has to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit, speaking through David, foretells the fate of Judas, who offered himself as a guide to the men who arrested Jesus - after having been one of our number and actually sharing this ministry of ours. Now in the Book of Psalms it says:

Let his camp be reduced to ruin,
let there be no one to live in it.

And again:

Let someone else take his office.

“We must therefore choose someone who has been with us the whole time that the Lord Jesus was travelling round with us, someone who was with us right from the time when John was baptising until the day when he was taken up from us - and he can act with us as a witness to his resurrection.”

Having nominated two candidates, Joseph known as Barsabbas, whose surname was Joseph, whose surname was Justus, and Matthias, they prayed, “Lord, you can read everyone’s heart; show us therefore which of these two you have chosen to take over this ministry and apostolate, which Judas abandoned to go to his proper place.” They then drew lots for them, and as the lot fell to Matthias, he was listed as one of the twelve apostles.
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John 15:9-17

Jesus said to his disciples:

“As the Father has loved me,
so I have loved you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments
you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.
I have told you this
so that my own joy may be in you
and your joy be complete.
This is my commandment:
love one another,
as I have loved you.
A man can have no greater love
than to lay down his life for his friends.
You are my friends,
if you do what I command you.
I shall not call you servants any more,
because a servant does not know
his master’s business;
I call you friends,
because I have made known to you
everything I have learnt from my Father.
You did not choose me,
no, I chose you;
and I commissioned you
to go out and to bear fruit,
fruit that will last;
and then the Father will give you
anything you ask him in my name.
What I command you
is to love one another.”

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Real love is always fruitful, because fruitfulness is the nature of love itself. Jesus has commanded us to go out and to bear fruit by loving one another. Is the love we have for others bearing fruit?

Judas Iscariot’s action of betraying Jesus was done in selfishness. Whatever his reason for betraying his master - be it for money as some say, or to coerce Jesus into showing his glory, as others say - Judas acted in selfishness. The result was that he was so tormented by guilt, and that resulted in his death. His action bore no fruit.

St. Matthias, whose feast day we celebrate today, is remembered for preaching the need for mortification of the flesh with regard to all its sensual and irregular desires. Now mortification of the flesh sounds rather masochistic, doesn’t it? It would be masochism indeed if this mortification was done for one’s own benefit or glory. But if this is done for others, then it is not masochism; it’s love. Take the Passion of Christ for example. If Christ had gone through that suffering for his own glory, there would be no glory at all. But he did it for the Father’s glory and for our salvation. He did it in love, and it bore much fruit indeed.

In the first reading, we see two men being chosen to replace Judas. Both were holy men nominated by all the brothers. But only one was chosen. Does that mean that the other, Barsabbas, was not chosen because of some flaw or defect in his character? No. It means that God had other plans for him.

Some 40 young men attended the Vocation Retreat that was held over the weekend. For some, it is a start of their vocation journey; for others, it is part of the process of discernment. Along the way, some may discern a calling to the priesthood. For the rest they may discern that they are not being called to the priesthood. Does it mean that God has rejected them? No. It means that God has other plans for them.

Regardless of our vocation in life, we are all called to the vocation of love. Our proper place in life is one where we will be best able to make full use of the gifts that we have to love others. For some it is in the priesthood or the religious life. For others, it is in the married life, as a husband or wife, as a father or mother. For still others, it is life as a consecrated single, free to love while being completely committed to God and where he calls us to go.

Reflect on your vocation today. If you already know your vocation in life, thank God that you know what it is. Thank Him for calling you to this vocation, and ask for the grace to live it out with as much love as He has given you. Ask that your vocation may prepare you for heaven.

If you don’t know your vocation in life yet, thank God for calling you to love Him first. Ask the Lord, who can read your heart and know your deepest desire, to show you where He is calling you to minister with love as His disciple.
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Prayer:
Dear Lord, we offer to you today all men and women who are sincerely seeking their vocation in life. Lord, you can read our hearts and you know our deepest desire. Show us where you are calling us to serve you and how you are asking us to love you and your people. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: Choosing each of us for a particular role in His plan.

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