14 May – Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle
Matthias (d. 80) was an Apostle. As he could bear witness to the Resurrection of Jesus, he was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. He preached the Gospel for more than 30 years in Judaea, Cappadocia, Egypt, and Ethopia. He is remembered for preaching the need for mortification of the flesh with regard to all its sensual and irregular desires. He was martyred in Colchis in AD 80 by stoning.
- Patron Saint Index
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 had 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 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 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.
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 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.’
You did not choose me: no, I chose you.
As a cradle Catholic, the phrase above strikes a chord with me. Had I not been baptised as a baby, would I still have chosen to be Catholic? Indeed, it was God who had chosen me. Do I take my God-given faith for granted? Admittedly, despite being a Catholic all my life, having attended Catholic schools and catechism as a child, there’s much I still do not know about my faith. Often, I see those who choose to be baptised as an adult, in spite of them being ‘young’ Catholics, knowing a lot more than I do and are stronger in their faith.
Even as I’ve strayed away from God and the church, God has always found a way to call me back in unexpected ways. I am now part of a ministry for returning Catholics — Landings, a community for those who have been distant from the church and are trying to find a way back home. Through journeying with them, I’ve come to understand that no matter how many times we try to run away from God, He will always welcome us back with open arms. Even as we may be diligently attending mass or actively serving in church, there may be times when we feel empty and totally disconnected from God, but we have to remember that God always loves us and He will lead us back to Him, we just need to say ‘Yes’ to His call.
Brothers and sisters, as God’s chosen people, are we doing our part to ‘go out and bear fruit’? “What is my vocation?”, “Am I living out my life with purpose?”, “How am I making a difference to this world?” I struggle with these questions, especially as I am in the midst of discerning a career change. But I believe that if God chose me for it, He will light the way. More importantly, no matter what we do, we have to try and live out the greatest commandment in our daily lives – ‘Love one another, as I have loved you’.
(Today’s Oxygen by Kristel Wang)
Prayer: Dear God, help us to remember in our daily lives that you first loved us, help us to love one another especially in trying moments. Please continue to guide us in seeking your will and answering your call.
Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, we thank you for choosing us as your sons and daughters, and for always loving us.