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St. Matthias

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

Because of the convergence of the weekday and Sunday cycle of readings and the introduction of specific feast days, the Gospel text which appears for today's reading is the same as we heard (at least partially) on Friday of last week, yesterday, and today: St. John's text proclaiming the need to remain or abide in the love of Christ and the Father.

The feast day we celebrate is the election of St. Matthias, one of the disciples of Jesus who is chosen to take the place of Judas Iscariot among the Twelve. The Acts of the Apostles tells us that Matthias had been with Jesus throughout his ministry and had been one of those who had been present when Jesus appears to the apostles and disciples after the resurrection. According to the Scripture, he is chosen by lot. We don't know anything more about the choice than this. The name of Matthias is not mentioned again in the Scripture. Ironically, the name of the man who is not chosen does appear again in the Acts of Apostles.

Being "chosen" has always been an important part of Israel's history. They have long considered themselves the chosen people. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, men and women are chosen for important responsibilities within the community. In the Gospel text which was proclaimed yesterday, Jesus reminded his disciples that it was not they who chose him; rather it was he who chose them. If the notion of being chosen by God for an important responsibility tempts people to think highly of themselves, the history of God's choices should temper that pride. God usually chooses the least likely to succeed in order to highlight the fact that success in any endeavor is brought about by God's power, not ours. As the Eucharistic Preface for Masses celebrating martyrs reminds us, God chooses the weak to make them strong in the face of overwhelming odds. Again, the message comes through loudly and clearly: without God we could do nothing.

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