FEAST OF SAINT MATTHIAS, APOSTLE
THEME: CHOSEN BY GOD TO CONTINUE WITH THE APOSTOLIC
MINISTRY FEAST OF SAINT MATTHIAS,APOSTLE
REGINA CAELI CATHOLIC CHURCH,
KAREN PARISH – NAIROBI
MAY 14, 2020
FIRST READING: Acts 1:15-17, 20-26
PSALM: Psalms 113:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
GOSPEL READING: John 15:9-17
SERMON BY: FR. RAPHAEL MBENDERA
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of St. Matthias, apostle and martyr. We don’t really know much about Matthias, other than what we have in the first reading of today (from Acts 1:15-17 then 20-26.) We are told that he was one of the 70 disciples of Jesus, and had been with Him from His baptism by John all the way to the Ascension. And we know that Peter, in the days following the Ascension, proposed to the assembled brethren that they choose one of their number to replace Judas, the betrayer of Jesus. Two disciples, Joseph, called Barsabas, and Matthias were selected; lots were drawn; and Matthias joined the ranks of the Apostles. And that’s about all we know for certain about Matthias.
Tradition has it that he preached the Gospel for 30 years in Judea, in Cappadocia in Asia Minor, then in Egypt and Ethiopia. Reportedly he was martyred in 80 A.D. by being stoned to death in Colchis, which is in modern-day Georgia. So, that’s about it. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Matthias’ brief story really has a lot to teach us. Today I wish to reflect with you on two of them: First of all the Feast of St. Matthias is a celebration of the continuation of the apostolic ministry. By honoring St. Matthias we honor the fact that Jesus enabled His first Apostles to pass on the sacred power of their ordination to others as their successors. St. Matthias took the place of Judas. And as the Church continued to grow, there were others who were picked and given the grace to continue the apostolic ministry.
The bishops, the priests, the deacons and all of us Christians are called to continue this apostolic ministry. This apostolic ministry involves in delivering the light of Christ into the world. It involves in loving God and other people selflessly as we hear today in the Gospel. This means being Christ-like in our words, deeds and actions, that is by loving one another, showing mercy and compassion, and caring for all those who are unloved. Today, shall we make a promise to commit ourselves to the apostolic ministry? The second lesson is about the requirements or qualities of apostleship. We are told that the requirement was ‘knowing Jesus’ – Peter lays down the requirement for an apostle: he should have walked with Jesus and a witness of the resurrection.
Personal knowledge is important. Matthias, the apostle/saint of the day, had been “in the company” of Jesus “from the baptism of Jesus until he was taken up.” Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, there are conditions or qualities that must qualify us to become disciples, Christians, leaders, managers or messengers of Jesus Christ and the Church. Hence we must ask ourselves, this pertinent question: Do I exbit qualities for my position as a Christian, member of CWA, CMA, choir?
Do I have the qualities required for it, or do I want it for prestige sake? Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, not only should I spend many years as a Priest, Religious, a member of CWA, CMA or Youth, etc., I am also expected to know Christ and to bear authentic witness to the Risen Christ in any of these capacities. If we do this as Matthias did, then, we can be sure that we are bearing quality fruits that will endure. The gospel therefore reminds us that it is God himself who has chosen us as He chose Matthias for a special task, and as a special gift to the people of God. It therefore means that we are not to embark on the task anyhow, as it pleases us. Rather, according to the stipulations, demands and dictates of the one who chose us.
Matthias was chosen to replace Judas and he did well by bearing good fruits that has endured till this day. Jesus stressed it thus: “You did not choose me; I chose you and commissioned you to go out to bear fruits that will last”. Also Paul in Ephesians 1, 4 reminds us all that: “God chose us in Christ before the creation of the world to be holy and without sin in his presence”. This is the purpose for which God has chosen us and what he expects us to do. He expects us to know Him and to bear witness to his holiness and to be holy ourselves as Mathias whom we celebrate today was.
The ball now lies in our court and we are to ask ourselves, whether I make effort to know Christ and bear witness to Him. Brothers and Sister, let us pray today that God who chose us as he did Matthias, give us courage to walk in the footsteps of His Apostles and saints, that we offer ourselves wholly to be important tools and instruments of God’s love and mercy in this world. Happy feast day to all who have the name Matthias and all institutions named under this great apostle.
God bless you all! Amen.