Liturgical Colour : Red
Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast of one of the Twelve holy Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is St. Matthias the Apostle, the one who was chosen out of the original disciples of the Lord Jesus who followed Him from the beginning, in order to replace Judas Iscariot, the traitor. St. Matthias was chosen after the Apostles prayed to the Lord asking for His guidance in the decision-making.
Judas Iscariot was called to be an Apostle, but he failed in the process of doing so, as he was unable to resist the temptation of worldly riches and wealth, that he ended up selling off his Lord for just a mere thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave at that time. And not just that, but as mentioned in the Gospels, Judas Iscariot also frequently helped himself to the money which he held, supposedly for the expenses of the Apostles, meaning that he was corrupt in action and mind.
And therefore, as he was unworthy, and refused to be forgiven, by his despair and suicide after having betrayed the Lord, his place among the Twelve Apostles was vacated, and replaced with someone else more deserving and worthy, and God chose St. Matthias to be this replacement. And hence, St. Matthias from then on became a member of the Twelve Apostles, the principal disciples of Christ.
However, we may think that such a position and appointment brought about great honour and glory for the Apostles. Indeed, that was what the Apostles themselves thought, when they were first called by the Lord. They bickered among themselves, wondering who among them was the greatest, and indeed, asking the Lord who would be the one greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And in one occasion, the mother of two of the Twelve, St. James and St. John, came to the Lord Jesus and asked Him to grant her children special favour and position before the Lord. However, the Lord rebuked her and the two Apostles, as well as the other Apostles who were angered by the actions of the two and their mother, because of their pursuit for power, influence and worldly glory.
This then highlights the truth and reality of being Christ’s followers, and foremost of all, His Twelve Apostles, whom He had chosen from among His many disciples to be His closest confidants. They might have come from various backgrounds, from backgrounds some at the time, and even in our present day may consider to be unworthy, as many of them were uneducated and unintelligent, but God chose those whom He deemed to be deserving and worthy.
He empowered them and gave them the strength and courage, through the Holy Spirit He sent to them. He made them to be His great servants, through which many souls have been saved from certain damnation. Many had been called by the Lord through His Apostles, led by the Twelve, including St. Matthias. However, they also encountered great challenges and tribulations. They suffered for the sake of God and His Church, and yet they remained true to their mission.
And the mission which God had given to them has been laid out in today’s Gospel passage, where the Lord spoke to them about the commandment of love. They are told to reflect and imitate the same love that He has with His Father, and this is what He truly wants all of His followers to do, the two important commandments of love, that is loving God and then loving one another, and doing it with all of our ability and strength.
And all of us therefore, as Christians, are called to show the same love in our actions and in how we live our lives. We must first of all, love the Lord our God, and devote ourselves wholeheartedly to Him, regardless of whether things are good or bad for, whether in happy times or difficult and sad times. This may be easier said than done, as many of us can say that we love God, and yet, in our actions, we are always tempted to serve our own desires and wants first, and we relegate God to a secondary importance in our lives.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, St. Matthias and the other Apostles showed great dedication and love for God. They had such great such faith and love for God, that when the situation called for it, they did not hesitate to lay down their lives for Him, when they were persuaded, then coerced, forced and tortured in order to give up their faith and save themselves. They rather chose death instead of life, but betraying their Lord.
And they showed this same love to one another, to each and every members of the Church of God. They showed God’s love through their own loving actions, being genuinely caring and compassionate, towards those who are in need, exhibiting the true meaning behind Christian love and fellowship. Through them many people came to believe in the Lord, as they saw what these faithful servants of God had done in their midst.
Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to do the same with our own lives? Are we able to love the Lord our God, and our fellow brethren in the same way? This is what each and every one of us are challenged as Christians, that we should emulate the examples shown to us by the Apostles. Let us all therefore devote ourselves, wholeheartedly and commit ourselves anew to the Lord. May the Lord be with us all, and through the intercession of St. Matthias and the Apostles, may we draw ever closer to God, each and every day of our lives. Amen.