Thursday, 14 May 2020 : Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of one of the Great Apostles of the Lord, one of the Twelve Apostles, although he was not originally counted as one among the Twelve. This was because St. Matthias the Apostle was chosen by God to replace the traitor, Judas Iscariot, who betrayed the Lord and then unrepentantly killed himself in regret and grief. As a result, in order to complete the number of the Twelve Apostles, St. Matthias, one of the earliest followers of the Lord, was chosen.

St. Matthias then went on to serve the Lord and His Church faithfully, as he went on many missions and travelled to far-off lands, most notably to the land of Ethiopia. He laboured hard to establish the Church and the faith in those places and preached the Good News of the Lord, calling many to conversion and the true faith. And according to the Church tradition and history, the Apostle either died in the city of Sebastopolis in the distant land, or in the city of Jerusalem in his old age, both by martyrdom.

And St. Matthias together with the other Apostles gave their efforts, their works, their dedication and their lives, their whole heart and might to serve God and to follow Him as His disciples, practicing and doing what the Lord Himself had commanded them to do, as described in our Gospel passage today. In that Gospel passage, we heard of the Lord speaking of the true commandments of God, the true meaning of His Law and the true desire of His will. All are centred on the most wonderful love that God has for each and every one of us.

That is why, first and foremost, they all kept their faith in God despite the challenges that they faced, and they were all willing to go the great lengths to serve Him and to carry out His will, all because they knew that God’s love for each and every one of them had been so great, that it was only right that they also loved Him in the same manner, and they loved Him by being faithful and obedient to Him. And out of their love and care for their fellow brothers and sisters, their fellow men, they therefore also reached out to more and more people to bring to them the salvation of God.

And this is also showed through the way they lived their lives, filled with love, compassion and genuine faith for the Lord. The early Christian communities were filled with much love and compassion, where everyone cared for one another, and took care for the other person. Those who had more and were blessed with more than enough shared what they had with those who had less or none, and everyone were well taken care of. This Christian love present within the early Christian communities represent what the Lord has called us all to do with our lives.

Unfortunately, for many of us, we have been swayed and misled by the temptations of life, the many good things and distractions present in our world that we have forgotten or set aside this way of life, and instead we adopt the ways of the world, such that so many among us actually have not been living our lives as faithful Christians. We have allowed greed and desire to cloud our judgments and actions, our pride and hubris to lead us down the path of selfishness and sin.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all called today to discern carefully our lives and what we are to do with them going forward from now. The Lord has called us all to follow Him much as the Apostles had been called. In fact, we are the ones to continue the works of the Apostles, which are still plenty and ongoing. Are we able to walk in the footsteps of St. Matthias and the other Apostles, to dedicate ourselves in the way that they and the other servants of God had devoted themselves?

The Lord has called us and He has blessed us with many gifts, abilities and talents. Are we willing to make good use of them and strive to spend our time and effort, in order to serve the Lord with all of our hearts? It is not easy for us to do so, with all the temptations around us, the pressure and allure to do otherwise, and to conform to the much more common norms and ways of the world. But, if we have faith in God and devote ourselves to Him, then we will find it easier for us to commit to Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all do our best and remind ourselves of God’s commandments, to love Him above all else and then to have the same love for our fellow brothers and sisters, our fellow men. Let us all live our lives as true Christians from now on, and let us all be genuine with our faith and actions, to proclaim God’s love and truth to all the people, not just by words, but also through our action and sincerity. May God bless us all in our every works and endeavours. Amen.

Thursday, 14 May 2020 : Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 15 : 9-17

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you. Remain in My love! You will remain in My love if you keep My commandments, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.”

“I have told you all this, that My own joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete. This is My commandment : Love one another as I have loved you! There is no greater love than this, to give one’s life for one’s friends; and you are My friends, if you do what I command you.”

“I shall not call you servants any more, because servants do not know what their master is about. Instead, I have called you friends, since I have made known to you everything I learnt from My Father. You did not choose Me; it was I Who chose you and sent you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. And everything you ask the Father in My Name, He will give you.”

“This is My command, that you love one another.”

Thursday, 14 May 2020 : Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 112 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

Alleluia! Praise, o servants of YHVH, praise the Name of YHVH! Blessed be the Name of YHVH now and forever!

From eastern lands to the western islands, may the Name of YHVH be praised! YHVH is exalted over the nations; His glory above the heavens.

Who is like YHVH our God, Who sits enthroned on high, but also bends down to see on earth as in heaven?

He lifts up the poor from the dust and the needy from the ash heap. He makes them sit with princes, with rulers of His people.

Thursday, 14 May 2020 : Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Acts 1 : 15-17, 20-26

It was during this time that Peter stood up in the midst of the community – about one hundred and twenty in all – and he said, “Brothers, it was necessary that the Scriptures referring to Judas be fulfilled. The Holy Spirit had spoken through David about the one who would lead the crowd coming to arrest Jesus. He was one of our number and had been called to share our common ministry.”

“In the Book of Psalms it is written : ‘Let his house become deserted and may no one live in it.’ But it is also written : ‘May another take his office.’ Therefore, we must choose someone from among those who were with us during all the time that the Lord Jesus moved about with us, beginning with John’s baptism until the day when Jesus was taken away from us. One of these has to become, with us, a witness to His resurrection.”

Then they proposed two : Joseph, called Barsabbas, also known as Justus, and Matthias. They prayed : “You know, Lord, what is in the hearts of all. Show us, therefore, which of the two You have chosen to replace Judas in this Apostolic ministry which he deserted to go to the place he deserved.”

Then they drew lots between the two and the choice fell on Matthias who was added to the eleven Apostles.