Liturgical Colour : Red
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great Feast of St. Matthias the Apostle, one of the Twelve Apostles of Our Lord, one of those great servants whom God had called and chosen to be His followers and to be the chief ones among His disciples. St. Matthias and his examples, his dedication to the Lord together with that of the other Apostles and disciples of the Lord, should be our source of inspiration in how we live our lives with faith, and in inspiring us all to proclaim the truth of God in the same manner to our fellow brothers and sisters.
St. Matthias was not originally one of the Twelve Apostles, but he was chosen by all the assembled Apostles and disciples to replace the betrayer Judas Iscariot, who had betrayed the Lord and sold Him off to the chief priests, which led to His Passion, suffering and death. Judas Iscariot was one of the chosen twelve disciples of the Lord, and his death as he decided to take his own life marked an empty spot among the Twelve. As mentioned in our first reading today, the Apostles and the other disciples led by St. Peter the Apostle decided to choose from among those who had been with the Lord since the beginning, to be the one to replace Judas Iscariot.
St. Matthias was chosen after prayer and deliberation by the disciples, and he became one of the Twelve Apostles. According to Apostolic traditions, St. Matthias was indeed among the first disciples of the Lord, who had followed Him right from the beginning of His ministry that began with the Lord’s baptism and followed Him through to the end and beyond. And just like the other Apostles, St. Matthias went to many distant places proclaiming the Good News of God, the Gospel of salvation to all whom he encountered. According to traditions, St. Matthias went to the region of Cappadocia in Asia Minor, region of Colchis in Georgia in the Caucasus, and as far as Ethiopia.
St. Matthias dedicated himself for many years to serve the people of God and in calling more and more people to believe in God. St. Matthias gave himself like the other Apostles and disciples of the Lord, spending a lot of time and effort to reach out to those who have not yet known the Lord. He endured persecutions and challenges, trials and sufferings in the midst of his ministry, and yet he remained firmly faithful to the end. Entrusting himself to the Lord and empowered by the Holy Spirit, St. Matthias persevered on in his ministry until he was finally martyred for his faith, which some traditions placed as happening at Sebastopolis in the Caucasus.
As we listened to the Scripture readings today and recalling the courage and faith showed by St. Matthias, all of us are reminded that each and every one of us are also called to the same mission that we share with the Apostles like St. Matthias, with the saints and martyrs, all those who had gone before us and performed many great deeds for the sake of the Lord. The story of St. Matthias should serve as an inspiration to us on how each one of us ought to be faithful in how we all live our lives that we may truly glorify God by our actions and deeds, by our words and interactions with one another.
In today’s Gospel we are reminded of how we can be truly good disciples of the Lord, by following the Lord’s commandment which He has entrusted to us all. He told us to love one another just as He has loved us. The Lord has told His disciples and followers to be His witnesses as He has shown them His love and truth, all that love that He has presented to us. By His love, we are all as His disciples, called to show the same love to our fellow brothers and sisters. We are all called to love one another, and not just loving ourselves only. This is not something easily done, as we tend to be selfish more than selfless, but this is exactly why we need to challenge our ego and selfishness.
That is also why, brothers and sisters in Christ, we have this obligation and calling to be exemplary in how we conduct ourselves as Christians, and we cannot believe in God in one hand, and yet not showing love to our fellow men, our fellow brothers and sisters. If we do so, then we are no better than hypocrites who claim to believe in God and yet, in us, there is no real faith and real commitment to the path that the Lord has shown us. If we truly call ourselves as Christians, as God’s people, then we ought to begin doing what God has called us to do.
Brothers and sisters, let us all hence walk in the footsteps of the Apostles, inspired by the examples of St. Matthias and all the other holy men and women of God, that we too may become the bearers and beacons of God’s light to the people still living in the darkness of this world, in ignorance of God and His truth. May all of us be able to do our best and strive to be courageous and good Christians in all of our actions and works, so that through us and our works, we may endeavour to bring many more souls to the salvation and eternal life in God. St. Matthias, Holy Apostle of Our Lord, pray for us all sinners. Amen.