Today the Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Matthias. Matthias was chosen to replace Judas as the twelfth apostle. Who was this man and why and how was he chosen to be one of the apostles?
Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men
who accompanied us the whole time
the Lord Jesus came and went among us,
beginning from the baptism of John
until the day on which he was taken up from us,
become with us a witness to his resurrection.”
So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas,
who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.
Then they prayed,
“You, Lord, who know the hearts of all,
show which one of these two you have chosen
to take the place in this apostolic ministry
from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.”
Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias,
and he was counted with the Eleven Apostles.
Why did the eleven apostles feel the need to replace Judas? Two reasons. First, Jesus had selected twelve apostles. Second, the number twelve was of great importance since it represented the twelve tribes of Israel.
What qualified Matthias to be chosen? He had been a disciple of Jesus from the very beginning of his public life, at the baptism by John. He, therefore, had walked with the Lord, understood his teaching, experienced his passion and witnessed the resurrection.
Why was Matthias chosen instead of Barsabbas? The apostles themselves did not believe that they were worthy to select a replacement for Judas. Instead, they cast lots and prayed, knowing that the Lord would make the right decision.
Little is known of what became of Saint Matthias, but tradition suggests that he was filled with zeal for the Lord and taught openly and forcefully. Tradition has it that Saint Matthias was martyred in Ethiopia.
Saint Matthias, pray for us.