Acts 1:15-17, 20-26; Ps 113 The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people; John 15:9-17
Today we celebrate the feast of St Matthias, the one who took the place of Judas, yeah that guy. How would you like to be the one who follows in the footsteps of Judas? Ominous yet hopeful, I would say. You could only go up.
"Judas was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry." So Peter mentions to the crowd gathered. Quoting from scripture Peter notes that Judas held an office, "May another take his office."
This in itself points to the fat that the apostles were holding an office, that Jesus had chosen them with their succession in mind. Upon their death then someone would be chosen to take their place and continue their office of guidance and leadership in regards to faith and morals. The leadership of the church does not end with the Apostles death but rather be continued forth in those who would succeed them.
And today we call those who continue the office of the Apostles, bishops. Bishops thus are called to guide us and we are called to let them guide us.
What are the characteristics of these men who are to be chosen for the office: "to have accompanied Jesus and witness to his resurrection."
Even today, Bishops are examined to see if they accompany Jesus and give witness to the resurrection.
But we too are asked to do the same. We too are asked to accompany Jesus and give witness to the resurrection. How do we accompany Jesus daily? How do we give witness to his resurrection on our life?
Then We have the moment of election. Drum roll Please!
Joseph and Matthias are contenders for the office. They are selected by Lot. It was a lottery. No voting. No propaganda. No selling one self. No discussion. Just draw lots and may the Holy Spirit be upon the one who is chosen.
The idea behind the drawing of lots is that no one would have an unfair advantage. It was meant to give power to ordinary people. Isn't that what the Holy Spirit does? He gives power to ordinary people to rise above, to be heed the call of Christ.
Matthias. Apostle and Martyr. He was an ordinary person empowered from above. It is the Holy Spirit that guides us in the path of Christ and not in the path of Judas. What is the path of Judas?
St. Peter tells us that Judas "turned away to go to his own place."
How often is that the temptation we experience in our life that is to go to our own place, to do our own thing, to do it our own way. History is scattered with men and women who have left destruction in their wake because they have sought to not so much follow but rather to lead in their own way.
The whole history of the protestant movement is a movement to remove oneself from any authority other than ones self. When protestants speak about the bible alone, what they are really saying is they want to be their own authority. They want to go their own way to their own place. We experience this with over 30,000 denominations.
But each of us do this in our own little way: daily, weekly, monthly. We need the Holy Spirit more than ever. This is why Pope Francis' remarks this past week are insightful and exhorting.
Yesterday, in his daily homily he spoke about docility to the Holy Spirit:
Come Holy Spirit keep us from going our own way and lead us by the path of Christ and his church that we may be followers first and only then true leaders.
Here we discover the lasting friendship JEsus offers to us, "I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you to go and bear fruit that will remain…"