From the Pastor
May 14, 2017
May 14 is normally the Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle, but the 5th Sunday of Easter takes precedence. Little is known about this 13th Apostle, who took the place of the betraying Judas, who hanged himself. However, the decision and method by which he was chosen to restore the Apostolic College, as it is called, to 12, is a key moment in Church history. His orations recall this lesson and its importance.
Saint Matthias, Apostle – Collect
O God, who assigned Saint Matthias a place
in the college of Apostles, grant us, through his intercession, that, rejoicing at how your love
has been allotted to us, we may merit to be numbered among the elect.
Through our Lord Jesus … and ever. Amen.
CHOOSING NEW BISHOPS.
To prepare for the promised Paraclete, the Advocate, Consoler
Jesus would send – aka the Holy Spirit – Saint Peter
was inspired to restore the number of Apostles to 12. For Jesus said: “Go first to the lost sheep of Israel” [Matthew 10:6]
Saint Peter, recalling this prophecy: “Let another take his place” [Psalm 109:8]
sought ‘nominees’ for Judas’ place. After Pentecost, the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostles to move beyond our Jewish roots; first on ‘the menu’ to go was kosher dietary laws; next they ‘cut out’ circumcision – but before
Pentecost, their goal was replicating the 12 Tribes of Israel
by having the 12 Apostles
for the ‘New Israel’
as the Church is called.
So as Acts of the Apostles 11:12-26 recounts, two men, Joseph called Barsabbas, aka Justus, and Matthias
were ‘nominated;’ then, after prayer, the Apostles
drew lots [a common biblical practice for letting God choose] to select Judas’ replacement. Hence, one of Saint Matthias’
symbols is a pair of dice; he’s the unofficial patron of gamblers. To this day, new Bishops are chosen in a similar way, but Popes do NOT shoot craps!
Briefly, when a new Bishop is needed, all the Bishops
in that area [Diocese or Province], the Pope’s personal representative to that country [the Apostolic Nuncio] and the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops [a committee of about 35 Cardinals and Archbishops
‘nominate’ Priests for the Pope’s consideration. After confidential inquiry from the Faithful, and the candidate’s acceptance, Saint Peter’s
successor, the Pope, appoints new Bishops: a 2,000 year old process!
Saint Matthias, Apostle – Prayer over the Offerings
Receive, O Lord, the offerings of your Church,
reverently presented for the
Feast of Saint Matthias, and through them
strengthen us by the power of your grace.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
A WITNESS OF THE RESURRECTION. The main criteria Saint Peter
used for the new Apostle
was that he had to have been in their company from Christ’s Baptism by Saint John the Baptist
until the Ascension. In time, this criteria was no longer possible, as eyewitnesses began to die off. So a new criteria is now sought: a potential Bishop, by his words and deeds, must ‘give witness’ to the power of Christ’s Resurrection in his own life. Would we ‘fit the bill’ by the way we speak and act?
greatest ‘act of witness’ – after faithfully proclaiming the Gospel and willingly suffering persecution – was his martyrdom. It is assumed he was beheaded around AD 80, and he is usually depicted with the instrument of his death: a sword.
Saint Matthias, Apostle – Prayer after Communion
Never cease, O Lord, we pray, to fill your family with divine gifts, and, through blessed
Matthias’ intercession for us, graciously admit
us to a share in the lot of the Saints in light.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
A HEAVENLY HELPER.
Saint Matthias the Apostle is a patron saint of alcoholics, carpenters, tailors, people who need hope and perseverance as they struggle with any kind of addiction and their caregivers. Pious legend says his main theme was how – only with the help of the Holy Spirit – can we exercise self-control over unhealthy physical desires and experience good health in both body and soul. Saint Matthias, pray for us!
In His holy Name,
Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS