St Matthias, Apostle – 14 May
Apostle. As he could bear witness to the Resurrection of Jesus, he was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. Preached the Gospel for more than 30 years in Judea, Cappadocia, Egypt and Ethiopia. Remembered for preaching the need for mortification of the flesh with regard to all its sensual and irregular desires. Martyr.
“In those days, Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples and said…” As the fiery spirit to whom the flock was entrusted by Christ and as the leader in the band of the apostles, Peter always took the initiative in speaking: “My brothers, we must choose from among our number.” He left the decision to the whole body, at once augmenting the honor of those elected and avoiding any suspicion of partiality.
Did not Peter then have the right to make the choice himself? Certainly he had the right, but he did not want to give the appearance of showing special favor to anyone. “And they nominated two,” we read, “Joseph, who was called Barsabbas and surnamed Justus, and Matthias.” He himself did not nominate them; all present did. But it was he who brought the issue forward, pointing out that it was not his own idea but had been suggested to him by a scriptural prophecy.
And they all prayed together, saying: “You, Lord, know the hearts of men; make your choice known to us. You, not we.” Appropriately they said that he knew the hearts of men, because the choice was to be made by him, not by others.
They spoke with such confidence, because someone had to be appointed. They did not say “choose” but “make known to us” the chosen one; “the one you choose,” they said, fully aware that everything was being preordained by God.
from a homily on the Acts of the Apostles by Saint John Chrysostom
Almighty God, who into the place of the traitor Judas chose thy faithful servant Matthias to be of the number of the twelve Apostles; grant that Thy Church, being always preserved from false Apostles, may be ordered and guided by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. – collect from the feast of Saint Matthias