Homily for the Feast of St. Matthias

After Judas betrayed Jesus, the group of twelve Apostles was reduced to eleven. It was important to revive the full team and fill the vacancy because the number twelve was very significant: Israel was made from twelve tribes and the twelve selected by Jesus were the heart of the new Israel, the renewed people of God that would consist of Jews and non-Jews. Matthias was the one chosen to replace Judas and to restore the integrity of the original twelve.

However, it was a continuity mingled with a difference: the original Twelve were chosen by Jesus; now it was up to the apostles to choose a replacement for Judas. How would they go about it? They understood that it would need to be someone who witnessed the public ministry of Jesus from the time of His Baptism up to the Ascension. Having nominated two suitable people from among the larger body of disciples, they prayed, asking the LORD to show them which of the two He had chosen.

This is an interesting mixture of human judgment and submission to divine guidance. Those early disciples used their judgment and discernment, but they also realized that they needed to ask for insight from God.

In our own lives, we also need both. We have to use our judgment and experience to see what steps to take; and equally, we entrust ourselves to the LORD in prayer.+

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