Friday, May 14, 2010

St. Matthias, One Who Stepped In

Today's Saint is one whom we know about from the first account of Church History, the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 1:15--26). Jesus had chosen 12 men to be his apostles. At the time of the Ascension, they were 11, since Judas had betrayed Jesus and had already died at his own hands. While the Eleven waited and prayed for the coming of the Holy Spirit after the Ascension, they decided to cast lots to see who should replace Judas. Matthias was chosen, since he was one who had been known as a follower of Jesus from the beginning. I look forward to meeting this saintly gentleman when I get to heaven. He is one of those unsung heroes who filled in when there was a need--the Apostolic group was to be 12. The number 12 was very significant to the early Christians. Some scholars think that St. Luke who wrote the Acts of the Apostles saw the Church as a new, reconstituted Israel founded not on twelve tribes, but on the twelve Apostles.
Matthias made the cut. His election fulfilled the requirement for the original group to be twelve. We do not know much else except that he was willing to step in to preach, to pray, and to serve. A tradition tells us that Matthias is the patron saint of tailors, carpenters, and of reformed alcoholics. At the moment I am not aware of exactly why he was chosen to be the patron of these occupations or states of life. What I do know is that as the 12th Apostle, he had the courage and the love for Jesus that was necessary to help plant the Church in the first century of Christianity. May St. Matthias intercede for all of us, so we will be ready to step in wherever the Lord wants to send us, even if it means just unloading a grocery cart for a frail person, or holding the door for a senior citizen

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