May 14, 2020 – Thursday, Fifth Week of Easter
The 13th apostle
Shortly after the ascension of Jesus, the small Christian community (Luke says there were about 120 of them) gathered and decided there should be a replacement for Judas as one of the Twelve. They cast lots, and Matthias was chosen.
The practice of casting lots went back to ancient Jewish tradition. People sometimes turned to their priests to determine God’s will. The priest would cast sacred lots, called the “Urim and Thumminm.” It’s not known exactly what these pieces looked like – they may have been precious stones with some type of characters on them. Magic and superstition were forbidden to Israelites, but casting lots was not considered superstitious.
By using this method to choose Judas’ replacement, the early Christians showed their Jewish roots.
Matthias is never mentioned in the New Testament after his election. Although there are legends, little is known about him.
Today is the feast of St. Matthias.
Philip said to Jesus, Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’” (Jn 14:8-9)
Philip and the other disciples were feeling left behind. Jesus was going to his glory, and they were being left out.
Everyone has experienced that feeling of being “left out.” There are only so many places on a team, and sometimes you don’t make the team. There are only so many places at a dinner party, and sometimes you don’t get invited. It’s hard, especially when people who are close to you get invited. You want to be with them, but you don’t get to go.
Jesus assures them: Do not let your hearts be troubled. Where I am, you also will be.
He will not leave me behind.