On the 7th Sunday of Easter, the First Reading sets us in the midst of Peter and about one hundred and twenty other persons. But while the number of disciples had swelled, we are aware that the number of apostles continued to stand at eleven. With the betrayal of Judas still vividly upon their minds, the head of the Apostles stood and spoke:
My brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand through the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who was the guide for the arrested Jesus. He was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry. For it is written in the Book of Psalms: May another take his office.
After prayer, we are told that Judas called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias emerged as the “final” contestants. With lots having been drawn, Matthias finished first. As such, he would occupy the twelfth spot that had once belonged to Judas Iscariot.
In reading this passage, I have often remarked at how different Matthias’ ascendancy was in comparison to some of the more common ascendancies of our time. Today, singers, rappers, sports figures, and billionaires occupy the media spotlight. They do so because our culture has “lifted” them up to notoriety by way of changing opinion and tastes. Once there, we download their Apps and “follow them” on Twitter or Facebook. And when we tire of them?
Dear, please remove that App from my device—and by the way, I won’t be following that has-been any longer.
With God, however, once we are chosen, we are truly Chosen! Before Matthias was elected, we note that the Apostles prayed for His guidance:
You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.
When was the last time you heard the judges on American Idol pray for such resolution?
In our life journey, it is good to ask where we fall on the spectrum; and, in particular, to what do we ascend? Do we live our lives in such a random way as to be swept up by every cultural shift? Or are we constantly in tune to the will of God in our lives, asking His guidance at every step? If it is the latter, like Matthias, we might be surprised at where He will lead us.