Almighty God, who in the place of Judas
chose Matthias to be numbered in the twelve,
preserve your Church from false apostles,
and by the ministry of faithful pastors and teachers
keep us steadfast in your truth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Collect Prayer for St. Matthias' Day, May 14th.
Matthias was the follower of Jesus chosen to restore the number of apostles to 12 after Judas' death. (Acts 1:12-26).
The Apostles were witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus, and were to carry into the world the message that God is uniquely revealed in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. Restoring the number to 12 was important: reflecting a fulfillment of the first covenant through the 12 Tribes of Israel. We remember that the redemption the Church proclaims is inter-woven with God's promise to God's people Israel, the first covenant to bless the world through Abraham and Sarah. In Jesus Christ, that promise is renewed and reaches its crescendo in Christ's passion, death and resurrection. This is the good news that the Apostles and all followers of Jesus are called to carry with them. This new covenant in Jesus Christ, by the power of God's Holy Spirit, is the gift of reconciliation and wholeness to all.
St Matthias was chosen with prayer and discernment in the Holy Spirit, then a literal 'roll of the dice', the casting of lots which fell to him. He then took his place among the Apostles to proclaim life in Jesus Christ until dying a martyr's death in c. 80 CE.
The Feast of St Matthias is celebrated each year on May 14th. This is our parish Patronal Feast, or "Name Day". The scripture sentence for that day reminds us that we, too, by the power of the Holy Spirit in our baptism, are chosen to be disciples in our own time, to seek and serve Christ in all persons, and to proclaim by word and example the good news of God in Christ.
"I chose you and appointed you, says the Lord, that you should go and bear fruit, fruit that will last". - John 15:16
* Icon: Simone Martini, 14th Century Italy (public domain) http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/437678