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Homily for May 14 – Feast of Saint Matthias

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO

May 14, 2021 – Feast of Saint Matthias

Acts 1:15-17, 20-26, John 15:9-17

Faith is a story that recounts the depths of God’s love for his people. It is the story of the journey of chosen disciples who had walked with Jesus, “beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us” (Acts 1:22). This journey takes us into the mystery of divine love. Having been purchased by the blood of Christ, the individual becomes a member of the Body of Christ. Having been bathed in the spring of life-giving water, we are commissioned to proclaim Christ’s resurrection to all the world. By enduring his passion and death, Christ conquered sin and death. He manifested his victory by rising from the dead. His victory is our hope. To inform people of this great hope, the apostles were transformed from fishermen into fishers of men. They were empowered to announce the good news to all who have been called by Christ and loved by God. The love of God is the ground of being of the Universe, it is the font from which all creation flows.

God, who sought out Adam after he tried to hide his guilt and shame, continues to seek out guilty and shameful people through chosen instruments. The Letter to the Romans examines the process. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10: 14-15). We must never forget that God wants to be known even more than we want to know Him. God wants to save us even more than we want to be saved. Because God’s love is everlasting, He is always watching out for our good, always. Today’s feast reminds us that God is at work, even (especially) at times of darkness and confusion.

The story of Matthias’ selection shows us how God uses a praying, Christ-centered community to continue the building up of the kingdom. Today’s feast reminds us that God desires to penetrate our hearts and to expand them as vessels of love and truth. Listen, again, to the words of Peter’s prayer before casting the lots. “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” (Acts. 1:24). This fragile band of believers knew that prayer could heal the crippled church and compensate for what was lacking in their efforts.

The disciples knew that because they had entered into communion with the Lord, he would never abandon them. They had the assurance that as long as Father was in their heart, and Heaven was in their sight, all would be well. This knowledge changed everything for them. It gave new direction to their lives. By remaining in communion with Christ they would be signs of the love of God who calls all to friendship with him. Like Matthias, we have received our friendship with Jesus by “lot”, that is by “destiny”, not by “chance”, and our vocation is precisely to remain friends of the Lord. May we spread abroad a living witness to the Good News, especially through a life of faith and charity, then we will offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the tribute of lips which give praise to His name.