Feast of St. Matthias, apostle
(Acts 1:15-17.20-26; John 15:9-17)
A mother was concerned about the bad habits developing in her teenage daughter. She saw as the source of the girl’s vices the friends with whom she was associating. So the mother challenged the teenager to give up the friends – a move which was initially resented but in time came to be appreciated. People are not only known by the friends they have but become like them. For this reason we can accept Jesus’ words in today’s gospel with great joy.
From the beginning of the Gospel of John Jesus speaks as the incarnate Son of God. He lives on a completely different, what we might call “higher,” plain than other humans. Because he also has a divine nature, it seems that humans will always remain subservient. However, in the reading today Jesus says to his disciples that they have become his friends; that is, they have somehow been raised to his Godly level so that they may share intimacy with him. It is more wonderful than being born into the aristocracy or being elected to the United States Senate, what is sometimes called “the most exclusive club in the world.”
Just as surely as St. Matthias shared friendship with Jesus, so may we. Of course, it entails keeping his commandment to love both God and neighbor. It also assumes a continual dialogue with Jesus in prayer. We are to listen to his words in the gospel and share with him are own joys and anxieties. As a result we will find ourselves kind and just like him.