Feast of Saint Matthias, apostle
(Acts 1:15-17.20-26; John 15:9-17)
In the entire Bible Matthias is mentioned only in today’s passage from Acts. The man himself evidently did not do anything of unique importance. It is his office as an apostle that makes his selection a primary concern in the Christian community.
Most probably Jesus chose twelve apostles to give his movement continuity with Israel. He recognized in the nation more than divine selection. He saw it holding critical tenets of God’s self-revelation. Israel knew, long before Jesus, that God loves unconditionally. It also knew that God calls each human being to more perfectly reflect the divine image. The role of Jesus’ apostles was to proclaim that God’s love and His promise is fulfilled in Jesus. The community reiterates the continuity by maintaining a body of twelve primary witnesses to Jesus. However, with the death of the original apostles, it did not see the need to name others.
The apostles handed on a system of belief which the Church still preserves. For this reason in part the Church is recognized as apostolic. The belief system unites our local church or diocese with all the others within the Roman Catholic Church. It also unites, at least in the same faith, the Roman Church with Catholic and Orthodox Churches around the world.