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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Memorial of Saint Matthias the Apostle.

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Acts 1, 21-26

'Out of the men who have been with us the whole time that the Lord Jesus was living with us,

from the time when John was baptising until the day when he was taken up from us, one must be appointed to serve with us as a witness to his resurrection.'

Having nominated two candidates, Joseph known as Barsabbas, whose surname was Justus, and Matthias,

they prayed, 'Lord, you can read everyone's heart; show us therefore which of these two you have chosen

to take over this ministry and apostolate, which Judas abandoned to go to his proper place.'

They then drew lots for them, and as the lot fell to Matthias, he was listed as one of the twelve apostles.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If we die with him, we shall live with him,
if with him we endure, with him we shall reign.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Today we remember the apostle Matthias. He was elected to re-establish the number of the twelve apostles that corresponds to the twelve tribes of Israel, that is, to the entire chosen people. In that number, we see a longing for completeness, for the universality of salvation. This vocation to universality could not be stifled or even suppressed. Judas’ betrayal could not block the thrust to universality of the Gospel. This drive cannot be made look pretty, nor, even less, be eliminated. In Jesus’ eyes, all men and women of every people and land have the right to receive the proclamation of salvation that the Church has the duty to communicate to the ends of the earth. This is why it was necessary to elect the “twelfth” apostle: no people, no nation and no individual person are foreign to the love and care of the Church. The Gospel must be proclaimed to all. The universal spirit of Jesus is an integral part of Christian faith. Certainly, it was not a matter of electing just any person. Indeed, a criterion was immediately established: the candidate had to be someone who had lived with Jesus; someone who had heard, seen, touched and followed him. In short, the person had to be a true witness. The tradition, in fact, makes Matthias one of Jesus’ seventy-two disciples. The preface of the Ambrosian liturgy sings: “So that the number of apostles was complete, you turned a unique look of love to Matthias, who was initiated into following and into the mysteries of your Christ. His voice is joined to that of the other eleven witnesses of the Lord and brought to the world the announcement that Jesus of Nazareth had truly risen and that the kingdom of heaven was now opened to humankind.” In Matthias we can discern the name of the disciples of every age. All those who are entrusted with the care of the community are themselves asked to be the first to live the Gospel and to feel the dimension of the universality of salvation. In fact, only the one who hears and puts into practice the Word of God can communicate it to others. The choice of the twelfth apostle suggests to each of us that we receive the Gospel in our heart so as to be a faithful witness of Jesus among humanity, knowing that we are part of a large people, the “Twelve” spread all over the earth. Belonging to a community and a country should not make us forget that God does not save people individually – not even a single group – rather He gathers all of his children in one people that is composed of the believers of all generations and lands.

Memory of the Apostles