Memory of the apostles

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Feast of Saint Matthias 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 the Church remembers the apostle Matthias. He was elected right after Jesus' ascension 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 in that first community that started walk without the Jesus' visible presence. They felt the responsibility to continue his mission recomposing the totality that Jesus wanted and that Judas' betrayal had wounded. This anxiety to universality - signified by the twelve tribes of Israel - could not be stifled or even suppressed. In Jesus' eyes, all of Isarel and therefore all men and women of every people and land, have the right to receive the proclamation of salvation. The Church has received the vocation to communicate to the ends of the earth. It was necessary to elect the "twelfth" apostle, the place could not stay empty: no people, no nation and no individual person should remain foreign to the love and care of the Church. Certainly, it was not a matter of electing just any person. The criterion for the choice was clear: the one to be elected 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 see the name of the disciples of every age. The care of the community is entrusted to all disciples.