Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle
We celebrate the feast of St. Matthias. He was to fill the place of Judas Iscariot in the company of the 12 original apostles. Not much information is known about Matthias, and what is told about his later ministry is often contradictory. His selection as an apostle is unique for the early Church in that Matthias is the first successor of an apostle not personally called by Jesus. We are well acquainted with the call narratives of the original 12 apostles in the Gospels; perhaps we are acquainted with the artwork inspired from the accounts. There is a portion of ministry that Judas was meant to do, but was going undone. The Apostles make the determination that they must pray to God for a new person to join them in their evangelization work.
Peter lays out the description for a candidate for the role: a person who was a disciple of Jesus from the beginning, and who could serve as a witness to the resurrection. The word “witness” is striking because in this context it seems to mean someone who could report what they have seen or heard. Someone who testifies from her own experience is the most convincing advocate for the truth of a situation. The Church has no one who can witness in the same manner for which the Apostles and the early Church hoped. Rather, the word “witness” has to take on a new meaning for us who have not seen yet believe in the Resurrection. What could the word “witness” mean for us today?
The Gospel offers us both a definition and a challenge. A witness testifies to the Resurrection both by proclaiming it, and by living with the love Jesus has for all humanity. Jesus’ love frees, empowers, and rejoices in others. When we open ourselves to this love, we provide the strongest witness to the truth of Jesus’ Resurrection in the world. We testify to the Spirit’s continued activity in the spiritual depth and virtuous growth we exhibit in our daily lives. People see the Resurrection alive in us, so that may become witnesses too. This call is the portion of ministry left to all of us who call ourselves Christian.
Do I see myself as a witness to the Resurrection? What would it mean for me to witness to the Resurrection in my daily life?