Acts 1:15-17, 20-26
In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, “Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus— for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” “For it is written in the book of Psalms,
‘Let his homestead become desolate,
and let there be no one to live in it’; and
‘Let another take his position of overseer.’
So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.” So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.
Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord;
praise the name of the Lord.
Blessed be the name of the Lord
from this time on and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to its setting
the name of the Lord is to be praised.
The Lord is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God,
who is seated on high,
who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust,
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people.
Jesus said to his disciples:
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
When we think of St. Matthias, we think of Judas, the one who betrayed Jesus and had to be replaced. It is terrifying to think of being a Judas who could fall from such a place of friendship with the Lord. We can be so shocked to hear about a scandal involving a minister or religious person and society tends to judge them very harshly. But it is important to recognize that people do fall from grace and it can happen to anybody. We need to always be humble and seek the strength of the Lord.
Matthias was chosen after the disciples prayed and petitioned God to read his heart. He was the right man for the job, yet it is easy to imagine the disciples, after being scandalized by Judas’ betrayal, might have looked at him a little closer, or been a bit suspicious not wanting to be fooled again. Judas’ example would have been humbling for them all. They would be on their guard against the direction he had taken.
How do we know when we are following the Lord or in the flesh? Well, the Gospel tells us to obey the commandments, something that Judas failed to do when he stole money and hid the fact, which compounded it with lying. Next, it tells us to surrender our lives in sacrifice. We do not ask for things for our own wants and selfish desires. We want to serve the Lord and do what is pleasing to him so whatever we ask in his name, we receive.
Though the commandments of God are viewed by the whole of worldly society as an old-fashioned and out-dated list for nerds, they are meant to keep us safe. They will help keep us from falling and keep us from losing the fruits of our labors.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to love your commandments and know that in them I can find life and security. Help me to love myself enough to obey your word and to find courage to live a life of service in your name. May your Spirit live in me, in my heart and in my thoughts so that my actions will be righteous all the days of my life. Amen