Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Matthias, a disciple who had followed Jesus from the beginning of his ministry all the way to the Ascension. The Apostles understood their role representing the 12 Tribes of Israel, so when Judas chose “to go to his own place” (Acts 1:25) by betraying Jesus, someone needed to fill the gap. Relying on the Holy Spirit, they added Matthias – who had remained with Jesus in faithful love to the end – to complete the 12 Apostles. In essence, the fidelity of St. Matthias makes up for the betrayal of Judas.
St. Matthias is a vivid illustration of Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel: “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.” Always, the will and action of God come first, and it is our task to respond generously! Matthias was called to preach the Good News. In each of our lives, there is a choosing and a calling. Why? Love. Always, God’s love is first and last, Alpha and Omega, reason and cause and endpoint. We come from Love, we are returning to Love, and Love is supporting and rescuing us every step of the way.
What is this love like? Jesus tells his disciples how much he loves us: just as the Father loves the Son, so the Son loves each of us. It is for us to remain in this love. This is a mystery for us because our human minds cannot penetrate the secret Life of God; it is only by loving truly and fully that we can begin to taste this Life for which – for Whom – we are created. We are chosen and called to respond to the Love of Christ, which is offered to us continually. How do we remain in the love of Christ? He tells us that we abide in his love by keeping his commandments. What is his commandment? To love one another as he loves us.
We all know we are called to love others. But do we reflect on what it means to love as Jesus loves? Again, the next line of today’s Gospel tells us clearly: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” We must be willing to be poured out completely for the good of others, particularly the eternal good of others. Because the only fruit that remains is eternal fruit: helping others find the Way and the Truth and the Life so that their lives are filled with peace and meaning and deep joy, no matter their external circumstances. We are created to be arrows pointing to the Father with our lives, for His glory and the good of others.
So we must work to make it our aim to do God’s work God’s way, God’s will for God’s glory. THEN we will be keeping his commandment, and abiding in His love. Alleluia!
Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including Deacon Rob and seminarian Luke ;-), and two grandchildren. She is a Secular Discalced Carmelite and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 25 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE. Currently, she serves the Church as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio, by publishing and speaking, and by collaborating with the diocesan Office of Catechesis, various parishes, and other ministries to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is https://www.kathryntherese.com/.