All our knowledge of St. Matthias comes from the Acts of the Apostles, which describes his election as an Apostle (1:15-26). Because of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus and subsequent suicide, our Lord’s original and closest followers — the Apostles — numbered eleven, rather than twelve (though by this time there were many other followers of Christ, and their numbers were constantly growing).
Since the Apostles held the role of elders or leaders in the early Church, St. Peter suggested that a replacement for Judas be selected from among those who had known Jesus during His earthly ministry. Two such disciples were nominated: Joseph (known as Barsabbas) and Matthias. After praying over them, the Apostles chose by lot — and Matthias was thus selected. From that time on he was numbered among the Twelve Apostles.
Apart from this description in Acts, St. Matthias is nowhere else mentioned in the New Testament. However, an ancient tradition plausibly claims that Matthias was one of Jesus’ seventy-two disciples, and another tradition states that he suffered martyrdom in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), along the shore of the Black Sea.
1. Sometimes we may feel we don’t “fit in,” especially when it comes to taking on important responsibilities or working with influential people in the Church or in society. However, if God is calling us to such a role, He will also make it possible for us to achieve it. St. Matthias, though too humble to consider himself equal to the other apostles, was nonetheless able to exercise this office.
2. The Church has the authority to make binding decisions in response to particular issues or questions that may arise. Jesus is nowhere recorded as having told the Apostles to replace Judas; St. Peter and the others themselves decided that this should be done, and the Holy Spirit ratified this decision.
Other Saints We Remember Today
St. Boniface of Tarsus (306), Martyr
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