Matthias the Apostle

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Feast Day: May 14 (Roman Catholic)
Canonized: Pre-Congregation


If you were running for election, what qualifications would you have to offer to voters? Why should they elect you?

The Apostles faced the same questions. After Jesus returned to his Father in heaven, St. Peter spoke to a gathering of about 120 of Jesus’ disciples. He said they needed to elect an Apostle to replace Judas, who had betrayed the Lord.

Peter pointed out two qualifications that were necessary. First, the new Apostle must be someone who had been a follower of Jesus from his Baptism to his Ascension. Second, it had to be someone who had witnessed Christ’s Resurrection. The choice came down to two men: Joseph, who was sometimes called “Joseph the Just,” and Matthias. Both men were qualified, so the disciples drew lots. This means that they made their decision by drawing or pulling a marked piece of straw or cloth from a bundle. Matthias was the winner.

It was important for there to be 12 Apostles because Jesus had called 12 men to this special ministry. The Apostles wanted to show their respect for the Lord’s choice of 12 special followers.

We believe that Matthias immediately joined in the work of the Apostles—spreading the Good News about Jesus’ life, death, and Resurrection and baptizing converts in his name. However, we do not know for certain where he preached or how he died. Tradition tells us that he became a missionary in foreign lands and that, like so many of the other Apostles, he died as martyr for his love of the Lord.

We honor Matthias as a saint and celebrate his feast day on May 14. Matthias was an eyewitness to all that Jesus did. He followed the Lord from the Jordan River, where he was baptized, to Calvary, to the empty tomb, and to the mountain top in Galilee where Jesus was taken up into the heavens. He cast his lot with Jesus from the very beginning. Like Matthias, we can choose to follow Jesus everyday.

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