‘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.
(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)
After the Ascension of Jesus, the disciples return to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit, and Peter proposes that they should replace Judas Iscariot and appoint another twelfth disciple (Acts 1.21-26). The twelve disciples was a significant number, representing the twelve tribes of Israel. After prayer two men are chosen, and finally Matthias is called to replace the disgraced and dead Judas Iscariot. Today we remember him.
Matthias had been with Jesus from the beginning, and he was one of the 70 disciples that Jesus sent out in pairs (Luke 10.1-20). Matthias receives the Holy Spirit at Pentecost along with the other disciples, but then he is not mentioned again in the New Testament. It is believed that he worked in Judaea before moving to modern day Greece, and was then martyred by crucifixion near the Caspian Sea. St Helena, the mother of the Roman emperor supposedly transported his remains to Rome.
We, together with St Matthias and the other disciples, have all been called by Jesus to bear fruit - in the way we love our Lord, and each other. Jesus also says that the Father will give us what we ask in his name!
Lord Jesus Christ,
You called Matthias to be Your servant,
to spread the Gospel in Your name,
that they may bear fruit.
May we too answer Your call
to continue Your work in the world
no matter how hard that may be.