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.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Choosing Judas’ successor was a critical appointment for the Apostles. To make this decision, they “gave lots,” the 1st century equivalent of drawing straws.
I teach motivated seniors some of the basic principles of Ignatian discernment. We use the college application process as an opportunity to put these principles into practice. Students question whether God is calling them to go in-state or far away, urban or rural, Marquette or Notre Dame.
At our March meeting, some students still hadn’t settled on a school, and yet spoke beautifully of their sense that God was leading them into the unknown. Very Ignatian! The Apostles in this reading? Not so much.
Discernment quibbles aside, the Apostles’ confidence in God is inspiring. They knew this selection was not theirs to make, but God’s. At this moment, many of us may be agonizing over a critical decision in our work or family life. As we celebrate this feast of St. Matthias, may we take heart in knowing that God can find a way to do great things through very ordinary people.
—Dan Dixon, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic from the Midwest Province currently working at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland to create the Welsh Academy, a grades 6-8 middle school for families of modest economic means.
Take, Lord, receive
All my liberty, my memory, my understanding,
And my entire will.
As I contemplate this decision, Lord,
Remind me that You go with me everywhere.
Give me only your companionship,
No matter what path I choose.
That is enough for me.
—Adapted from the Suscipe of St. Ignatius of LoyolaPlease share the Good Word with your friends!