This being the feast of St Matthias allows us to see just how important the 12 apostles were to Christ. They’re the Church’s foundation and any builder knows a foundation has to be solid. If a part of it is damaged a fix is urgent. It’s like a wound that needs attention.
Peter didn’t seek a replacement for the absent Judas so that he had an even number again. Inspired by the Holy Spirit he saw the broken foundation and proceeded to fix it.
Peter’s insight stands out in today’s first reading. He sees in Judas the fulfillment of the Scripture spoken through David concerning Judas, who “…was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry.” Peter then quoted the Psalms, “‘Let his encampment become desolate, and may no one dwell in it.’ And: ‘May another take his office.’” (Acts 1:17).
In their prayer, they ask Jesus to show them whether to choose Barsabbas or Matthias. They didn’t talk about it after praying or wait for the Lord to speak; they immediately acted by casting lots which yielded the call of Matthias.
We need to follow this practical example when we ask the Lord for direction. We can be hesitant to move, waiting for the Lord to show us clearly and decisively what to do. Instead, we need to put one foot forward to start the movement. He will guide the choice of movement showing us the way clearly. That’s his promise.
Matthias fills the gaping hole in the foundation wall of the early church.
Living in the Church’s third millennium can cause us to drift from the foundation’s role. However, we announce every Sunday the foundation’s primacy: “I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church” (Nicene Creed).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church: To believe that the Church is “holy” and “catholic,” and that she is “one” and “apostolic” (as the Nicene Creed adds), is inseparable from belief in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (CCC: 750)
The term “apostolic” means “…the chosen witnesses of the Lord’s Resurrection and so the foundation stones of the Church.” Their mission Jesus entrusted to them will endure to the end of time as he promised, so the apostles appointed successors who are the bishops.
Therefore, the Church teaches that “the bishops have by divine institution taken the place of the apostles as pastors of the Church,” (CCC: 862) which means we have been given a great gift from our Lord. When we listen to them with a docile and loving heart we are listening with docility to Christ himself who shepherd’s us through them.
“The whole Church is apostolic in that she remains… in the communion of faith and life with her origin…” (863)
The Church also teaches that, “The whole Church is apostolic in that she remains… in the communion of faith and life with her origin…” (863) and is called to go out and bear witness to the Good News of the Gospel.
Those of us who are not ordained ministers, the group known as the laity, can lose sight of our vocation in the culture’s relentless dripping of words, attitudes and deeds drained of Christ’s presence.
Our Lord is not absent, though; he wants us in the game, protected under the umbrella of his unfailing love so we can be carriers of Christ’s love to everyone, especially those who oppose us: “‘The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well.’ Indeed, we call an apostolate ‘every activity of the Mystical Body’ that aims ‘to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth.'” (CCC: 863)
First, we need to come away with him a lot and just be with him, especially in the Holy Eucharist. If the bishops can do a little reminding to government officials now and then that their citizens need the Eucharist more than the things in the stores they’re opening, we can get the churches opened sooner so we can receive the strength and love needed to go forth and love those who long for him, unknowingly.
After all the bishops directed by the Holy Spirit shaped the Catechism which states, “But charity, drawn from the Eucharist above all, is always “as it were, the soul of the whole apostolate.”
So, we can still “participate” in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered live across the web and hear Peter, under Christ’s guiding hand, set in motion the task of fixing the foundation crack with the faith, joy and the witness of Matthias.