SAINT MATTHIAS (?-c.80), Apostle and martyr – Patron saint of carpenters, tailors and reformed alcoholics
Today, the universal Church celebrates the Feastday of Saint Matthias, Apostle, whose name means “gift of God”.
Matthias was the disciple chosen to replace Judas Iscariot, who betrayed our Lord, to bring the number of Apostles back up to twelve. We can also assume, from what we read in the Acts of the Apostles, that he was also one of the seventy-two disciples that Jesus sent out to preach the good news.
According to Saint Peter, as recorded in the Acts, Matthias was with the Lord since His baptism by John, and was “a witness to Christ’s Resurrection” along with remaining with Jesus until His Ascension.
They nominated two men: Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias. “Then they prayed, ‘You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.’ Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1:24-26).
Unfortunately, Matthias is not mentioned by name anywhere else in the New Testament. And all further information concerning the life and death of Matthias is vague and contradictory.
According to various traditions, Matthias preached in Cappadocia, Jerusalem, the shores of the Caspian Sea (modern day Georgia) and Ethiopia. He is said to have met his death by crucifixion in Colchis or by stoning in Jerusalem.
In spite of the inconsistencies regarding any historical data upon the later life and death of Saint Matthias, Clement of Alexandria records in his writings (Stromata, Book III, Section 4) a statement which is attributed to this new Apostle, “We must combat our flesh, set no value upon it, and concede to it nothing that can flatter it, but rather increase the growth of our soul by faith and knowledge.”
If this is truly the expression of Saint Matthias given more than nineteen hundred years ago, how truly pertinent is his teaching, contained in these few words, for each of us in the cultural climate in which we find ourselves living in these current times!
Please see today’s Meditation for the Day for more on the life of discipleship to which each of us is called in today’s world.
We commemorate the Feastday of this faithful disciple, Saint Matthias, on May 14.
(From catholicnewsagency.com, americancatholic.org, catholicculture.org and newadvent.org)
(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Proper for Saint Matthias, Apostle)
“Father, You called Saint Matthias to share in the mission of the Apostles. By the help of his prayers, may we receive with joy the Love You share with us and be counted among those You have chosen.
“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”