FROM THE DEAN: Reflections on the Eucharist readings by the Very Revd Reginald Leeuw, Feast of St Matthias, 14 May 2020.
The first task that Apostles had to deal with before taking the Gospel to the ends of the world was the scandal of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. This painful act of betrayal I suppose was something that the Apostles needed to face, deal with and put behind in order to continue with the noble task of spreading the gospel of Christ. The betrayal of Judas was not something that could be just left or swept under the carpet, however traumatic it must have been. And when Saint Peter stands to address his fellow believers, he starts first by putting Judas’ betrayal into perspective, as something that the Holy Spirit had long foreseen, but also to acknowledge the pain of this betrayal because Judas had been one of the twelve. But Peter also assures his fellow Apostles that it is time to move on, and time to look amongst themselves for another person who could take the place of Judas.
Saint Peter gives two criteria
- It must be someone who had been “with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time Jesus was taken up from us” (Acts 1:21-22). In other words he should not be young in faith; he must know the Lord and have spent time with him. A wonderful criterion, wouldn’t you say; one that we should remember when we appoint people to ministries in the church.
- He must be a witness to the resurrection of Christ. A lot can be said about being a witness to the resurrection of Christ because this is the corner stone and the pivot of our faith. One that tends to show in the way we live our lives.
Not much is known about Saint Matthias apart from the fact that he was martyred. But today we celebrate him together with many men and women who follow Christ quickly away from the centre stage, happy to live out their faith away from the inquisitive eyes of our society. We thank God that through him, healing and completion was brought to the disciples.