EMBRACE GOD'S CALL
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Our Lord is a good Father. He invites us into life with Him and longs for us to answer His call. At times we may not understand the call, but through prayer and discernment, we must allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit.
With this resource, we hope to invite you to see the beauty in answering God’s call when He asks something of you.
On the traditional calendar of the Church, before Vatican II, Saint Matthias’ feast day was celebrated on February 24. In 1969, his feast day was moved to May 14 so it would be celebrated outside of Lent and closer to the Solemnity of the Ascension.
In the early Church, there wasn’t a formal canonization process like there is today. In the early Church, there were certain people that were recognized as saints because of their holiness and the roles they played in the plan of salvation. This was especially exemplified by their mention in the Liturgy. Examples of these commonly recognized saints are St. Joseph, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all of the Apostles, save Judas.
Saint Matthias is a patron saint of tailors, those with smallpox, carpenters, and those struggling with alcoholism.
Clement of Alexandria (Strom., III, 4) records a sentence that is ascribed to Saint Matthias in which he says “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.” The nature of this saying and its encouragement to grow in self-mastery and virtue is most likely why Saint Matthias is attributed to being one of the patron saints of those struggling with alcoholism.
“Judas's misfortune filled St. Matthias with the greater humility and fervor, lest he also should fall.” – Alban Butler, The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints
Matthias is a biblical name, meaning “gift of God.”
What did Matthias do in the Bible?
The account that we have of Saint Matthias in Scripture is when he was chosen by lots by the Apostles after they deemed it necessary to replace Judas Iscariot. The twelve Apostles are mentioned as a group at the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2) and preaching together in Acts 8:14, but Matthias is not again mentioned by name.
Saint Matthias is only mentioned by name once in the New Testament in the Acts of the Apostles. Acts 1:21-26 tells of the full account when Saint Matthias was chosen to become the Apostle who would replace Judas Iscariot.
[Peter said], “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 men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsab’bas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two thou hast 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 enrolled with the eleven apostles.
Though it is not known for certain how Saint Matthias died, tradition holds that he was martyred for his faith, like many of the other Apostles. It is believed that he was stoned and then beheaded.
Why does Saint Matthias have an axe?
Saint Matthias is often seen pictured with an axe; this is because some believe that he was beheaded by an axe.
When making a decision on whom to choose to replace Judas Iscariot after his death, the remaining 11 Apostles proposed two candidates who met the requirements: Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also known as Justus), and Matthias.
They prayed for the Lord to show them which of the two he had chosen for the mission, and they cast lots for the two men; “the lot fell on Matthias; and he was enrolled with the eleven apostles” (Acts 1: 26). This was the last time lots were cast to make a decision since, after Pentecost, the Holy Spirit would then lead them in their decisions.
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. – Acts 1:24-26
Jesus called 12 Apostles during His ministry. When Judas Iscariot, the twelfth Apostle, died by suicide, Matthias was chosen to replace him, reconstituting the Twelve.
Nonetheless, in a case foreshadowed by the tribes of Israel, in which the twelfth portion of the Patriarch Joseph was shared by his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim, both St. Matthias and St. Paul, whom the Lord Himself would later call, share the twelfth apostleship of Judas.
The last Apostle to be chosen to be of Jesus’ 12 Apostles was Saint Matthias. He was chosen after Jesus’ Ascension. Though he was the only Apostle not chosen by Jesus personally, he was chosen by the Holy Spirit through the other 11 Apostles.
What is Saint Matthias known for?
Saint Matthias is most commonly known for being the Apostle that was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot after he died.
“We know nothing else about [Matthias], if not that he had been a witness to all Jesus' earthly events (cf. Acts 1:26), remaining faithful to him to the end. To the greatness of his fidelity was later added the divine call to take the place of Judas, almost compensating for his betrayal.” – Pope Benedict XVI
Judas Iscariot is one of Jesus’ original 12 Apostles. He is most known for being the Apostle who would betray Jesus and hand him over to the chief priests for 30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14, 47-50).
“Iscariot” is thought to be a Greek translation of a Hebrew phrase meaning “man from Kerioth,” which is most likely where Judas was from. Some interpret the name “Judas” to be a variant of the term "hired assassin," or "the one who was to betray him.” This designation is found twice in the Gospel: after Peter's confession of faith ( John 6:71), and then in the discourse of the anointing at Bethany ( John 12:4).
Judas Iscariot died by suicide, after having betrayed Jesus and having seen that he was condemned to death. He repented of having betrayed Jesus when he saw the outcome of his sentence, but nonetheless, could not bear his guilt. Pope Benedict XVI said, “[Judas] repented, but his repentance degenerated into desperation and thus became self-destructive.” The account of his death can be found in Matthew 27:3-5. “Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5).
After Judas Iscariot died, the remaining Apostles made the decision to replace him, and to continue the mission that was given to Judas to spread the good news of Christ to all nations. When making the decision of a replacement, Peter said it had to be someone who had accompanied Jesus from his baptism to his Ascension (Acts 1: 21-23). They proposed two candidates who met the requirements: Joseph called Barsabbas and Matthias.
They prayed for the Lord to show them which of the two he had chosen for the mission, and they cast lots for the two men; the lot fell on Matthias and he became the twelfth Apostle.
Videos About St. Matthias
The names Matthew and Matthias both mean, “Gift of God.” As Matthias is an adaptation of the name Matthew, the two can sometimes be mistaken for one another. According to Scripture and other historical accounts, there is evidence to prove that Matthew and Matthias are indeed, two different people.
Saint Matthew was one of the original 12 Apostles and an evangelist. Levi was his original name, which is another way he was proven to be differentiated from Matthias.
Saint Matthias was one of the seventy disciples of Jesus, with Him from His baptism to His Ascension. The name Matthias is Greek, derived from Mattathias. Matthias became the last of the twelve apostles, chosen to replace the original twelfth, Judas Iscariot.
Some hold to the belief that Zacchaeus and Matthias are the same people; there is no evidence in Sacred Scripture that proves this to be true.