To read the texts click on the texts: Acts1:15-17,20-26; Jn 15:9-17
is no mention of a Matthias among the lists of disciples or followers of Jesus
in the three synoptic gospels, but according to the first reading chosen for
the feast of St. Matthias, he had been with Jesus from his baptism by John
until his Ascension. In the days following, Peter proposed that the assembled
disciples, who numbered about one hundred and twenty, nominate two men to
replace Judas. After they had cast lots, the lot fell to Matthias; so he was
numbered with the eleven apostles.
no further information is available about Matthias in the New Testament, he is
identified with Zacchaeus and also with Nathanael.
Gospel text is from the Gospel of John and is part of the Discourse on the Vine
and the Branches and focusses on Jesus’ gift of love given to him by his
love which the Father has for Jesus is the same love that Jesus has expressed
and shown for his disciples. It is a love that is unconditional, a love without
end. It is not merely a verbal expression, or an emotion, but a love that is
shown tangibly and in every action that Jesus performs. The disciples have to
act in the same manner as Jesus in order to make this love visible. There is
only one commandment and that is the commandment to love. If the disciples keep
this commandment, it will result in their being like Jesus, their master, who
before them, revealed God’s love for the world.
love is expressed in the most perfect of ways in the willingness to go to one’s
death for the sake of a friend. The disciples are indeed friends of Jesus, as
has been manifested in their keeping his command to love. It is important to
note that Jesus is not placing a condition for friendship here (you can be my
friends only if…); rather he is stating what and who the disciples are (because
you are my friends, you do what I command).
friendship that the disciples share with Jesus is grounded in love. This means
that Jesus keeps back nothing from his disciples and reveals to them all that
they need to know. His primary revelation to them has been of God as a loving
and compassionate Father.
is Jesus who has taken the initiative in calling and choosing the disciples and
this fact reinforces the idea of grace. It is not one’s effort that can earn
discipleship but the grace of God which, when received, results in one living
out the call to discipleship. The living out of the call is not merely a once
for all act, but something that is done constantly and with perseverance. This
will ensure that the effects of their love are abiding and lasting. The last
verse of today, with its reminder to “love one another”, forms an inclusion
with the first.
relationship that we share with God because of Jesus is one of sons and
daughters. We are Jesus’ brothers and sisters, even friends. This is because he
has given us everything in all its fullness. He held nothing back, not even his
own self. The manifestation of this self-giving, which began with the
incarnation, was completed and continued on the cross, and through his
resurrection and ascension. He continues to give, even today.
the giving is only one side of the story. Without a receiver, the gift has no
value. This is why, while the grace of God given as a gift in Jesus is first,
our reception of that gift is as important if the act of giving is to be
completed. We show that we have received this gift when we, like Jesus, also
dare to reach out in love. When we speak an enhancing word, perform a loving
action, behave a little less selfishly, and a little more selflessly, then the
gift is given and received, again and again.
the commandment of Jesus is thus not a chore or burden but done willingly
because one has experienced this love first. The outcome of this sharing and
manifestation of love is unbounded joy.