St Matthias

It is St Matthias’s day today. He isn’t someone whom we tend to make much of. We don’t preach much about him, nor associate him with anything much more than the manner in which he was chosen to be an apostle. Matthias was the one chosen by lot to replace Judas.

Though he doesn’t have a great place in the grand scheme of things, I rather like to remember this day. It is a reminder that sometimes vocation is about being in the right place and the right time rather than about gifts and skills, even though those are the thing we concentrate on most of all.

I am also reminded to pray alongside ‘Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus’. He was the one not chosen. Preaching on his situation seems to me to be just as interesting as attempting to think about Matthias.

Of course, choice by lot still sometimes gets used. It is used to decide elections sometimes when the votes are cast evenly. (One is tempted to suggest at the moment, that the Greek election should be decided by the toss of a euro). The final choice in the decision to choose a new Coptic Pope will involve a small child choosing a name at random.

Anyway, let us remember Matthias and Joseph/Barsabbas/Justus. God uses people even amidst the apparent randomness of life choices and situations. And scripture reminds us through their story that randomness is very much a part of God’s world.

Matthias – a patron saint for all those who believe that God has a very precise plan for their lives.

Joseph/Barsabbas/Justus – a patron saint for the rest of us.