Homily by Fr. Paul Plante
7th Sunday of Easter
June 4, 2000
Scriptural Reference: Acts 1:15-17, 20A, 20C-26
The way the Apostles chose Mathias to replace Judas, the one who had betrayed Jesus and succumbed to despair, has a lot to teach us.
Of course, there is a sad side to this need to replace one of the Apostles. It means one of them did not live up to his calling, betrayed the Master for money and worst of all did not seek forgiveness. Let us not forget that another one of the Apostles had denied Jesus – Peter – but he regretted his sin, repented and is recognized as the head of the Apostles.
I bring up the memory of Judas, praying that we may never deny Jesus, never abandon our faith and Church, or even worse, despair.
I bring up the memory of Peter that we may know there is possibility of forgiveness even for the worst sin!
Let us move on to the selection of Mathias. The first thing we learn is that there will be continuity beyond the Apostles – the Church is not just the little band of 12 that Jesus himself chose. After Jesus’ return to heaven and after the death of the Apostles, the Church has a way of perpetuating itself. The faith is born in new members. The next generation of faith takes over. Do we see how wonderful it is that this continuity of the faith has lasted all the way to us, 2000 years after the birth of Jesus Christ?
And now let us see what is in this process for us today. First of all, the group detects a need. They are one person short – a lot to get done. Are we alert to the needs of the Church? Do we tend to focus on what we would like to do rather than what needs to get done? In what area of ministry do we see some real needs? Religious education? Youth and young adult ministry? Adult catholic education and sharing? Outreach to the poor? The elderly? Is there a need to raise more money for all our programs?
From the needs, candidates surface. Are we able to either request the help of people we think would perform certain ministry well or are we able to recognize our talents and skills and offer our help? What is our process to get people, including ourselves, motivated?
And then there is a time of discernment – prayer and reflection – putting it all in the presence of the Holy Spirit and making sure the best decision is made for the good of the Church – in the use of our time for the Church, in the use of our talents for the Church, in the use of our money for the Church.
Would it be beneficial to learn from the selection of Mathias?