The Thirteenth Apostle -Chosen Last
Today is the day we remember St. Matthias, chosen to replace Judas Iscariot, by a toss of a pebble or a stick. He was in the running against Barnabas, and we never heard much of anything about him after he was chosen. Unlike the other apostles, Matthias was not chosen by Jesus because he had already ascended to heaven. According to the book of Acts (in the reading below) Matthias had been with Jesus and the apostles since the baptism of Jesus and up until the Ascension. After that his story is left up to tradition.
Saint Matthias is sometimes considered the patron saint of carpenters, tailors, those with smallpox, and in prayers for perseverance and for hope. Another tradition lifts Matthias up as the patron saint of alcoholics or anyone who suffers from addictions. It is not clear how he achieved these designations...but I wonder. Matthias was chosen last to be a part of one of the most famous groups in all of history. He was one of the followers, but never one of the chosen until after one of the biggest events in all of history. His election was based on the toss of a stone, and after he was chosen we don't know much about him. Was he designated the patron saint of those who are addicted because his circumstances might have led him to addictions? Was he remembered as the patron saint of those who work with their hands, those who pray for perseverance and hope because he was always in the background going about his business, praying?
I wonder if Matthias is perhaps a good example for us of keeping the faith, persevering without recognition, claiming the title of beloved even when the world around us doesn't affirm it.
I like Matthias. He must not have drawn much attention to himself, he lived in the background, and he was chosen by the random act of casting lots...and yet was he? Perhaps only he heard the voice of God when God said, "Matthias, you are my beloved whom I have chosen. In you I am well pleased."