The holy apostle Matthias was born of the tribe of Judah, in Bethlehem. He studied with St. Simeon the God-receiver in Jerusalem. When the Lord went out to preach the Kingdom of God, Matthias joined the others who loved the Lord- for he himself loved Him with all his heart, and heard His words and witnessed His works with delight. Initially Matthias was numbered among the seventy lesser disciples of Christ. However, following the Resurrection of the Lord, the place of Judas being empty, the apostles drew lots and chose Matthias as one of the Twelve Great Apostles (Acts 1:23-26). Receiving the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, Matthias set out to preach the Gospel; first in Judah, and then in Ethiopia, where he endured great tortures for the sake of Christ. It is held that he preached throughout Macedonia, where they wanted to blind him; but he became invisible to his torturers, and thus escaped danger. The Lord appeared to him in prison, encouraged him, and freed him. Finally, he returned again to his work in Judea. There he was accused and brought to court before the high priest Ananias, before whom he fearlessly witnessed Christ. Ananias (the same who had slain the Apostle James) condemned Matthias to death. They led Matthias out, stoned him, and then decapitated him with an ax. This punishment was the Roman manner of killing a person who was sentenced to death, and the hypocritical Jews applied this method to Matthias to show he had been an enemy of Rome. Thus the great apostle of Christ reposed, and took up his habitation in the eternal joy of his Lord.
O holy Apostle Matthias, intercede with the merciful God that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.
Your good tidings were more brilliant than the sun, and they have spread all over the world; they illumine the Church of the Gentiles with grace. Rejoice, O miracle-working apostle Matthias.
Acts 1: 12-17 & 21-26
In those days they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olive near Jerusalem–a mere sabbath’s journey away. Entering the city, they went to the upstairs room where they were staying: Peter and John and James and Andrew; Phillip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus; Simon, the Zealot party member, and Judas son of James. Together they devoted themselves to constant prayer. There were some women in their company, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
At one point during those days, Peter stood up in the center of the brothers; there must have been a hundred and twenty gathered together. “Brothers,” he said, “the saying in Scripture uttered long ago by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of David was destined to be fulfilled in Judas, the one who guided those that arrested Jesus. He was one of our number and he had been given a share in this ministry of ours.
*”It is entirely fitting, therefore, that one of those who was of our company while the Lord Jesus moved among us, from the baptism of John until the day he was taken up from us, should be named as witness with us to his resurrection.” At that they nominated two, Joseph (called Barsabbas, also known as Justus) and Mathias. Then they prayed: “O Lord, you read the hearts of men. Make known to us which of these two you choose for this apostolic ministry, replacing Judas who deserted the cause and went the way he was destined to go.” They then drew lots between the two men. The choice fell to Matthias, who was added to the eleven apostles.
Luke 9: 1-6
At that time Jesus called the Twelve together and gave them the power and authority to overcome all demons and to cure diseases. He sent them forth to proclaim the reign of God and heal the afflicted. Jesus advised them: “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking staff nor traveling bag; no bread, no money. No one is to have two coats. Stay at whatever house you enter and proceed from there. When people will not receive you, leave that town and shake its dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, spreading the good news everywhere and curing diseases.
2 Corinthians 3: 4-11
Brothers and sisters: This great confidence in God is ours, through Christ. It is not that we are entitled of ourselves to take credit for anything. Our sole credit is from God, who has made us qualified ministers of a new covenant, a covenant not of a written law but of spirit. The written law kills, but the Spirit gives life.
If the ministry of death, carved in writing on stone, was inaugurated with such glory that the Israelites could not look on Moses’ face because of the glory that shone on it (even though it was a fading glory), how much greater will be the glory of the ministry of the Spirit? If the ministry of the covenant that condemned had glory, greater by far is the glory of the ministry that justifies. Indeed, when you compare that limited glory with this surpassing glory, the former should be declared no glory at all. If what was destined to pass away was given in glory, greater by far is the glory that endures.
Mathew 23: 29-39
The Lord said: “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, you frauds! You erect tombs for the prophets and decorate the monuments of the saints. You say, “Had we lived in our forefathers’ time we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ Thus you show that you are sons of the prophets’ murderers. Now it is your turn: fill up the vessel measured out by your forefathers. Vipers’ nest! Brood of serpents! How can you escape condemnation to Gehenna? For this reason I will send you prophets and wise men and scribes. Some you will kill and crucify, others you will flog in your synagogues and hunt down from city to city; until the retribution overtakes you for all the blood of the just ones shed on earth, from the blood of holy Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the temple building and the altar. All this, I assure you, will be the fate of the present generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, murderess of prophets and stoner of those who were sent to you! How often have I yearned to gather your children, as a mother bird gathers her young under her wings, but you refused me. Recall the saying, ‘You will find your temple deserted.’ I tell you, you will not see me from this time on until you declare, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Tuesday, August 8 –