St. Matthias, Apostle; So, how does one qualify to be an apostle?


Today we celebrate the feast of St. Matthias. Matthias was one of the seventy disciples of Jesus, and had been with Him from His baptism by John to the Ascension (Acts 1:21-22). It is related (Acts 1:15-26) that in the days following the Ascension, Peter proposed to the assembled brethren, who numbered one hundred and twenty, that they choose one to fill the place of the traitor Judas in the Apostolate. His calling as an apostle is unique in that his appointment was not made personally by Jesus, Who had already ascended to heaven; and, it was made before the descending of the Holy Spirit upon the early church. We read that, One hundred and twenty people were gathered for prayer and reflection in the upper room, when Peter stood up to propose the way to make the choice. This choice needs to have been a fellow pilgrim with Jesus and the with Twelve from the start to the finish of his ministry and a witness to his resurrection. Peter calls upon the Lord to share in the decision making—to help them discern their choice. The decision is reflected in the ballot result: it is Matthias. Through a democratic process, the eleven become twelve again as foretold in the Book of Psalms. The 12 apostles are representative of the restored 12 tribes of Israel brought together by Christ, the Messiah. To the Jewish apostles it was essential that the fullness of the symbolic number be restored since the 12 tribes were the source of the great nation and faith of Israel, so the 12 apostles were the beginnings of the church of all peoples. Legends are many about what happened with Matthias, and the early church fathers mentioned him in some of their writings. For us the important thing is to realize our faith is rooted in centuries of tradition and is built on the foundations laid down all those years ago before Christ, and even Moses.

So, how does one qualify to be an apostle? Today, the word Apostle has come to mean many things. It has come to refer to any high ranking ecclesiastical officer and so on. The office of Apostle has nothing to do with any Church or any earthly appointments as can already be deduced. These people can only be chosen by God Himself and the choice is entirely determined by the individuals’ inner spiritual qualities and ability to fulfill in this office which would have been seen by God. In this matter, the opinions of individuals are of no consequence whatever.

An apostle proclaims the Kingdom of God after receiving the Spirit which empowers and enlightens him/her. Being able to transmit power to those who are open to it is of immense importance as it provides proof of the genuine standing of the apostle. It means that the apostle himself has to be standing aright for him to be able to receive of the Spirit and transmit it to other human beings. Apostles absorb the power of God as they are able to and transmit these to human beings in general. Not only do apostles absorb of the power but also of the knowledge of God. They are meant to mould and transform this knowledge and power according to their own natures and then pass it on to other human beings who are not in a position to absorb the Word of God directly. In this way, it becomes easier for the ordinary human being to partake of the knowledge of God and of His Power.

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