Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle: Missa “Mihi autem nimis”
St. Peter, in the Acts of the Apostles (Epistle), says that the prophet had Judas in view when he declares “That his episcopate would pass into other hands.” It is the Lord Himself who showed the one He had chosen to be associated with the eleven apostles (Epistle).
It is to St. Matthias that He confided the secrets made known to Him in the bosom of His Father (Gospel). Wherefore this holy apostle shares the glory “of the princes whom God has established over souls”: (Offertory) and “He shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel” (Communion). Since their infidelity, indeed, “Their house has become deserted” (Epistle) and the kingdom of Heaven is transferred to the Gentiles who do penance. His name figures in the Canon of the Mass. Let us ask “God, Who has included blessed Matthias in the college of the apostles, to grant us through his intercession” (Collect) that we may “atone for our sins” (Secret), so as to obtain “peace and pardon” (Postcommunion).
After our Blessed Lord’s Ascension His disciples came together, with Mary His mother and the eleven Apostles, in an upper room at Jerusalem. The little company numbered no more than one hundred and twenty souls. They were waiting for the promised coming of the Holy Ghost, and they persevered in prayer. Meanwhile there was a solemn act to be performed on the part of the Church, which could not be postponed. The place of the fallen Judas had to be filled, that the number of the Apostles might be complete. Saint Peter, therefore, as Vicar of Christ, arose to announce the divine decree. What the Holy Ghost had spoken by the mouth of David concerning Judas, he said, must be fulfilled. Of him it had been written, His bishopric let another take. A choice, therefore, was needed of one among those who had been their companions from the beginning, who could bear witness to the Resurrection of Jesus.
Two were named of equal merit, Joseph called Barsabas, and Matthias. After praying to God, who knows the hearts of all men, to show which of these He had chosen, they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, who was thereby numbered with the Apostles. It is recorded of the Saint, wonderfully elected to so high a vocation, that he was remarkable for his mortification of the flesh. It was thus that he made his election sure.
He preached in Judea where he was persecuted by both Jews and Gentiles, and died by stoning, a victim of their pursuits, in the year 63. His body was taken to Rome by Saint Helena, mother of Constantine, some 250 years later. A church there bears his name.
Reflection. Our ignorance of many points in Saint Matthias’s life serves to fix the attention all the more firmly upon these two — the occasion of his call to the apostolate, and the fact of his perseverance. We then naturally turn in thought to our own vocation and our own end: may it be like his, a holy death in reward for our fidelity.
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INTROIT Psalm 138: 7
To me Thy friends, O God, are made exceedingly honorable : their principality is exceedingly strengthened. (Psalm 138: 1-2). Lord, Thou hast proved me, and known me; Thou hast known my sitting down and y rising up. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Repeat To me Thy friends…
O God, who didst associate blessed Matthias to the company of Thine apostles, grant, we beseech Thee, that by his intercession, we may ever experience Thy tender mercy towards us. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
EPISTLE Acts of the Apostles 1. 15-26
Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles. In those days, Peter rising up in the midst of the brethren said (now the number of persons together was about hundred and twenty) : Men and brethren, the Scripture must needs be fulfilled which the Holy Ghost spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who was the leader of them that apprehended Jesus; who was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. And he indeed hath possessed a field of the reward of iniquity; and, being hanged, burst asunder in the midst; and all his bowels gushed out. And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the same field was called in their tongue Haceldama, that is to say, the field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms: Let their h habitation become desolate, and let there be none to dwell therein: and his bishopric let another take. Wherefore of these men, who have companied with us, all the time that the Lord Jesus came in and went out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day wherein He was taken up from us, one of there must be made a witness with us of His resurrection. And they appointed two; Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And praying they said: Thou Lord, who knows the hearts of all men, show whether of these two Thou hast chosen, to take the place of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas hath by transgression fallen, that he might go to his own place. And they gave them lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
GRADUAL Psalm 138: 17,18
Thy friends, O God, are exceedingly honorable; their principality is exceedingly strengthened. V. I will number them, and they shall be multiplied above the sand.
TRACT Psalm 20: 3, 4
Thou hast given him his soul’s desire, and hast not witholden from him the will of his lips. V. For Thou hast prevented him with blessings of sweetness. V. Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones.
GOSPEL Matthew 11: 25-30
At that time, Jesus answered, and said: “I praise Thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones. yea, Father: for so it hath seemed good in Thy sight. all things are delivered to Me by My Father; and no one knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither doth anyone know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you that labor, and are burdened; and I will refresh you. Take up My yoke upon you, and learn of Me, because I am meek, and humble of heart, and you shall find rest to your souls: for My yoke is sweet and My burden light.”
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 44: 17, 18
Thou shalt make them princes over all the earth : they shall remember Thy name, O Lord, in every progeny and generation.
May the prayer of Thy holy apostle Matthias, accompany the sacrifice which we offer to Thy name O Lord, and that through it we may be both purified and defended. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Apostles
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, to entreat Thee humbly, O Lord, that Thou woulds not desert Thy flock. O everlasting Shepherd; but through Thy blessed Apostles, wouldst keep it under Thy constant protection; that it may be governed by those same rulers, whom as vicars of Thy work, Thou didst set over it to be its pastors. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of The glory, evermore saying:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Matthew 19: 28
You who have followed Me shall sit on seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that by these holy mysteries which we have received, through the intercession of Thy blessed apostle Matthias, we may obtain both pardon and peace. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
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