Seventh Sunday of Easter
First Reading: Acts 1: 15-17, 20-226
At first sight, it seems strange that in the sequence of Readings from the Acts, we have gone back to Chapter 1. However, looking at where the Reading comes there, it makes sense.
The Reading comes just after Luke’s account of Jesus’ ascension into heaven when the apostles had returned to Jerusalem - and just before the coming of the Spirit. Luke is drawing together the loose end of there only being eleven apostles in readiness for the events of Pentecost - and so, it is appropriate that this Reading should be chosen for the Sunday after Ascension - preparing us for next week’s great feast.
It serves as a reminder of what the apostolic period was about. Peter specifies that the person chosen must be one who has accompanied them from the beginning - who saw all that Jesus said and did - and who can witness to the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The fact that there is a choice shows us that more people than the Twelve were witnesses to these events. However, twelve was the number Jesus had chosen (twelve being the number of tribes of Israel) and so, the community sensed that this had to be complete before the Spirit could be poured upon them.
The community selected two of their number as possible successors to Judas. they fulfil all the requirements - but everyone realises that it is not just a human decision. And so they elected to draw lots as a way of opening the choice up - a choice which fell to Matthias.
Interestingly, we hear very little more about Matthias’ personal apostolate - but his election means that the “college” of apostles is again complete. The community can now watch and pray - and await the Coming of the Holy Spirit...
What does this mean for me?