St. Matthias was born around the same time as Jesus in Judea (Israel). He was chosen to replace Judas as one of the Twelve Apostles by the casting of lots. Tradition holds that he was martyred around 80 A.D. either in Colchis (Georgia), Jerusalem or Ethiopia. His feast day is May 14 in the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches, August 9 in the Easter Orthodox Church and February 24 in the Episcopal and Lutheran Churches.
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James, son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Jude, son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.
In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, “Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus -– for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry. For it is written in the book of Psalms,
‘Let his homestead become desolate,
And let there be no one to live in it’;
‘Let another take his position of overseer.’
So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.”
So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.
Acts 1:12-17, 20-26
That is all we know of Matthias. We don’t know anything specific about him from his time with Jesus on earth, and we have only legends as to what he did and where he went after Pentecost. We don’t know how he felt being called up to serve Jesus in a larger capacity, or being named as one of the Twelve.
It’s possible that being named one of the Twelve Apostles gave him the courage he lacked to go to foreign lands and give his life in the spreading of the Word of Jesus Christ.
It’s also entirely possible that when the large group of disciples (students) and the Apostles gathered the next day at Pentecost and were touched by the flame of the Holy Spirit which filled them and gave each the ability to speak a different foreign language, Matthias would have received his courage as a new apostle (messenger) here along with the rest of them.
In other words, maybe naming wasn’t important to him. Maybe having his named called out and placed among the Twelve was to him just a formality because he was already serving his Lord and would continue to do so whether he was named as the substitute Twelfth or not.
According to traditional stories written centuries after his death, St. Matthias traveled to one of three countries where he was either beheaded or crucified and is remembered as a martyr along with most of the other apostles who died similar deaths.
Because he was unnamed in the gospels while he was with Jesus, it seems like he was a humble person quietly serving his Lord. On the other hand, it’s also quite possible that Matthias served his Lord and wanted recognition for his good works.
Maybe his desire persisted despite these words from Jesus, “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 6:1
So in the outcome of the casting of the lots, maybe Jesus’ exasperated message was, Okay, okay. Now your name will be known for all time as the replacement Twelfth. Happy?
And maybe Matthias looked up to heaven and said in a voice dripping with sarcasm, “Oh really? This is my lot now? Substituting for the betrayer in a group of twelve whom after Pentecost will never be together again on earth? Gee, Jesus, that’s really swell. Thanks a lot.”
Because he was chosen by the group of Jesus’ followers who knew him well, it’s a sure bet that humble St. Matthias was named the Twelfth Apostle, not because he needed to be named, but because he was needed.
Almighty God, who in the place of Judas chose your faithful servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve: Grant that your Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always be guided and governed by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Collect, Book of Common Prayer
HOLY BIBLE: NEW REVISED STANDARD VERSION
HOLY WOMEN, HOLY MEN: CELEBRATING THE SAINTS
BRIGHTEST AND BEST: A COMPANION TO THE LESSER FEASTS AND FASTS by Sam Portaro
LIVES OF THE SAINTS: Vol. 1 by Alban Butler
And so to all those unnamed volunteers who serve in the name of our Lord, especially the substitutes, I raise, not my glass, but my dessert plate:
EASY-PEASY FANTASY FUDGE
(More photos below.)
I was introduced to a version of this recipe by a neighbor who has been making and sharing this fudge at Christmastime every year since he was a child. Practice does indeed make perfect.
Thank you neighbor (who requested to remain unnamed in this post) for the recipe, the candy-making advice, and all those tins filled with perfect chocolate Christmas fudge over the years!
(That was going to be all I was going to say about my neighbor, but as I was typing the above, he appeared in my front yard with his chainsaw and cut up some of the bigger broken tree limbs that crashed down during a recent ice storm. Thanks again, neighbor!)
Below is a version of the Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Crème recipe called Fantasy Fudge combining their original ingredients list with easy-peasy microwave cooking instructions.
3 cups sugar
1 ½ sticks butter
5 oz (can) of evaporated milk (not condensed milk)
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate morsels
7 oz (jar) Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup chopped pecans, walnuts, cookies or other add-ins (optional)
1. Line an 8x8, 9x9, or a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil and set aside.
2. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine sugar and evaporated milk. Drop the butter on top.
3. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Stir.
4. Microwave on high for 3 more minutes. Stir.
5. Microwave on high for 3 more minutes. Stir.
6. Microwave on high for 2 more minutes. Stir.
7. Add semi-sweet chocolate morsels. Stir.
8. Add marshmallow cream. Stir.
9. Add in vanilla and optional nuts or other add ins. Stir.
10. Poor into pan and spread evenly.
11. Leave some on the spoon.
12. Cover pan tightly with plastic wrap and allow to set up for 24-36 hours until firm.
13. Once the fudge on the spoon has cooled enough, enjoy it because 24 to 36 hours is a long time to wait for a piece of this fudge.
Be creative and have fun!