Skip to comments.Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings 14-May-2022: St. Mathias, Apostle
Posted on 05/14/2022 12:34:07 AM PDT by Cronos
Saturday of the fourth week of Eastertide
St. Mark's, Independence, Missouri 64055
Readings at Mass
Liturgical Colour: Red
'Let someone else take his office'
One day Peter stood up to speak to the brothers – there were about a hundred and twenty persons in the congregation: ‘Brothers, the passage of scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit, speaking through David, foretells the fate of Judas, who offered himself as a guide to the men who arrested Jesus – after having been one of our number and actually sharing this ministry of ours. Now in the Book of Psalms it says:
Let his camp be reduced to ruin,
Let there be no one to live in it.
Let someone else take his office.
‘We must therefore choose someone who has been with us the whole time that the Lord Jesus was travelling round with us, someone who was with us right from the time when John was baptising until the day when he was taken up from us – and he can act with us as a witness to his resurrection.’
Having nominated two candidates, Joseph known as Barsabbas, whose surname was Justus, and Matthias, they prayed, ‘Lord, you can read everyone’s heart; show us therefore which of these two you have chosen to take over this ministry and apostolate, which Judas abandoned to go to his proper place.’ They then drew lots for them, and as the lot fell to Matthias, he was listed as one of the twelve apostles.
The Lord sets him in the company of the princes of his people.
Praise, O servants of the Lord,
praise the name of the Lord!
May the name of the Lord be blessed
both now and for evermore!
The Lord sets him in the company of the princes of his people.
From the rising of the sun to its setting
praised be the name of the Lord!
High above all nations is the Lord,
above the heavens his glory.
The Lord sets him in the company of the princes of his people.
Who is like the Lord, our God,
who has risen on high to his throne
yet stoops from the heights to look down,
to look down upon heaven and earth?
The Lord sets him in the company of the princes of his people.
From the dust he lifts up the lowly,
from the dungheap he raises the poor
to set him in the company of princes,
yes, with the princes of his people.
The Lord sets him in the company of the princes of his people.
I chose you from the world
to go out and bear fruit,
fruit that will last,
says the Lord.
You are my friends if you do what I command you
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘As the Father has loved me,
so I have loved you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments
you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.
I have told you this
so that my own joy may be in you
and your joy be complete.
This is my commandment:
love one another, as I have loved you.
A man can have no greater love
than to lay down his life for his friends.
You are my friends,
if you do what I command you.
I shall not call you servants any more,
because a servant does not know
his master’s business;
I call you friends,
because I have made known to you
everything I have learnt from my Father.
You did not choose me:
no, I chose you;
and I commissioned you
to go out and to bear fruit,
fruit that will last;
and then the Father will give you
anything you ask him in my name.
What I command you
is to love one another.’
The readings on this page are from the Jerusalem Bible, which is used at Mass in most of the English-speaking world. The New American Bible readings, which are used at Mass in the United States, are available in the Universalis apps, programs and downloads.
You can also view this page with the Gospel in Greek and English.
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8. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
9. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love: even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
11. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvi. 2) Our Lord shewed above, that those who plotted against them should be burned, inasmuch as they abode not in Christ: now He shews that they themselves would be invincible, bringing forth much fruit; Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit: as if He said, If it appertains to My Father’s glory that ye bring forth fruit, He will not despise His own glory. And he that bringeth forth fruit is Christ’s disciple: So shall ye be My disciples.
THEOPHYLACT. The fruit of the Apostles are the Gentiles, who through their teaching were converted to the faith, and brought into subjection to the glory of God.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxii. 1) Made bright or glorified; the Greek word may be translated in either way. Δόξα signifies glory; not our own glory, we must remember, as if we had it of ourselves: it is of His grace that we have it; and therefore it is not our own but His glory. For from whom shall we derive our fruitfulness, but from His mercy preventing us. Wherefore He adds, As My Father hath loved Me, even so love I you. This then is the source of our good works. Our good works proceed from faith which worketh by love: but we could not love unless we were loved first: As My Father hath loved Me, even so love I you. This does not prove that our nature is equal to His, as His is to the Father’s, but the grace, whereby He is the Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. The Father loves us, but in Him.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvi. 2) If then I love you, be of good cheer; if it is the Father’s glory that ye bring forth good fruit, bear no evil. Then to rouse them to exertion, He adds, Continue ye in My love; and then shews how this is to be done: If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxii. 3. et seq.) Who doubts that love precedes the observance of the commandments? For who loves not, has not that whereby to keep the commandments. These words then do not declare whence love arises, but how it is shewn, that no one might deceive himself into thinking that he loved our Lord, when he did not keep His commandments. Though the words, Continue ye in My love, do not of themselves make it evident which love He means, ours to Him, or His to us, yet the preceding words do: I love you, He says: and then immediately after, Continue ye in My love. Continue ye in My love, then, is, continue in My grace: and, If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, is, Your keeping of My commandments, will be evidence to you that ye abide in My love. It is not that we keep His commandments first, and that then He loves; but that He loves us, and then we keep His commandments. This is that grace, which is revealed to the humble, but hidden from the proud. But what means the next words, Even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love: i. e. the Father’s love, wherewith He loveth the Son. Must this grace, wherewith the Father loves the Son, be understood to be like the grace wherewith the Son loveth us? No; for whereas we are sons not by nature, but by grace, the Only Begotten is Son not by grace, but by nature. We must understand this then to refer to the manhood in the Son, even as the words themselves imply: As My Father hath loved Me, even so love I you. The grace of a Mediator is expressed here; and Christ is Mediator between God and man, not as God, but as man. This then we may say, that since human nature does not pertain to the nature of God, but does by grace pertain to the Person of the Son, grace also pertains to that Person; such grace as has nothing superior, nothing equal to it. For no merits on man’s part preceded the assumption of that nature.
ALCUIN. Even as I have kept My Father’s commandments. The Apostle explains what these commandments were: Christ became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Phil. 2:8)
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 1) Then because the Passion was now approaching to interrupt their joy, He adds, These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy may remain in you: as if He said, And if sorrow fall upon you, I will take it away; so that ye shall rejoice in the end.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxiii. 1) And what is Christ’s joy in us, but that He deigns to rejoice on our account? And what is our joy, which He says shall be full, but to have fellowship with Him? He had perfect joy on our account, when He rejoiced in foreknowing, and predestinating us; but that joy was not in us, because then we did not exist: it began to be in us, when He called us And this joy we rightly call our own, this joy wherewith we shall be blessed; which is begun in the faith of them who are born again, and shall be fulfilled in the reward of them who rise again.
12. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
16. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
THEOPHYLACT. Having said, If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, He shews what commandments they are to keep: This is My commandment, That ye love one another.
GREGORY. (Hom. xxvii. in Evang.) But when all our Lord’s sacred discourses are full of His commandments, why does He give this special commandment respecting love, if it is not that every commandment teaches love, and all precepts are one? Love and love only is the fulfilment of every thing that is enjoined. As all the boughs of a tree proceed from one root, so all the virtues are produced from one love: nor hath the branch, i. e. the good work, any life, except it abide in the root of love.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxiii. 3) Where then love is, what can be wanting? where it is not, what can profit? But this love is distinguished from men’s love to each other as men, by adding, As I have loved you. To what end did Christ love us, but that we should reign with Him? Let us therefore so love one another, as that our love be different from that of other men; who do not love one another, to the end that God may be loved, because they do not really love at all. They who love one another for the sake of having God within them, they truly love one another.
GREGORY. (Hom. xxvii.) The highest, the only proof of love, is to love our adversary; as did the Truth Himself, who while He suffered on the cross, shewed His love for His persecutors: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34) Of which love the consummation is given in the next words: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Our Lord came to die for His enemies, but He says that He is going to lay down His life for His friends, to shew us that by loving, we are able to 1 gain over our enemies, so that they who persecute us are by anticipation our friends.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxvi. 1) Having said, This is My commandment, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you, it follows, as John saith in his Epistle, that as Christ laid down His life for us, so we should lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3) This the martyrs have done with ardent love. And therefore in commemorating them at Christ’s table, we do not pray for them, as we do for others, but we rather pray that we may follow their steps. For they have shewn the same love for their brother, that has been shewn them at the Lord’s table.
GREGORY. (Hom. xxvii.) But whoso in time of tranquillity will not give up his time to God, how in persecution will he give up his soul? Let the virtue of love then, that it may be victorious in tribulation, be nourished in tranquillity by deeds of mercy.
AUGUSTINE. (viii. de Trin. c. viii) From one and the same love, we love God and our neighbour; but God for His own sake, our neighbour for God’s. So that, there being two precepts of love, on which hang all the Law and the Prophets, to love God, and to love our neighbour, Scripture often unites them into one precept. For if a man love God, it follows that he does what God commands, and if so, that he loves his neighbour, God having commanded this. Wherefore He proceeds: Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
GREGORY. (xxvii. Moral.) A friend is as it were a keeper of the soul. He who keeps God’s commandments, is rightly called His friend.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxv. 2) Great condescension! Though to keep his Lord’s commandments, is only what a good servant is obliged to do, yet, if they do so, He calls them His friends. The good servant is both the servant, and the friend. But how is this? He tells us: Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth. Shall we therefore cease to be servants, as soon as ever we are good servants? And is not a good and tried servant sometimes entrusted with his master’s secrets, still remaining a servant? (c. 3.). We must understand then that there are two kinds of servitude, as there are two kinds of fear. There is a fear which perfect love casteth out; which also hath in it a servitude, which will be cast out together with the fear. And there is another, a pure (castus) fear, which remaineth for ever. It is the former state of servitude, which our Lord refers to, when He says, Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth; not the state of that servant to whom it is said, Well done, thou good servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord: (Matt. 25:21) but of him of whom it was said below, The servant abideth not in the house for ever, but the Son abideth ever. Forasmuch then as God hath given us power to become the sons of God, so that in a wonderful way, we are servants, and yet not servants, we know that it is the Lord who doth this. This that servant is ignorant of, who knoweth not what his Lord doeth, and when he doeth any good thing, is exalted in his own conceit, as if he himself did it, and not his Lord; and boasts of himself, not of his Lord.
But I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard of My Father, I have made known unto you.
THEOPHYLACT. As if He said, The servant knoweth not the counsels of his lord; but since I esteem you friends, I have communicated my secrets to you.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxvi. 1) But how did He make known to His disciples all things that He had heard from the Father, when He forebore saying many things, because He knew they as yet could not bear them? He made all things known to His disciples, i. e. He knew that He should make them known to them in that fulness of which the Apostle saith, Then we shall know, even as we are known. (1 Cor. 13:12) For as we look for the death of the flesh, and the salvation of the soul; so should we look for that knowledge of all things, which the Only-Begotten heard from the Father.
GREGORY. (Hom. xxvii.) Or all things which He heard from the Father, which He wished to be made known to His servants; the joys of spiritual love, the pleasures of our heavenly country, which He impresses daily on our minds by the inspiration of His love. For while we love the heavenly things we hear, we know them by loving, because love is itself knowledge. He had made all things known to them then, because being withdrawn from earthly desires, they burned with the fire of divine love.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 1) All things, i. e. all things that they ought to hear. I have heard, shews that what He had taught was no strange doctrine, but received from the Father.
GREGORY. (Hom. in Evang. xxvii.) But let no one who has attained to this dignity of being called the friend of God, attribute this superhuman gift1 to his own merits: Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxvi. 3) Ineffable grace! For what were we before Christ had chosen us, but wicked, and lost? We did not believe in Him, so as to be chosen by Him: for had He chosen us believing, He would have chosen us choosing. This passage refutes the vain opinion of those who say that we were chosen before the foundation of the world, because God foreknew that we should be good, not that He Himself would make us good. For had He chosen us, because He foreknew that we should be good, He would have foreknown also that we should first choose Him, for without choosing Him we cannot be good; unless indeed he can be called good, who hath not chosen good. What then hath He chosen in them who are not good? Thou canst not say, I am chosen because I believed; for hadst thou believed in Him, thou hadst chosen Him. Nor canst thou say, Before I believed I did good works, and therefore was chosen. For what good work is there before faith? What is there for us to say then, but that we were wicked, and were chosen, that by the grace of the chosen we might become good?
AUGUSTINE. (de Prad. Sanct. c. xvii.) They are chosen then before the foundation of the world, according to that predestination by which God foreknew His future acts. They are chosen out of the world by that call whereby God fulfills what He has predestined: whom He did predestinate, them He also called. (Rom. 8:30)
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxvi. 3) Observe, He does not choose the good; but those, whom He hath chosen, He makes good: And I have ordained you that ye should go, and bring forth fruit. This is the fruit which He meant, when He said, Without Me ye can do nothing. He Himself is the way in which He hath set (ἔθηκα, posui) us to go.
GREGORY. (Hom. xxvii.) I have set you,i. e. have planted you by grace, that ye should go by will (volendo not in Vulg.); to will being to go in mind, and bring forth fruit, by works. What kind of fruit they should bring forth He then shews: And that your fruit may remain: for worldly labour hardly produces fruit to last our life: and if it does, death comes at last, and deprives us of it all. But the fruit of our spiritual labours endures even after death; and begins to be seen at the very time that the results of our carnal labour begin to disappear. Let us then produce such fruits as may remain, and of which death, which destroys every thing, will be the commencement.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxvi. 3) Love then is one fruit, now existing in desire only, not yet in fulness. Yet even with this desire whatever we ask in the name of the Only-Begotten Son, the Father giveth us: That whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He may give it you. We ask in the Saviour’s name, whatever we ask, that will be profitable to our salvation.
17. These things I command you, that ye love one another.
18. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
21. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxvii. 1) Our Lord had said, I have ordained that ye should walk, and bring forth fruit. Love is this fruit. Wherefore He proceeds: These things I command you, that ye love one another. (Gal. 5:22) Hence the Apostle saith: The fruit of the Spirit is love; and enumerates all other graces as springing from this source. Well then doth our Lord commend love, as if it were the only thing commanded: seeing that without it nothing can profit, with it nothing be wanting, whereby a man is made good.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 2) Or thus: I have said that I lay down My life for you, and that I first chose you. I have said this not by way of reproach, but to induce you to love one another. Then as they were about to suffer persecution and reproach, He bids them not to grieve, but rejoice on that account: If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you: as if to say, I know it is a hard trial, but ye will endure it for My sake.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxvii. 2) For why should the members exalt themselves above the head? Thou refusest to be in the body, if thou art not willing, with the head, to endure the hatred of the world. For love’s sake let us be patient: the world must hate us, whom it sees hate whatever it loves; If ye were of the world, the world would love his own.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 2) As if Christ’s suffering were not consolation enough, He consoles them still further by telling them, the hatred of the world would be an evidence of their goodness; so that they ought rather to grieve if they were loved by the world: as that would be evidence of their wickedness.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxvii. 2) He saith this to the whole Church, which is often called the world; as, God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself. (2 Cor. 5:19) The whole world then is the Church, and the whole world hateth the Church. The world hateth the world, the world in enmity, the world reconciled, the defiled world, the changed world. (Tract. lxxxviii. 4.). Here it may be asked, If the wicked can be said to persecute the wicked; e. g. if impious kings, and judges, who persecute the righteous, punish murderers and adulterers also; how are we to understand our Lord’s words, If ye were of the world, the world would love his own? In this way; The world is in them who punish these offences, and the world is in them who love them. The world then hates its own so far as it punishes the wicked, loves its own so far as it favours them. (Tract. lxxxvii. 4.). Again, if it be asked how the world loves itself, when it hates the means of its redemption, the answer is, that it loves itself with a false, not a true love, loves what hurts it; hates nature, loves vice. Wherefore we are forbidden to love what it loves in itself; commanded to love what it hates in itself. The vice in it we are forbidden, the nature in it we are commanded, to love. And to separate us from this lost world, we are chosen out of it, not by merit of our own, for we had no merits to begin with, not by nature which was radically corrupt, but by grace: But because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
GREGORY. (Hom. in Ezech. ix.) For the dispraise of the perverse, is our praise. There is nothing wrong in not pleasing those, who do not please God. For no one can by one and the same act please God, and the enemies of God. He proves himself no friend to God, who pleases His enemy; and he whose soul is in subjection to the Truth, will have to contend with the enemies of that Truth.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxviii. 1) Our Lord, in exhorting His servants to bear patiently the hatred of the world, proposes to them an example than which there can be no better and higher one, viz. Himself: Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.
GLOSS. They observed1 it in order to calumniate it, as we read in the Psalms, The ungodly seeth2 the righteous.
THEOPHYLACT. Or thus: If, Me says, they have persecuted your Lord, much more will they persecute you; if they had persecuted Him, but kept His commandments, they would keep yours also.
CHRYSOSTOM. As if He said, Ye must not be disturbed at having to share My sufferings; for ye are not better than I.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxviii. 1) The servant is not greater than his Lord. Here the servant is the one who has the purified fear, which abideth for ever.
CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. lxxvii. 2) Then follows another consolation, viz. that the Father is despised and injured with them: But all these things will they do unto you for My name’s sake, because they know not Him that sent Me.
AUGUSTINE. (Tract. lxxxviii. 2) All these things, viz. what He had mentioned, that the world would hate them, persecute them, despise their word. For My Name’s sake, i. e. in you they will hate Me, in you persecute Me, your word they will not keep, because it is mine. They who do these things for His name’s sake are as miserable, as they who suffer them are blessed: except when they do them to the wicked as well; for then both they who do, and they who suffer, are miserable. But how do they do all these things for His name’s sake, when they do nothing for Christ’s name’s sake, i. e. for justice sake? We shall do away with this difficulty, if we take the words as applying to the righteous; as if it were, All these things will ye suffer from them, for My name’s sake. If, for My name’s sake, mean this, i. e. My name which they hate in you, justice which they hate in you; of the good, when they persecute the wicked, it may be said in the same way, that they do so both for righteousness’ sake, which they love, which love is their motive in persecuting, and for unrighteousness’ sake, the unrighteousness of the wicked, which they hate. Because they know not Him that sent Me, i. e. know not according to that knowledge of which it is said, To know Thee is perfect righteousness. (Wisd. 15:3)
The first act of the apostles after the Ascension of Jesus was to find a replacement for Judas. With all the questions, doubts, and dangers facing them, they chose to focus their attention on finding a twelfth apostle. Why was this important? Twelve was a very important number to the Chosen People: twelve was the number of the twelve tribes of Israel. If the new Israel was to come from the disciples of Jesus, a twelfth apostle was needed.
But Jesus had chosen the original twelve. How could they know whom he would choose? 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.
Peter had one criterion, that, like Andrew, James, John, and himself, the new apostle be someone who had been a disciple from the very beginning, from his baptism by John until the Ascension. The reason for this was simple, the new apostle would must become a witness to Jesus' resurrection. He must have followed Jesus before anyone knew him, stayed with him when he made enemies, and believed in him when he spoke of the cross and of eating his body -- teachings that had made others melt away.
Two men fit this description -- Matthias and Joseph called Barsabbas. They knew that both these men had been with them and with Jesus through his whole ministry. But which one had the heart to become a witness to his resurrection. The apostles knew that only the Lord could know what was in the heart of each. They cast lots in order to discover God's will and Matthias was chosen. He was the twelfth apostle and the group was whole again as they waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
That's the first we hear of Matthias in Scripture, and the last. Legends like the Acts of Andrew and Matthias testify to Matthias' enthusiastic embrace of all that being an apostle meant including evangelization, persecution, and death in the service of the Lord.
The tradition of the Greeks says that St. Matthias planted the faith about Cappadocia and on the coasts of the Caspian Sea, residing chiefly near the port Issus.
According to Nicephorus (Historia eccl., 2, 40), Matthias first preached the Gospel in Judaea, then in Aethiopia (by the region of Colchis, now in modern-day Georgia) and was crucified. An extant Coptic Acts of Andrew and Matthias, places his activity similarly in "the city of the cannibals" in Aethiopia.
A marker placed in the ruins of the Roman fortress at Gonio (Apsaros) in the modern Georgian region of Adjara claims that Matthias is buried at that site.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (To the Greater Glory of God)
From: Acts 1:15-17, 20-26
The Election of Matthias
 In those days Peter stood up among the brethren (the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty), and said,  "Brethren, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David, concerning Judas who was guide to 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 habitation become desolate, and let there be no one to live in it'; and 'His office let another take.'
 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 up from us--one of these men must become with us a witness to His resurrection."
 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.  And they prayed and said, "Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two Thou hast chosen  to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside, to go to his own place."  And they had cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was enrolled with the eleven Apostles.
15-23. "Peter is the ardent and impetuous Apostle to whom Christ entrusted the care of His flock; and since he is first in dignity, he is the first to speak" (Chrysostom, "Hom. on Acts", 3).
Here we see Peter performing his ministry. Events will make for the gradual manifestation of the supreme role of government which Christ entrusted to him. His is a ministry of service--he is the "servus servorum Dei", the servant of the servants of God--a ministry given to none other, different from all other ministries in the Church. Peter will carry it out in solidarity with his brothers in the Apostolate and in close contact with the whole Church represented here in the 120 brethren around him.
This account of Peter with the other Apostles and disciples all brought together is described by St. John Chrysostom in these words: "Observe the admirable prudence of St. Peter. He begins by quoting the authority of a prophet and does not say, 'My own word suffices,' so far is he from any thought of pride. But he seeks nothing less that the election of a 12th Apostle and he presses for this. His entire behavior shows the degree of his authority and that he understood the apostolic office of government not as a position of honor but as a commitment to watch over the spiritual health of those under him.
"The disciples were one hundred and twenty, and Peter asks for one of these. But he it is who proposes the election and exercises the principal authority because he has been entrusted with the care of all" ("Hom. on Acts", 3).
21-22. The Apostles are witnesses "par excellence" of Jesus' public life. The Church is "apostolic" because it relies on the solid testimony of people specially chosen to live with our Lord, witnessing His works and listening to His words. The twelve Apostles certify that Jesus of Nazareth and the risen Lord are one and the same person and that the words and actions of Jesus preserved and passed by the Church are indeed truly reported.
Everyone who maintains unity with the Pope and bishops in communion with him maintains unity with the Apostles and, through them, with Jesus Christ Himself. "Orthodox teaching has been conserved by being passed on successively since the time of the Apostles and so it has remained up to the present in all the churches. Therefore, only that teaching can be considered true which offers no discord with ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition" (Origen, "De Principiis", Preface, 2). See the note on Acts 1:26.
24-26. Verses 24-25 record the first prayer of the Church, which is linked with what we were told in verse 14--"all these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer"--and shows the disciples' firm belief that God rules over all things and all events and looks after the Church in a very special way.
The Christian community leaves in God's hands the choice as to who will fill the empty place in the Twelve. It does this by using traditional Hebrew method of casting lots, the outcome of which will reveal God's will. This method of divining God's will is to be found quite a number of times in the Old Testament (cf. 1 Samuel 14:41f); its use was restricted to Levites, to prevent it degenerating into a superstitious practice. In casting lots the Jews used dice, sticks, pieces of paper, etc. each bearing the name of the candidate for an office, or of people suspected of having committed some crime, etc. Lots were cast as often as necessary to fill the number of places to be filled or the suspected number of criminals.
In this instance they decide to cast lots because they consider that God has already made His choice and all that remains is for Him to make His will known: His decision can be ascertained unerringly by using this simple human device. This method of appointing people, borrowed from Judaism, did not continue to be used in the church for very long.
Now that Matthias has been appointed the Twelve is complete again. The Apostolic College is now ready to receive the Holy Spirit whom Jesus promised to send, and to go on to bear universal witness to the Good News.
26. St. Luke usually applies the term "apostles" only to the Twelve (cf., for example, Acts 6:6), or the Eleven plus Peter, who appears as head of the Apostolic College (cf. 2:14). Except in Acts 14:14, Luke never describes St. Paul as an Apostle--not because he minimizes Paul's role (indeed, half the chapters of Acts deal with Paul) but because he reserves to the Twelve the specific function of being witnesses to our Lord's life on earth.
This apostolic character or apostolicity is one of the marks of the true Church of Christ--a Church built, by the express wish of its Founder, on the solid basis of the Twelve.
The "St. Pius V Catechism" (I, 10, 17) teaches that "the true Church is also to be recognized from her origin, which can be traced back under the law of grace to the Apostles; for her doctrine is the truth not recently given, nor now first heard of, but delivered of old by the Apostles, and disseminated throughout the entire world. [...] That all, therefore, might know which was the Catholic Church, the Fathers, guided by the Spirit of God, added to the Creed the word 'apostolic'. For the Holy Spirit, who presides over the Church, governs her by no other ministers than those of apostolic succession. This Spirit, first imparted to the Apostles, has by the infinite goodness of God always continued in the Church."
The principal role of the Apostles is to be witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus (cf. 1:22). They perform it through the ministry of the word (6:4), which takes various forms, such as preaching to the people (cf. 2:14-40; 3:12-26; 4:2, 33; 5:20-21), teaching the disciples within the Christian community itself (2:42), and declarations uttered fearlessly against the enemies and persecutors of the Gospel of Jesus (4:5-31; 5;27-41). Like the word of the Lord, that of the Apostles is supported by signs and wonders, which render visible the salvation which they proclaim (2:14-21, 43; 3:1-11, 16; 4:8-12, 30; 5:12, 15-16; 9:31-43).
The Twelve also perform a role of government in the Church. When the members of the community at Jerusalem give up their property to help their brothers in need, they lay the money "at the Apostles' feet" (4:35). When the Hellenist Christians need to be reassured, the Twelve summon the assembly to establish the ministry of the diaconate (6:2). When Saul goes up to Jerusalem after his conversion, he is introduced to the Apostles by Barnabas (9:26-28). The Apostles quite evidently exercise an authority given them by our Lord who invested them with untransferable responsibilities and duties connected with service to the entire Church.
The Apostles also intervene outside Jerusalem as guarantors of internal and external unity, which is also an essential distinguishing mark of the Church. After Philip baptizes some Samaritans, the Apostles Peter and John travel from Jerusalem to give them the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands (8:14-17).
After the baptism of the pagan Cornelius, the Apostles study the situation with Peter, to ascertain more exactly the designs of God and the details of the new economy of salvation (11:1-18). Apropos of the debate in Antioch about the circumcision of baptized pagans, the community decides to consult the Apostles (15:2) to obtain a final decision on this delicate matter.
Most of St. Luke's attention is concentrated on the figure of Peter, whom he mentions 56 times in Acts. Peter is always the center of those scenes or episodes in which he appears with other Apostles or disciples. In matters to do with the community at Jerusalem Peter acts as the spokesman of the Twelve (2:14, 37; 5:29) and plays a key role in the opening up of the Gospel to pagans.
The College of the twelve Apostles, whose head is Peter, endures in the Episcopacy of the Church, whose head is the Pope, the bishop of Rome, successor of Peter and vicar of Jesus Christ. The Second Vatican Council proposes this once again when it teaches that the "Lord Jesus, having prayed at length to the Father, called to Himself those whom He willed and appointed twelve to be with Him, whom He might send to preach the Kingdom of God (cf. Mark 3:13-19; Matthew 10:1-42). These Apostles (cf. Luke 6:13) He constituted in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which He placed Peter, chosen from among them (cf. John 21:15-17)" ("Lumen Gentium", 19).
"Just as, in accordance with the Lord's decree, St. Peter and the rest of the Apostles constitute a unique apostolic college, so in like fashion the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, and the bishops, the successors of the Apostles, are related and united to one another. [...]
"In it the bishops, whilst loyally respecting the primacy and pre-eminence of their head, exercise their own proper authority for the good of their faithful, indeed even for the good of the whole Church, the organic structure and harmony of which are strengthened by the continued influence of the Holy Spirit. The supreme authority over the whole Church, which this college possesses, is exercised in a solemn way in an ecumenical council. [...] And it is the prerogative of the Roman Pontiff to convoke such councils, to preside over them and to confirm them" ("ibid.", 22).
The Vine and the Branches (Continuation)
(Jesus said to His disciples,)  "As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.  These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
The Law of Love
 "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  You are My friends if you do what I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you.  This I command you, to love one another."
9-11. Christ's love for Christians is a reflection of the love the Three Divine Persons have for one another and for all men: "We love, because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19).
The certainty that God loves us is the source of Christian joy (verse 11), but it is also something which calls for a fruitful response on our part, which should take the form of a fervent desire to do God's will in everything, that is, to keep His commandments, in imitation of Jesus Christ, who did the will of His Father (cf. John 4:34).
12-15. Jesus insists on the "new commandment", which He Himself keeps by giving His life for us. See note on John 13:34-35.
Christ's friendship with the Christian, which our Lord expresses in a very special way in this passage, is something very evident in [St] Monsignor Escriva de Balaguer's preaching: "The life of the Christian who decides to behave in accordance with the greatness of his vocation is so to speak a prolonged echo of those words of our Lord, `No longer do I call you My servants; a servant is one who does not understand what his master is about, whereas I have made known to you all that My Father has told Me; and so I have called you My friends' (John 15:15). When we decide to be docile and follow the will of God, hitherto unimagined horizons open up before us.... `There is nothing better than to recognize that Love has made us slaves of God. From the moment we recognize this we cease being slaves and become friends, sons' (St J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 35).
"Sons of God, FRIENDS OF GOD.... Jesus is truly God and truly Man, He is our Brother and our Friend. If we make the effort to get to know Him well `we will share in the joy of being God's friends' ["ibid.", 300]. If we do all we can to keep Him company, from Bethlehem to Calvary, sharing His joys and sufferings, we will become worthy of entering into loving conversation with Him. As the Liturgy of the Hours sings, "calicem Domini biberunt, et amici Dei facti sunt" (they drank the chalice of the Lord and so became friends of God).
"Being His children and His friends are two inseparable realities for those who love God. We go to Him as children, carrying on a trusting dialogue that should fill the whole of our lives; and we go to Him as friends.... In the same way our divine sonship urges us to translate the overflow of our interior life into apostolic activity, just as our friendship with God leads us to place ourselves at `the service of all men. We are called to use the gifts God has given us as instruments to help others discover Christ' ["ibid.", 258]" (Monsignor A. del Portillo in his preface to St J. Escriva's, "Friends of God").
16. There are three ideas contained in these words of our Lord. One, that the calling which the Apostles received and which every Christian also receives does not originate in the individual's good desires but in Christ's free choice. It was not the Apostles who chose the Lord as Master, in the way someone would go about choosing a rabbi; it was Christ who chose them. The second idea is that the Apostles' mission and the mission of every Christian is to follow Christ, to seek holiness and to contribute to the spread of the Gospel. The third teaching refers to the effectiveness of prayer done in the name of Christ; which is why the Church usually ends the prayers of the liturgy with the invocation "Through Jesus Christ our Lord...".
The three ideas are all interconnected: prayer is necessary if the Christian life is to prove fruitful, for it is God who gives the growth (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:7); and the obligation to seek holiness and to be apostolic derives from the fact that it is Christ Himself who has given us this mission. "Bear in mind, son, that you are not just a soul who has joined other souls in order to do a good thing.
"That is a lot, but it's still little. You are the Apostle who is carrying out an imperative command from Christ" (St J. Escriva, "The Way", 942).
|English: Douay-Rheims||Latin: Vulgata Clementina||Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)|
|9.||As the Father hath loved me, I also have loved you. Abide in my love.||Sicut dilexit me Pater, et ego dilexi vos. Manete in dilectione mea.||καθως ηγαπησεν με ο πατηρ καγω ηγαπησα υμας μεινατε εν τη αγαπη τη εμη|
|10.||If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; as I also have kept my Father's commandments, and do abide in his love.||Si præcepta mea servaveritis, manebitis in dilectione mea, sicut et ego Patris mei præcepta servavi, et maneo in ejus dilectione.||εαν τας εντολας μου τηρησητε μενειτε εν τη αγαπη μου καθως εγω τας εντολας του πατρος μου τετηρηκα και μενω αυτου εν τη αγαπη|
|11.||These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be filled.||Hæc locutus sum vobis : ut gaudium meum in vobis sit, et gaudium vestrum impleatur.||ταυτα λελαληκα υμιν ινα η χαρα η εμη εν υμιν μεινη και η χαρα υμων πληρωθη|
|12.||This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.||Hoc est præceptum meum, ut diligatis invicem, sicut dilexi vos.||αυτη εστιν η εντολη η εμη ινα αγαπατε αλληλους καθως ηγαπησα υμας|
|13.||Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.||Majorem hac dilectionem nemo habet, ut animam suam ponat qui pro amicis suis.||μειζονα ταυτης αγαπην ουδεις εχει ινα τις την ψυχην αυτου θη υπερ των φιλων αυτου|
|14.||You are my friends, if you do the things that I command you.||Vos amici mei estis, si feceritis quæ ego præcipio vobis.||υμεις φιλοι μου εστε εαν ποιητε οσα εγω εντελλομαι υμιν|
|15.||I will not now call you servants: for the servant knoweth not what his lord doth. But I have called you friends: because all things whatsoever I have heard of my Father, I have made known to you.||Jam non dicam vos servos : quia servus nescit quid faciat dominus ejus. Vos autem dixi amicos : quia omnia quæcumque audivi a Patre meo, nota feci vobis.||ουκετι υμας λεγω δουλους οτι ο δουλος ουκ οιδεν τι ποιει αυτου ο κυριος υμας δε ειρηκα φιλους οτι παντα α ηκουσα παρα του πατρος μου εγνωρισα υμιν|
|16.||You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you; and have appointed you, that you should go, and should bring forth fruit; and your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.||Non vos me elegistis, sed ego elegi vos, et posui vos ut eatis, et fructum afferatis, et fructus vester maneat : ut quodcumque petieritis Patrem in nomine meo, det vobis.||ουχ υμεις με εξελεξασθε αλλ εγω εξελεξαμην υμας και εθηκα υμας ινα υμεις υπαγητε και καρπον φερητε και ο καρπος υμων μενη ινα ο τι αν αιτησητε τον πατερα εν τω ονοματι μου δω υμιν|
|17.||These things I command you, that you love one another.||Hæc mando vobis : ut diligatis invicem.||ταυτα εντελλομαι υμιν ινα αγαπατε αλληλους|
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