When we read the first reading for this feast day, we hear the account of the selection of Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot. The group of apostles draw lots to discover who the Lord wishes to replace ‘the betrayer’ who had abandoned his post to ‘go to his proper place.’
It is a passage full of poignancy. It is a passage in which we see the trust the apostles have in the Lord’s providence. But we also see this group of now eleven companions of Jesus, who had been with Him throughout His three years of ministry, no longer the twelve, no longer what the Lord had intended them to be. How keenly they must have felt the gap of this man who had been with them and ministered alongside them. Now no longer present and under such scandalous circumstances. What a shaky start for the early church! Jesus had chosen Judas to be a pillar in His church but he chose to abandon his responsibility because his own desires were stronger within him than the Lord’s desires for him.
So now the eleven select a replacement. For Matthias and everyone around him, he’d have been fully aware that he wasn’t the first choice for the role of apostle but now, here he was, appointed to that position.
Do all these elements hinder the Lord’s designs? Perhaps, initially, on a human level. But in the very next chapter from the book of the Acts of the Apostles we see ‘The New Twelve’ gathered together around the Blessed Virgin, and whilst they are praying with her, the One Whom the Lord promised comes down upon them. The Holy Spirit descends as fiery flames and rests on each of them, Matthias included. In the gift of the Paraclete, the Advocate, the Twelve are made new in a way that none of them could have previously imagined. The wounded Twelve are healed and strengthened beyond anything they had ever been in the past. They were no longer missing anything – quite the opposite – they were infinitely much more than they had been before, for the living God was now reigning in their hearts, binding them as one in Him.
Our wounds are never an obstacle to the Lord’s designs for us. If we trust in His providential action. If we allow Him to choose the means and methods for moving forward, He will supply the new start, the fresh beginning and recreate us way beyond our human hopes.