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Witness to His Resurrection - Weekday Homily Video

Witness to His Resurrection - Weekday Homily Video

Why pray?

Today we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Matthias the Apostle. He was not among the first twelve Apostles of Jesus, but was a substitute for Judas Iscariot who committed suicide after betraying Jesus, decreasing the number of Apostles to eleven. The number twelve was important in Israel because it symbolized the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve divisions of the priestly order, and the twelve doors of the temple in Jerusalem. The number twelve symbolized completeness and perfection.



When St. Peter stood up to speak about the kind of person they needed to fill the vacancy, he laid down the essential qualification of that person—he needed to be one of those who had been in their company all the time that the Lord Jesus moved among them. In other words, he needed to have been a witness to the ministry and the resurrection of Jesus.

Likely such a person must have left his own home and occupation to faithfully follow Jesus. Such a candidate must have heard Jesus preach, seen Jesus heal the sick, cast out demons, make the lame walk, make the blind see, raise the dead, and seen Jesus miraculously feed the crowds. Such a substitute must have remained faithful to Jesus when almost everyone turned their back and no longer followed Him because of the hardness of His preaching. Such was the kind of resume they were looking for in the candidate.

Even after they found two men who fulfilled such requirements, the Apostles turned to the Lord in prayer “who knows the hearts of all” for guidance on who would be the best choice in the apostolic ministry. After prayer they cast lots to abandon the whole process entirely into the hands of God, so that it was not influenced by their subjectivity.


Personal Encounter with Christ


We learn two important lessons from the process of choosing Matthias—the first is that the selection was of one who was a witness to the ministry and the resurrection of Jesus. He was a person who had encountered Christ in his life, taken his message to heart, and believed in him as the true Son of God. Unless we have a personal encounter with Christ in our life, our Christian faith will never have a basis or a locus! Unless we encounter Christ on a personal level, our faith will only be lived as a cultural phenomenon.

This summer I have been invited to the University of Notre Dame to speak to hundreds of high school students at a conference called Notre Dame Vision 2024. The questions being addressed are simple—What is the story of your life? What is the story of Jesus? Where do these two stories meet? These are good questions for us to reflect on as well.


Prayer for Enlightenment


Secondly, we see the Apostles rely on a mixture of human judgment and prayer in the process of choosing a substitute. We can make use of our gifts and experience to make important decisions, but it is important that we entrust ourselves to the Lord in prayer for enlightenment.

May we pray for the grace to be witnesses to the message and the resurrection of Christ in our own personal lives. May we turn to Him always in prayer for enlightenment and good judgment in times of important decisions.

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About Father Fred Jenga, C.S.C.

Father Fred Jenga, C.S.C. is the President of Holy Cross Family Ministries. Father Fred, a native of Uganda, has multiple degrees including theology, philosophy, and communications. His native language is Lusoga and he speaks English, Luganda, Kiswahili, and Rutooro. He has been a teacher, researcher, author and family minister. Father Fred is committed to helping build God’s masterpiece one family at a time.