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The Feast of the Blessed Apostle Saint Matthias, 2012

 

Eusebius calls him by a different name, Tolmai

(but not the Tolmai to which Bartholomew was son).

 

Nicephorus has him preaching his way across Aethiopia,

dying by crucifixion.  But

 

Aethiopia did not only mean Abyssinia as in Africa, but rather also

Georgia, as in Caucasia: home to ‘barbarians and meat-eaters’ –

 

– See, hominibus barbariset carnivoris praedicavit in

the Synopsis by St. Dorotheus (of Tyre –

not St. Dorotheos of Gaza – a century or so later).

 

Dorotheus has Matthias

dead and buried, in Sebastopolis.

 

The Copts have him in trouble in ‘the city of cannibals’.

Others have him stoned in old Jerusalem.

 

Hippolytus, in Rome, says no; says Matthias died simply

of old age and common complaints, in the vicinity

of the Holy Sepulchre.

 

Clement says some said he wasn’t Matthias at all,

But Zacchaeus; though to Clement, Matthias seems more

a Barnabas.

 

Hilgenfeld of Tübingen, following Hegel, post-Reformation,

turns Matthias into the Nathaniel

of the Fourth Gospel.

 

He was elected: by the casting of lots.

 

He was not chosen: by Christ.

 

Though he followed Christ,

from His beginning to His end,

and beyond.

 

Christ had chosen Judas, the Iscariot, who

would have it seems been better not born.

 

But then Passion, Crucifixion, Resurrection,

Ascension would have been thwarted:

 

And without the conquest of Death,

and the opening of tombs

of Patriarchs, plus Adam and Eve,

no Paraclete: no Pentecost:

 

no Divine creativity far into our Future.

 

Judas died: suicide…

 

And a replacement was crucial

to keep to the number Twelve, and so

two were picked and presented

to the assembled.  Lots were cast:

And Matthias was picked; and

Joseph called Barsabbas (a.k.a. Justus)

went away, to be a bishop, somewhere,

and a saint.

 

But Matthias, chosen accordingly by his peers,

was left with an entire ensuing narrative, that,

according to the Catholic Encyclopedia,

circa 1917, is – ‘without historical value’.

 

Still he, Matthias –  ‘gift of Yahweh’ – is honored

today: and that is enough of a lesson for us all

to sift through.

 

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