Saint Matthias

14 May

St.Matthias could have been one of the seventy-two disciples who followed Jesus in His Ministry and who had been sent out in pairs by Jesus Himself to the places where He would be visiting. (Lk. 10, 1-23) Jesus had chosen twelve Apostles, but Judas had ceased to be one of them. When Jesus was taken up to heaven (Ascension) the remaining Apostles, under the leadership of Peter, felt that they should replace Judas, so that the number of the Apostles should remain twelve, as Jesus had determined.

Some scholars point out that the number twelve was an important number for the Chosen People as it had a strong reference to the twelve tribes of Israel.

Peter addressed about one hundred and twenty people that were gathered in the ‘Upper Room’ for prayer and reflection, before the choice of the twelfth apostle. A criteria for selection was set out. The person chosen had to be one of the disciples who had travelled with Jesus throughout His Ministry, since His Baptism by John in the Jordan and having been witness to His appearances after the Resurrection and to His Ascension.

There were two disciples who qualified fully: Matthias and Joseph Barsabbas. All those present decided not to take a vote but to cast lots after praying to God for the choice of His will.  Each name was written on two separate stones that were placed in a container, which was shaken so that one stone would fall out. The stone bearing the name of Matthias fell out. He was then accepted as one of the Twelve, and later, together with the rest of the Apostles, received the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.

Matthias began to teach the Risen Christ, not only in Jerusalem and throughout Judea but he also set out on a missionary journey to Cappadocia ( in central modern-day Turkey). He was persecuted by those who did not want to accept Jesus Christ and He was finally martyred (around 64 AD) in Colchis, a place in the Caucasus Mountains. There are different accounts of his martyrdom. He was either crucified or beheaded, a faithful apostle of Jesus Christ till the end.

The narrative of St. Matthias that is found in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, could provide an opportunity to introduce the children to this book that is attributed to St. Luke who wrote the Gospel that bears his name.

  • Take the Bible and let the children see for themselves how this Book is placed after the four Gospels.
  • Lead them to discover that while the four Gospels tell us about the life of Jesus on earth, the Acts continue to relate what happened after Jesus went up to heaven.
  • It relates the history of the early Church, the spreading of the Good News not only to the Jews but also to other people that were referred to as Gentiles.
  • Consider setting out a diagram for the children to illustrate:
  • Write JESUS CHRIST in the centre, branch out the names of the Twelve Apostles, including Matthias and also Paul as the Apostle of the Gentiles. Decorate with religious symbols.

Matthias was accepted as one of the Apostles, even though he was not one of the chosen twelve from the beginning.

Take the opportunity to talk about including others in friendship, groups, so that even if they feel closest to a friend or two, it is beneficial to be flexible in accepting others in their groups: in games, in hanging out, for outings and activities. These attitudes will help them develop social skills to avoid forming cliques especially as they near their teenage years. Cliques, at whatever age are stumbling blocks to nurture healthy attitudes towards social circles away from prejudices of culture, race, religion.

Encourage the children to talk about their experiences when they were in a group and another person was shunned from the group ~ how he/she could have felt ~ what they could have done. Role play if it helps!

Family Prayer Time.

  • Start by praying /singing The Our Father, explaining that this prayer makes us all equal as we call on God as Our Father and that makes us one family, the Family of God.
  • Spend a short quiet time when you lead the children to identify a girl/boy who is always being left out, who sits on her/his own, who seems not to belong to any friendship group.
  • Lead a silent personal prayer : 
  • What can I do to help him/her?  
  • Ask Jesus to show you how to help this child.
  • Encourage them to say out loud how they intend to do so.

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Saints of the Church. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the holy life, helping you to connect the saints to daily life in a meaningful way.