Saint Matthias

Jesus said “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” What does this kind of love look like? Jesus loved as he was loved by being faithful until death, foolishly hanging on a cross until his assigned work was finished. And this is not in any way conditional, for he said, “forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

There is great tension between the commandment to love, and the hard work involved in love's practice. We are to live in the midst of the process like St Matthias, called not because he was right but simply because he was faithful. Chosen by lot to stand in the gap left by Judas the betrayer of Jesus, Matthias in his faithfulness was not merely a space filler. He may have been chosen to stand in place for Judas because Judas at the moment could not stand for himself. Standing for those who have gone their own way, who cannot or will not stand for themselves is a direct participation in the passion of Jesus, who did not save himself but hung there for all of us who cannot save ourselves. Hope, not certainty, is the essential discipline, and it is what this feast calls us into.

Jesus said, “I have said these things to you that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” This joy comes into its fullness not by existential certainty, not by exaction of human justice and the closure it seems to effect, not by efficient problem-solving, but only by holy risk. This is the risk of trust, the risk of waiting, the risk of submission to the crucified one whose cross in faith we must also take up.

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