I Chose And Appointed You To Bear Fruit
Matthias, meaning in simple terms ‘Gift from God’ in Hebrew, was elected by the apostles to replace Judas, the traitor, because he had been a disciple of Jesus from the very beginning, from the time when Jesus was baptized by John until the ascension. His qualification was, then, that he could witness to the risen Christ. And so should we.
1 Reading: ACTS 1:15-17, 20-26
Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers and sisters (there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons in the one place). He said, “My brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand through the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus. Judas was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry. For it is written in the Book of Psalms: Let his encampment become desolate, and may no one dwell in it. and: May another take his office. Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection.” So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.” Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the Eleven Apostles.
Responsorial Psalm: 113:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
R. (8) The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people. or: R. Alleluia.
Praise, you servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD
both now and forever. R.
From the rising to the setting of the sun
is the name of the LORD to be praised.
High above all nations is the LORD;
above the heavens is his glory. R.
Who is like the LORD, our God, who is enthroned on high
and looks upon the heavens and the earth below? R.
He raises up the lowly from the dust;
from the dunghill he lifts up the poor
To seat them with princes,
with the princes of his own people. R.
Alleluia John 15:16
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I chose you from the world,
to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: John 15:9-17
Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. “I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”
Today’s reading is about the same as yesterday’s. Let’s take a different part of it. “The servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” This is another of those texts that you just have to come back to and stay with. There is little you can say by way of commentary. If there is anything to be said, let Meister Eckhart say it: “God needs our friendship so much that He cannot wait for us to pray to Him: He approaches us and begs us to be His friends…. So much should your love be one, for love does not wish to be anywhere but where there is likeness and oneness. Where there is a master and servant there is no peace, for there is no likeness. A woman and a man are unlike, but in love they are alike. And so scripture rightly says that God took woman from the man’s rib and side and not from the head or from the feet.”
In the gospel of today, Jesus told us: “I appointed you to bear fruit, fruit that must endure.” Be fruitful in your words and deeds, with the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.