This Saturday, 14th May, is the Feast of the apostle Matthias, who was chosen to take the place of Judas after his suicide. Acts 1: 15-26 tells the story. “Lord, you can read everyone’s heart; shows us therefore which of these two you have chosen.” This first public prayer of the Church begged God to reveal the man who was to take Judas’s place after his betrayal of the Lord and suicide. Matthias, whose name literally means ‘gift of God’, was chosen rather than Joseph Barsabas. According to St. Clement of Alexandria, Matthias was one of the 72 disciples that Jesus sent out (Lk 10: 1). He received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and then joined the Twelve as a privileged witness to the Resurrection of the Lord. He is said to have preached first in Judea, then later to have worked in Cappadocia and near the Caspian Sea. There is also a tradition which links him to Ethiopia. In art, his usual emblem is an axe which was regarded as the instrument of his martyrdom. May St. Matthias pray for us today and fill us with the joy and hope of the Lord’s resurrection and ascension.