The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.
Year: A(I). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: White.
|In other years: St Matthias, Apostle|
He was not one of the Twelve; but after the treachery and death of Judas Iscariot, someone was needed to take his place. Two candidates were selected, and lots were drawn to see which of them should be made one of the Twelve: the choice fell on Matthias. Nothing is known for certain about his subsequent history.
Drawing lots to select a candidate for an office sounds strange to us, but it was a recognised Jewish custom: for example, the priest who was to enter the Temple sanctuary and burn incense there was not chosen by some rota but by lot. Random events, independent of any obvious natural or human cause, were seen as a direct expression of God’s will. Drawing lots was not a substitute for human decision – human beings had chosen Matthias as a candidate, human beings decided which priests were eligible on which days – but a way of putting the final choice into the hands of God.
When we attain some high or responsible position, we may be tempted to congratulate ourselves on being the best candidate for the job. We would do well to remember that we have got there because of the people we have met and the things we have found ourselves doing, and, more fundamentally, because of the gifts and talents that God has given us. These things are essentially random: like Matthias, we have been chosen by lot.
White is the colour of heaven. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate feasts of the Lord; Christmas and Easter, the great seasons of the Lord; and the saints. Not that you will always see white in church, because if something more splendid, such as gold, is available, that can and should be used instead. We are, after all, celebrating.
In the earliest centuries all vestments were white – the white of baptismal purity and of the robes worn by the armies of the redeemed in the Apocalypse, washed white in the blood of the Lamb. As the Church grew secure enough to be able to plan her liturgy, she began to use colour so that our sense of sight could deepen our experience of the mysteries of salvation, just as incense recruits our sense of smell and music that of hearing. Over the centuries various schemes of colour for feasts and seasons were worked out, and it is only as late as the 19th century that they were harmonized into their present form.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||(1 Corinthians 15:3-5) ©|
Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the scriptures; he was buried; and he was raised to life on the third day, in accordance with the scriptures. He appeared first to Cephas and secondly to the Twelve.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Ephesians 2:4-6 ©|
God loved us with so much love that he was generous with his mercy: when we were dead through our sins, he brought us to life with Christ – it is through grace that you have been saved – and raised us up with him and gave us a place with him in heaven, in Christ Jesus.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Romans 6:4 ©|
When we were baptised we went into the tomb with him and joined him in death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glory, we too might live a new life.