May 13, 2018
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Happy Mother’s Day! May God bring to all our mothers, grandmothers and those in mothering roles eternal joy!
Our reading from the Acts of the Apostles this weekend is puzzling, primarily because of the method by which they chose the successor to Judas. They did so by casting lots! But it’s also enlightening in a number ways. First, they saw their roles as holding an office that would live beyond their own lives. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have to replace Judas.
Often, when we think of Jesus with His band of disciples, we think of the twelve. But clearly, there were others like Justus and Matthias who were there from the time of the Baptist to the Ascension. Peter quotes David’s Psalm 109, “May another take His office,” when referring to the vacancy left by Judas. The Greek word for office is episkope, so Peter is saying, “Let someone take his‘office as bishop.’” Therefore, even though Judas was a sinner, the apostles recognized that someone needed to take his role as bishop.
While it makes sense that they would pray that the Lord would show them who to choose, it seems irrational that they would want to cast lots. Is this some kind of early Catholic gambling? Why not just vote as the cardinals do today during a papal conclave? Well, they actually cast lots for a very biblical reason, and this is really fascinating! If we turn to 1 Chronicles 24, we discover that in the Old Testament during the time of King David, the divisions of the priesthood were actually assigned by the casting of lots. They would cast lots to discern the will of the Lord as to who would take the place of these various priestly offices. We see this early in the New Testament in the first chapter of Luke. We are told that it fell to Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, “by lot” to go into the temple at the time of incense and to offer the incense in the holy place, which was a very special kind of distinguished priestly activity. This reveals that the apostles did not see themselves as gamblers but as true consecrated priests. Luke, author of both the Gospel and Acts, wants us to see that just as David ordered the priests of the Old Covenant by lots, so Christ, through Peter, orders the priests of the New Covenant by God’s choice, therefore as ordained priests in Christ by God!
Catechism Question of the Week: Which of the following are true? Devotion to the Blessed Mother: A) Obscures and diminishes the unique mediation of Christ; B) Is the same as the adoration which is given to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; C) Is intrinsic to Christian worship; D) Recognizes her role in continuing to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation (see CCC 967-971)
With family, friends and those you meet, please discuss the following Question of the Week: Do I believe that Jesus is sending me? What gifts of the Spirit do I need?
In Christ’s Peace,
Rev. Leo M. Goodman III