Acts 1:15-17, 20-26
Today we celebrate the feast of the apostle Matthias. He took the place of Judas, who killed himself. Betraying Jesus was perhaps the worst action ever done in the history of the world. Nevertheless, if Judas had actually been sorry for what he did, he would have gone to Jesus and begged his forgiveness. Who can doubt that Jesus would have forgiven him? No, Judas was not sorry for what he did; he was only sorry for himself. He regretted doing it, but, instead of asking for forgiveness, he committed suicide. He was a selfish person beginning to end: he stole from the poor; he sold out his friend and teacher for 30 pieces of silver; and when he regretted his action, feeling sorry for himself, he killed himself.
There are many lessons we can learn from Judas. We ought to learn to hate money, since it was his love of money that caused him to sin. When a person falls in love with money, they will do anything for the right price. Every person ought to look at their own heart, and if they see there a love for money, even a little love for money, they ought to ruthlessly burn that evil love out of their heart.
Second, we ought to learn that there is no problem that can be solved with suicide. Perhaps, from Judas’s perspective, it looked like his only option, but, from the outside, we can clearly see what he ought to have done: gone straight to Jesus, which is our third lesson. When you sin, go straight to Jesus; go to the priests whom Jesus has appointed for confession, confess your sins, and be forgiven.
And our fourth lesson, we draw from the Scriptures today: you could easily be replaced. Judas belonged to the twelve, the most exclusive group in the history of humanity. Today the apostles hold a very high place in heaven. When Judas gave up his prominent rank, God replaced him easily. God has a mission for each one of us. He has a plan for your life and a plan for my life. But if we choose not to follow God, we can be replaced. When we serve God, it is not because he needs our help, but in order to give us dignity. God’s plans are going to be fulfilled with or without us. He can use Judas or he can use Matthias. For our sake, let us be on the right side of history, God’s side.