14th May 2021
YOU DID NOT CHOOSE ME, I CHOSE YOU
Acts 1:15-17, 20-26
After Judas had betrayed Jesus, the twelve apostles that Jesus chose had been reduced to eleven. It was important to preserve the number twelve because that number had great significance. There were twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve whom Jesus selected were the nucleus of the new Israel, the new people of God that would consist of Jews and non-Jews.
Having nominated two candidates, Barsabbas and Matthias, they turn in prayer to the Lord and ask him, ‘show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this ministry and apostolate, which Judas abandoned’. They used their judgement to narrow the field down to two, but they needed the Lord’s guidance to make the final choice. They wanted their choice to be in harmony with the Lord’s choice. They finally chose Matthias whose feast we celebrate today.
Their question was not just ‘Who should we choose?’ but ‘Who is the Lord choosing?’ In the gospel reading, Jesus says to his disciples, John 15:16: ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit’. Again the Lord’s choice of his disciples takes priority over their choice of him.
What Jesus says to his disciples there, he says to all of us, ‘I chose you’. The Lord’s choice of us is prior to all else. The Lord loves us first and our love of him is in response to his love of us. The Lord’s initiative towards us is there before our initiative towards him.
If God chose us first, it can only mean that; all our talents, any position that we have, in Church or in the secular society, any privilege that we have, come from God. They do not originate from us, but from the one who chose us first. All that we have, we owe to God’s sovereign goodness, and we are bound to devote all to His service.
May we endeavour to serve God by becoming a big tree of blessings to others; “You did not choose me; I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide.” John 15:16. Just like Matthias, God has chosen all the baptised to work for the redemption of the world by becoming instruments of peace, reconciliation and progress.
My dear friend, may you recognize that you are second to none; God created you with a purpose, God has a plan for you. You are the chosen one of God. May you open your heart and allow God to use you to spread his love, “This I command you, to love one another,” John 15:17.