“'He must increase, I must decrease' – John the Baptist
(Gospel Text: Jn 16:29-33)
The disciples said to Jesus, “Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech. Now we realize that you know everything and that you do not need to have anyone question you. Because of this we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now? Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived when each of you will be scattered to his own home and you will leave me alone. But I am not alone, because the Father is with me. I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”
Most symphony orchestras consist of nearly a hundred musicians playing a variety of instruments. Strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion sections work together to produce complex, beautiful music. Each instrumentalist plays an integral part in making the pieces come to life. Some of these musicians, like the first violinist, get a good share of the limelight, while others tend to play in the background. Still, if just one instrument were to be omitted, people would notice the difference.
Today, the Church remembers the day when the Apostles chose the disciple of Jesus, Matthias, who was to replace Judas Iscariot. Today's feast of St. Matthias gives us a particular window into the hidden life of a saint. Not many people know who St Matthais was. He lived a “hidden life”, doing God’s work and not drawing attention to himself. Eventually, he died a martyr for his heroic witness to the life of Christ and received a crown of glory in heaven.
The “hidden life” of many saints is shared by countless everyday people all over the world. The middle-aged, unmarried woman who dutifully cares for her aged mother, but whose sacrifices and devotion remain largely hidden from her neighbors. The loving parents of the autistic boy who will care for him for his entire life, and whose worries and heartaches remain unknown to their friends. The single mother in the inner city working two jobs to provide an education for her children, and whose tiring night shifts are still, after many years, a secret to her daytime co-workers. Countless hidden lives of love and service for others. The day-to-day pouring out of oneself (like a “libation”, as St Paul says) for God. And it astonishes me how many of these people embrace their hidden lives of service with joy
History may not recall these names or these deeds—but God will. He rejoices over every good deed done in his name. For those people who live “hidden lives” of service, remember, you have a friend in St. Matthais.