I shall walk in the path of freedom for I seek your precepts.
I will speak of your will before kings and not be abashed.
An old friend of mine passed away on Monday. Chuck Muncie, Cal football star, NFL player and like-minded and similarly afflicted friend died of a heart attack at age 60. He was a man who wanted to be a big shot, a football hero, a superstar and instead he ended up living the kind of quiet life that influences so many. No one was hounding him for photo opportunities during his later years but there were a bunch of kids who did not do wrong because he showed them what lay in store for them if they do. He was a good man.
I thought of him in relation to St Matthias, the guy chosen to replace Judas by the Apostles. I can imagine him standing there, all ready to do one thing (his plan for his life) when suddenly he is thrust into a brand new role.
Not a lot is known about this early saint. Some say he was a martyr, others that he died of old age in Jerusalem.
The Synopsis of Dorotheus contains this tradition:
Matthias in interiore Æthiopia, ubi Hyssus maris portus et Phasis fluvius est, hominibus barbaris et carnivoris praedicavit Evangelium. Mortuus est autem in Sebastopoli, ibique prope templum Solis sepultus. ("Matthias preached the Gospel to barbarians and meat-eaters in the interior of Ethiopia, where the sea harbor of Hyssus is, at the mouth of the river Phasis. He died at Sebastopolis, and was buried there, near the Temple of the Sun.")
What I imagine is an early disciple of Our Lord, content to follow him and be taught by The Apostles. Suddenly, his name is thrown into the hat for a big job and the guy must have been thinking, 'What happened here? I just left to go get some water and suddenly I'm an Apostle?".
Ok so maybe he was more gracious than that; who knows? What made me connect Matthias with Chuck is the idea that they both started off with an idea of what their lives would be like and neither one of them came even close to hitting the mark. However, the very talents and personality that made the one dream seem feasible made their eventual reality possible.
Maybe that is how we all need to walk this path.