St. Matthias was chosen to take the place of Judas as the twelfth Apostle. Christianity had to be the equal of Judaism with its twelve patriarchs, the sons of Jacob. We know nothing more about Matthias.
I knew a priest named Matthias, and I might as well talk about him. There were only forty students spread over the six years in our major seminary. However, we had la larger number of students in our Irish seminary. One year the powers that be decided they would send some of the Irish boys over to study with us. Matthias Keane was two years behind me. He had a most charming appearance, but one day I found that he had a temper that was hard for him to control.
I became aware of Mattie’s temper in a soccer match when I came up from behind him as he was dribbling the ball toward the goal. Slipping around, I took the ball off him, turning it toward the goal my side was shooting for. As I sped up the field with the ball I heard Mattie’s feet pounding after me. It got to be a little menacing, so I was happy when I could pass the ball off to a forward on my team.
Even though I had gotten rid of the ball, I could still feel Mattie pounding hard after me. In anger, he chased me a hundred yards off the field. At last I stopped, and turned, pleading, “Mattie!” With that he came to, and he apologized for losing his temper.
Fifteen years later I was chancellor of our diocese in Korea, and Father Keane was the diocesan bookkeeper. With his temper often getting the better of him, he did not fit in well at parish work. Even at headquarters Mattie had something to set him off. There was a Sister Madeleine who was bookkeeper for the Irish sisters who ran a dispensary near us. Although she got on Mattie’s nerves, she kept making overtures to us. Our bishop was off on business in the States, but before he left he gave Sister Madeleine permission to run a cooking school for Korean girls in our kitchen.
Every day they prepared something special to try out on Mattie and me, but Mattie, as a meat-and-potato Irishman, hated it all. The girls would take turns peeking at us through a little window in the door, but Mattie never pleased them.
One evening as we sat at the table, spreading the napkins on our laps, two girls put before us plates bearing hardy shish kabobs. Skewered together the sticks held rich pieces of lamb, separated by roasted tomatoes and onions.
Having never seen anything like it in Ireland, Mattie sat, fuming as the girls and Sister Madeleine took turns viewing us from the window. At last, Mattie took one end of the skewer in his left fist, then sticking his fork under the bottom piece of lamb, he ripped his fork upward. Crying, “Holy Janie Mack!” he sent everything on the skewer flyng up above the dining table. Then. He stomped back to his room.Mattie was given the job of bookkeeper for a church headquarters in Manchester England. And of all things, Sister Madeleine was assigned to the same house. Mattie died short of fifty. That temper was too heavy a cross for him to carry any longer.