Just as the Old Covenant was founded on the twelve Patriarchs who were the twelve sons of Jacob, so the New Covenant was founded on the twelve Apostles. Where each of the Patriarchs gave birth to a tribe that took its place among God’s People, so each of the Apostles founded a separate local Christian church.
The eleven Apostles left after the defection of Judas, felt that a new Apostle needed to be chosen to found his own local Christian Church. For that, they gathered those disciples who had been with them from the beginning, Then, after praying, they drew lots, and the designated lot fell on the disciple Matthias, whom they then numbered among themselves.
I must ask your pardon for this, but on this feast of Matthias each year, I bring up the sad story of Father Matthias Keane who died at just fifty-five.
Mattie, as a charming twenty-two-year old Irish boy, was transferred to our American seminary in 1949. Then, in one of our Sunday soccer games, Mattie was happily bringing the ball down the field, when I, coming from behind, stole it from him, and began moving it down toward the other goal. With that, I began hearing Mattie breathing hard as he pounded the field after me.
Somewhat worried about that hot pursuit, I passed the ball off, but that didn’t shake Mattie from my tail. He kept running in hot pursuit even after he had chased me fifty yards off the field. Desperate, I stopped, and turning on him, shouting, “Mattie!” With that, he came out of it, and he muttered, “Sorry, Sully.”
He was sent to Korea two years after I got a parish there, but with his hot temper taking over, he didn’t do well at parish work, and the bishop thought it best to bring him into headquarters to keep our books.
I had been at the same parish for eleven years when a new bishop took me in as his secretary. Then, when he took off for a needed trip to Ireland and the States, I was left there alone with Mattie. After that first time on the soccer field, Mattie was never angry with me again. I became his close partner in contending with that temper afflicting that charming man.
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