A lottery of sorts was held in today’s reading from Acts. Ever since I read the short story, “ The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson, lotteries frighten me. Treat yourself to a pre-Halloween experience of fright, the ending of the story is horrific. But the lottery in today’s reading was quite peaceful because it didn’t create a human “scapegoat” on which we project our hatred and fears, as happened in Jackson’s story.
The lottery in Acts was arranged by the remaining 11Apostles to choose a successor to Judas, the betrayer. Matthias was the chosen one to complete the apostolic team that needed 12, the number of the tribes of Israel. Even though Matthias was chosen, his path remains hidden, since little or nothing is known about him.
Each one of us was chosen by God, not through a lottery system, but through baptism, to create a unique path of gospel living and faith. YOU are called and chosen, just like Matthias, Peter, James, John, Mary, Matthew, Jude, Elizabeth, and the list goes on. And like Matthias, our unique paths will remain largely hidden. None of us will become celebrity disciples, thanks be to God!!!
But we have a path and are chosen by God to walk that path. God knows and that’s all that counts. While we will most likely remain hidden in history, as humans record and remember history, our witness will be known by God, the angels, the saints who walk with us, and most poignantly, Matthias. When we meet him in the next chapter of life, won’t it be joyous, and even fun, to hear about his journey, no longer hidden? I have no doubt it will be interesting, no less than our own, and it won’t end like Shirley Jackson’s story, thanks be to God!!
In these days of reflection, think about where your journey has led you so far. Who are the people who have made their way in your story? Be grateful for their life and love. Who are those you met for a brief moment but no longer are part of the journey? Why is this so? How have you strayed from the path through bad choices and how did you get back on track? The valleys are just as important as the mountains in our story. God’s mercy never stops surprising us!!! Write out your path, reflect, pray, let gratitude fill the crevices of your heart. Treasure your unique path of faith where all the divergent twists and turns are part of the story.
Note: if you haven’t, read “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. Maybe wait until October.