In the first reading presented for our reflection this Sunday, taken from Saint Luke’s Acts of the Apostles, we hear about the choosing of the replacement for Judas. As you will recall, Judas betrayed the Lord Jesus, turning him over to the hands of those who sought his destruction, all for 30 pieces of silver.

Now, Saint Peter, the Vicar of Christ and Prince of the Apostles, and his brothers of the Twelve who remain, have to pick up the pieces and try to get things back on track. Through prayer and discernment, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they eventually decide it is Matthias who will be the newest Apostle and who will complete the company of the Twelve.

Two lessons can be learned from Sunday’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles: first, betrayal and abandonment hurt, but we need to continue on in the Christian journey; and second, it doesn’t matter when you are called — all that matters is that you are called.

First, betrayal and abandonment hurt. Why did Judas, one of the Lord’s most trusted and most influential Apostles, the “CFO,” if you will, of the nascent Church betray the Lord Jesus? Was he possessed by Satan? Was he disappointed with the type of Messiah that the Lord Jesus turned out to be, not a political one or a warrior, but a Prince of Peace who was too slow in accomplishing the work of liberating the People of Israel from Roman oppression? Or was it just as simple as I had mentioned before — Judas was greedy and just wanted the money that was offered to him to turn over the Lord of Life?

Regardless of why he did it, we know one thing — that he did it. Judas betrayed Jesus. People in our lives will hurt us and betray us. People in our lives will make us wish that we had never opened up to them. The damage that we can do to each other as human beings on the physical, emotional and spiritual level is more powerful than any nuclear bomb.

With this in mind, what do we do when we are hurt and betrayed by another? What do we do when there simply cannot be any level of reconciliation on this plane of existence? Perhaps all we can do is to move on as best as we can in our Christian journey. This is never easy. It may take years for the wound, which we have been dealt, to ever truly heal. But we have to allow ourselves to be carried by Jesus Christ, who gently lifts us up when we can’t even crawl.

Second, it doesn’t matter when we were called; all that matters is that we are called. Matthias was not a first-round draft pick when the Lord Jesus called the Twelve. But he had known Christ during his earthly life, he was a good and devout man, a leader among the Disciples, and was eventually chosen. The Lord calls each of us to his service, in some capacity. It is a basic sharing in the common priesthood which we all possess as baptized members of his Body, the Church. Christ is calling each of us, no matter who we are, man or woman, younger or older, to know him in this life, to serve him in this life, and to be with him in the next life.

Yes, Matthias is known to be the Apostle who replaces Judas and not one of the original Twelve. And that’s okay! You don’t have to be there at the beginning. All you have to be is there when it counts. Pray to the Lord that we will all have this grace.