Rev. Charles Hoffacker
St. Matthias the Apostle, whose feast is today, was not one of the original twelve apostles. He was elected to fill the vacancy left by the death of Judas. His story is told in Acts 1:15-26, a reading assigned for this feast. “Apostle” means someone who is sent. Their number soon exceeded twelve with the addition of apostles such as St. Paul and St. Barnabas.
The Nicene Creed includes four “notes” that describe the Church as one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. According to the Prayer Book Catechism or Outline of Faith, the Church is apostolic “because it continues in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles and is sent to carry out Christ’s mission to all people.”
The Catechism defines this mission as “to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.” How the Church does this is “as it prays and worships, proclaims the Gospel, and promotes justice, peace, and love.”
Through whom then does the Church carry out its mission? Not through apostles alone. Not through bishops alone, although a bishop serves as apostle of a diocese. Instead, the Church “carries out its mission through the ministry of all its members.”
All of us together. No exceptions.
The Rev. Charles Hoffacker is a retired priest of the Diocese of Washington