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A curious thing happens in the first reading of today mass. In order to find out who takes the place of Judas amongst the 12 apostles, they simply say a quick prayer and draw lots for it between 2 candidates. It tells us that the lot fell to Matthias.
So at the end of the day its decided in a kind of luck of the draw, toss of the coin, throw of the dice, fall of the cards kind of moment - they leave it up to chance, it is the one who draws the short straw. Surprising isn’t it that for such a big moment they should turn to this way of deciding things ?
There is no hand-wringing here, no long and intense discussion, no getting caught in two minds. Just drawing lots for it and hoping for the best.
Would that every decision was easy to make in life as this. But what a strange thing it is that to take the place of an apostle, they end up drawing lots to decide who should be added to their number.
Life doesn’t normally work like that. If you go for a job and all candidates were asked to draw lots for it, they would be horrified. If you were sitting an exam and you had to choose between 5 answers and just took a chance on one of them, you know there would be a high probability of being wrong. If you took you’re a pin and tried to pick a winner in the race you would know you are on a hiding to nothing.
It seems to me incredible what the Apostles are doing here, they are taking a big gamble. Could you imagine our Lord doing the same, there was no sense in which he drew lots when deciding on each of them. Will he won’t here, I’ll just draw a lot to decide, throw a dice, cut cards for it!! Amazing really!!
I suppose we could say they were trusting in providence to guide them, but it could be argued that it sounds more like a gamble, tossing of a coin into the air and hoping for the best.
What’s happening here, being played out here, is an age old thing, the difficulty of making a decision and deciding on something. Sometimes the pros and cons of a decision very often weigh equally. Will we sell that house or not? Will we go to college or take a job? Will we marry that person or not? Will we be a strict person or a soft parent? The pros and cons weigh equally.
How many times have most of us been caught in that situation, where we can’t decide what we should do and we get stuck, we are afraid that we make the wrong decision and especially when a lot rides on the decision it becomes even more important we get it right.
I suspect the same situation was the mind set of the Apostles. But how strange they should think that God’s answer should come to them through the drawing of lots, toss of a coin, cutting of cards or the like.
At the end of the day in any situation a decision has to be made good or bad. In actual fact we never hear how that decision went, does Matthias turn out to be a good choice – yes or no, we never hear anything else. Is he a roaring success or a disappointment? No one comes back to tell us.
At the end of the day a decision has to be made in anything. I suppose we have to trust in providence, that good will come from it, maybe not everything we hoped for or wished or desired but good things will come. Make the decision and leap into the dark. That certainly seems what the Apostles do.
How do any of us make a decision – do we follow what is rational or do we follow our heart? Sometimes if we follow what is rational we miss out (every situation can’t be summed up in what is rational), sometimes if we follow our heart it is reckless, our passions don’t always lead us in the right direction. Sometimes we might be that passionate and impulsive kind of person who jumps in, sometimes we can be that kind of person who sees every side of the argument and can never make a decision.
At the end of the day you have to make the decision. Hopefully we are all guided by the providential hand of God in what we do.
It would be great to make the right decision, but sometimes there seems no clear right or wrong in the decision. We just hope that the outcome is for the good and for the best.
I suppose faith trusts that there will always be a good outcome, come what may.
Its clear that the Apostles at the end of the day had no idea who to choose between the 2 candidates and left it up to chance or providence and hoped for the best.
The decision has to be made in any situation we hope that God will draw the best out of it.
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